What is Ribbon Fiber Optic Cable
Ribbon fiber optic cable has all of the features of a normal fiber optic cable construction, except for the fibers being stacked on top of each other, as opposed to loose tube where the fibers hang ‘loose’ in a central tube. And, because of this arrangement of conductors, the term ‘ribbon’ seemed like a natural fit.
Ribbon Fiber vs. Loose Tube Fiber
The main reason that ribbon fiber is used instead of loose tube is because a ribbon fiber optic cable is much smaller in size, and in some cases, will weigh less. This allows the cable to be used in places that do not have a surplus of space, or cannot support a lot of weight.
Ribbon Fiber Applications
The most common size of ribbon fiber is 12-count and has various applications such as:
Splicing Ribbon Fiber Cable
Although this is not much different than common fiber optic cables, it still requires special attention during splicing, or termination. Luckily, there have been advancements in the field and there are plenty of options for splicing machines and other tools. Basically, one ribbon-fiber-splicing machine can handle most sizes of ribbon fiber – up to 12-count, generally. The unique feature of this type of splicing is that instead of one fiber at a time, it does the entire ribbon at once; a clear time saving endeavour.
Is Ribbon Fiber useful on a Job Site?
In general, there are a few key differences between ribbon and loose tube fiber, such as: the space that the cable construction takes up, the amount of time to splice, and how many fibers can fit into each application. These differences have advantages and disadvantages, but, overall, both ribbon and loose tube are worthy of consideration on any jobsite.