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10 Tips for Installing Fiber Optic Cables

Fiber optic cables are widely considered the future of Internet connection. They provide high-speed connectivity for internet, cable and telephone connections. If fiber optic cabling is available in an area, you may see plenty of people suddenly interested in installing fiber optics in their homes or places of business. Whether you're a professional in fiber optic cable installation or a home or facility owner interested in the process, it's important to understand the fiber cable laying procedure and what it entails.

How to Install Fiber Optic Cables

Before installing fiber optic cables, check that the capability is available in the area. You can easily determine this by contacting the local phone company. They can tell you if fiber optic is available in the area and where the nearest distribution box is located. To use fiber-optic service, the distribution box should be no more than a few hundred feet from the building.

Once you have determined availability, it's time to start the process of installing fiber optic cables. The basic fiber to the home installation procedure works as follows:

  1. Lay cable to the building: Contact the phone company to notify them of the cable installation. From there, the technician can lay a cable from the local box to the home or facility. They will set up the cable to run to an optical network terminal on the side of the house. This box is the starting point from which the technician will set up the fiber-optic lines in the building.
  2. Plan cable layout: Get or create a blueprint for the home and plan out the fiber optic cable setup. Take note of any phones, televisions, computers or other devices that need to be connected to the fiber optic system. For home and business owners, this is also the time to check that your devices are compatible with fiber optic connections, as some older models are not. 
  3. Clear installation area: Clear out the sections of the wall or ceiling where you are planning on running the fiber optic cable so that you can install inside the wall. This may involve coordinating with a contractor or other construction professional.
  4. Run cable and conduit: Once the plan and site are set up, the technician can start running the fiber optic cable from the optical network terminal through the house. The cable will be protected by rigid or flexible conduit.
  5. Connect to devices: As soon as the cable running process is complete, start testing the cable and connecting devices. Be sure to test connectivity as soon as possible to make sure the cable is working properly. Once you have determined that the cable is operating as intended, the construction crew can start installing new drywall to cover the new cable installations.

 If you are a home or business owner interested in this process, it is highly recommended to work with a professional during this process unless you or your staff are experienced in fiber optic cable laying. Professionals are thoroughly trained in fiber optic cable laying procedures and can help you make appropriate decisions about cable layout and conduit selection.

10 Tips for Fiber to the Home Installation

No matter where you are installing your optical-fiber cable, there are some universal guidelines for installation to keep in mind. Some of the best fiber cable laying procedure tips are listed below:

  1. Plan your route thoroughly: Plan all cable routes before starting to lay cable, and be as detailed as possible. Ensure the cable will not be unnecessarily exposed to hazards. If the cable does need to be exposed to hazards, install extra cable protection in high-risk areas. In all, conduit runs should not be more than 100 feet and have no more than two 90-degree bends. 
  2. Support the cable: Cables should be protected from hanging freely or pressing against sharp edges. Install conduit for support where necessary, especially in cases where the cable may be exposed to stress or subjected to tighter turns.
  3. Avoid overbending: Every cable will have values for minimum bend radius — typically the minimum radius is equal to or greater than 10 times the diameter of the cable. Do not exceed these values or kink the cable.
  4. Avoid sharp conduit edges: If you are pulling cable in conduit, ensure the interior conduit transitions are smooth. Sharp transitions with edges can damage the cable. When possible, use a flexible conduit to reduce risk to the cable.
  5. Avoid overstressing: Every cable will have maximum tensile loading values — do not exceed these values. If you are ever in doubt of the recommended values or are concerned that you may be exceeding them, contact the manufacturer.
  6. Avoid crushing or impact: Do not install or store the cable in a way that it will endure crushing pressure or sudden impacts. When installing cable, protect it from the exterior force by installing it in a high-quality conduit. The National Electrical Code states that conduit should be made with metallic tubing or rigid polyvinyl-chloride plastic, both of which can help prevent crush or impact damage. When storing cable, do not use cable ties to bind them, as these can place sharp stress on the cables — instead, use soft hook and loop ties.
  7. Monitor vertical rise:  All fiber optic cables state whether or not they can be used for vertical applications. If they are, they provide a calculated maximum vertical rise value. This tells the user how much the cable can be pulled vertically before needing support. Do not exceed maximum vertical rise value, otherwise, you may damage the cable.
  8. Monitor load during pulls: Monitor tensile loading during pulls, and avoid pulling long lengths in one direction. Also, if running cable vertically, start from the top and pull the cable down to avoid applying an excessive load to the cable.
  9. Check regulations: It goes without saying, but check local and national regulations and fire codes to ensure your installation meets standards. If construction is needed, be sure you have the appropriate permit.
  10. Review safety procedures: All construction projects come with safety concerns, but working with fiber optics means there is a risk of exposure to chemicals and sparks. Be sure to review safety guidelines before starting a project and wear appropriate safety gear. 

On top of these tips, it is important to review any work done on a regular basis to ensure it meets standards. Ideally, this should be done by an experienced professional in fiber optic cable laying.

Contact Multilink for Fiber Optic Cable & Supplies Today

If you want to install fiber optic cable in your building, Multilink can help. Founded in Lorain County, Ohio in 1983, Multilink has dedicated over three decades and innumerable resources to developing world-class products in the telecommunications industry. Our extensive fiber optic assembly equipment allows us to provide products that meet your unique needs, no matter where you plan to install fiber optic cable.

To learn more about Multilink and our fiber optic cable and supplies, contact us today!

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