What Are Bend Radius and Bend Insensitive Cables in Fiber Optic Cabling?
Advantages of Bend Insensitive Fiber Optic Cabling
Most of us who have the general idea of structured cabling, know that fiber optic cables are made of glass. And that, they transmit the data in the form of light pulses. But, those who deal with the fiber optic cabling day in and day out only are aware of the fact that one drawback that these cables have is, they are rigid and fragile. They are difficult to bend, given the material they are made of, especially in the far to reach corners. However, the fiber optic cables are expected to bend only to a certain degree to achieve the cabling requirements.
Now, here’s the catch. There’s an optimum bend radius while installing the fiber optic cabling, which has to be implemented in order to avoid the loss of the data, else there might be repercussions.
What could be those consequences if the fiber optic cable is bent too much or too less?
• The data in the form of the light pulses escape from the bends and the data is lost by the time it reaches the destination. This phenomenon is called the bend loss, where the data is compromised by the time it is transmitted to the endpoint
• The fiber optic cable may also be permanently damaged causing the micro cracks in the cables.
• There is another cause for the micro bends and data loss, which is due to excessively tightly fastened cables.
What is bend radius of fiber optic cables?
The bend radius or the minimum bend radius is the minimum allowable bending of the cable employed during the fiber optic cabling before it sustains damage or limits the bandwidth of the cable. Every cable has a bend radius based on the make of the cable.
There is a standard bend radius for a fiber optic cable which is 10 times the cable’s outside diameter in the absence of the pull-load. However, during the presence of the tensile load, the bend radius is 15 times the cable’s outside diameter.
The following formula is given to calculate the bend radius of the fiber optic cables:
Minimum bend radius =Cable Outer Diameter x Cable Multiplier
Note: The cable multiplier depends on the industry standards of the cable type. For the fiber optic cables, the cable multiplier is 6x for the cables rated 5000 volts or less and 8x the cables rated over 5000 volts.
What are Bend insensitive Fiber Optic Cables?
The fiber cables are basically designed to avoid bending loss as much as possible, however, it is the nature of the fiber cable’s design, fiber type, transmission wavelength that gives way to a certain degree of bending loss.
Bend-insensitive cables were designed in 2007 for single mode and in 2009 for multimode. Apparently, with the advent of the bend-insensitive fiber optic cables, these cables can now be bent to any small degree and stapled without any significant loss of data.
Advantages of Bens insensitive Fiber optic cables:
• As opposed to earlier where the fiber optic cabling was a part of outdoor cabling, due to its increased flexibility, can be used for indoor fiber cables installations.
• Increased confidence levels in maintaining the superior bandwidth of the fiber optic cables.
• Increased sustenance is observed in the fiber optic cables despite the multiple bends, clamping and stapling of the cables.
• The cost of the bend-insensitive fiber optic cable is not much higher than the regular fiber cables.
• Same splicing method can be used in both the fiber optic cable types.
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