Lesson 3: Fiber Optic Cables
Objectives: From this lesson you should learn:
How to identify typical fiber optic cables
How to prepare cables for pulling
How to prepare cables for splicing or termination
Tools And Components Needed
Cable jacket stripping tools
"Kevlar" scissors to cut strength members
Samples of cable, simplex or zipcord, distribution, loose tube, armored preferred
It is impossible to work in fiber optics without having a good working knowledge about cables and skills in pulling or placing and preparing cables for termination and splicing. In this lesson, we will identify and examine cables, then prepare them for splicing or termintion by stripping the cable to expose the coated fibers. Finally we will strip fibers, the final step before splicing or termintion.
Four popular cable types: zipcord, distribution, loose tube, breakout
Each type of fiber optic cable requires a special technique to remove the jacket, strength members and expose the fibers for splicing or termination. Many of the types of cable need special tools to remove the jacket and other cable parts without damaging the fibers.
Allow plenty of time to complete the exercises without interruption, although this lesson can be broken into segments for each cable type.
Please Note: This is not the usual online course - it is intended to guide you as you learn new skills - the skills needed to install optical fiber cable plants. It involves using tools and components in a realistic manner. Some of the processes here can be hazardous, like working with sharp scraps of optical fiber and chemicals. The first lesson is about safety - we recommend reading it carefully and posting the safety rules for everyone to see. Always wear safety glasses when doing any of these exercises and dispose of all scraps properly.
These guidelines are strictly the opinion of the FOA provided for educational purposes and the reader is expected to use them as a basis for learning. The FOA assumes no liability for the use of any of this material.
Familiarize yourself with the safety procedures and follow them all the time.
A pair of safety glasses must always be worn.
Be careful when working with sharp tools.
We recommend working on a black table mat to make it easier to see the fiber (and any scraps). It is best to work on tile or concrete floors, not carpet. If you drop fiber scraps into carpet they can be very hard to find or pick up with a vacuum cleaner.
Clean up after your exercises carefully. Some of the scrap you generate can be harmful, such as fiber ends, so we recommend you not work anywhere near food preparation or children’s play areas! Place clean paper over your work area to keep from harming the worktable surface.
Download a FOA safety poster for your work area.
This "skills" course assumes you have knowledge of fiber optic termination and splicing. If you are new to fiber optics, you should first complete the "Fiber U Basic Fiber Optics" course before attempting the hands-on exercises here.
Fiber U Basic Fiber Optics: Cables
Hands-On Lab Instructions
Watch the videos and/or read the references. The VHO "Virtual Hands On" Tutorials take a "step-by-step" approach to the hands-on processes covered in this self-study program. They are a good way to teach yourself the processes here - watch the video for the overview then follow the steps in the VHO web pages.
FOA Online Reference
FOA Lecture 4: Fiber Optic Cables (about fiber optic cables)
Fiber Optic Cable, Part 1 Introduction
Fiber Optic Cable, Part 2, Zipcord
Fiber Optic Cable, Part 3 Distribution Cable
Fiber Optic Cable, Part 4 Breakout Cable
Fiber Optic Cable, Part 5 Loose Tube Cable
Fiber Optic Cable, Part 6, Armored Cable
Fiber Optic Stripping Tools
FOA Reference Guide to Fiber Optics,
Chapter 6, Cables (same in OSP Book)
FOA CFOT Certification Laboratory Manual,
Fiber Optic Cables, p7
Student Hands-On Assignments:
After reading the materials or watching the videos, complete these exercises using the cable types available to you. The videos and
Cable Preparation (Tutorial) will be most useful.
Download the Fiber Optic Cables Worksheet and answer the questions as you complete each exercise.
1. Zipcord or Simplex Cable
Video:. Fiber Optic Cable, Part 2, Zipcord
Using zipcord or simplex cable, strip the jacket, cut the fiber off and attach a pulling eye to the cable. Swivel eyes like those used in the video are available at a hardware store.
2. Stripping Fiber
After watching the video Fiber Optic Stripping Tools, use a fiber stripper to strip off the buffer coating from tight buffer fiber.
Using samples of simplex, zipcord and/or breakout cable, strip the jacket, cut the strength members to length with the Kevlar scissors and prepare the cable for termination with an adhesive/polish connector. Follow the diagram. Refer to exercise 2 below for instructions on stripping the fiber buffer coating to expose the bare fiber.
3. Distribution Cable
Video:. Fiber Optic Cable, Part 3 Distribution Cable
Using samples of distribution cable, strip the jacket and prepare the cable for termination with an adhesive/polish connector. Remember the distribution cable will allow the 900 micron tight buffer fiber to be terminated directly but the connectors must be protected in a patch panel or box.
4. Loose Tube Cable
Video:. Fiber Optic Cable, Part 5 Loose Tube Cable
Using a sample of loose tube OSP cable, remove the outside jacket and separate the buffer tubes and strength members. Cut one of the tubes and expose the fibers. If the cable is gel-filled, use cleaner to remove the gel.
5. Armored Loose Tube Cable
Video:. Fiber Optic Cable, Part 6, Armored Cable
Using a sample of armored loose tube OSP cable, remove the outside jacket with armor, inner jacket and separate the buffer tubes and strength members.
6. Stripping Fiber
Video: Fiber Optic Stripping Tools
After watching the video Fiber Optic Stripping Tools, use a fiber stripper to strip off the buffer coating from tight buffer fiber (900micron) and buffered fiber (250micron). Keep doing it until you can strip fiber properly every time. Watch when stripping the fiber that you get the final coating off - some strippers leave the final coating on the fiber if you don't fully close the stripper before stripping the coatings.
Return to Lesson Plan
- Next: Lesson 4: Fiber Optic Splicing