Creating a Cleerline SSF™ Fiber System
Building a fiber system can be extremely complex. Many factors come into play, from distance, to bandwidth requirements, to environmental hazards. Every installation is different. However, there are some general points to consider with every system. Use our SSF™ Fiber Optic System Guide as a basic guideline, or a checklist, for items you may want to consider when planning out your installation. Have questions? Contact us!
Step 1: Choose Your Fiber Type
The first item to determine is whether you need single mode or multimode fiber. For more on the difference between these fiber types, check out our comparison article. Multimode fiber has a larger core than single mode. Over distance, multimode’s larger core allows increased modal dispersion, meaning that at a certain point signal will become indistinguishable. Single mode cable, on the other hand, features a smaller core, meaning data can be sent much farther.
In general, multimode OM3 cable is recommended most often for cable runs under 300 m (1000 ft). For cable runs in excess of 300 m single mode OS2 is nearly always recommended and often required. However, there are applications in which single mode may be specified for shorter distances. Always check the needs of your application and know the fiber type you are installing!
Step 2: Choose a Cable Type
We have many different cable configurations. Selection of fiber type and strand count, in multimode or single mode, as well as the jacket type containing the glass fibers need to be decided upon and are truly determined by your installation.
Common Cable Configurations/Types
- Duplex: Two strands of optical fiber in a zipcord configuration.
- Micro Distribution: 2+ strands of optical fiber in one overall jacket.
- Direct Burial ACS: Cables include an armored corrugated steel layer guarding against rocks or rodents and are intended to run directly in the ground. (Be aware, though, that not all armored cable is direct burial!)
- Breakout: Cables with individually jacketed fibers contained in an overall jacket (two layers of jacketing).
There are many more configurations available, including Rugged Micro Distribution, Aluminum Interlocking Armored, and more! Don’t forget to check for any rating requirements, i.e. if you are running cable through plenum spaces, you will need a plenum rated cable.
Step 3: Choose Connectors and Consider a Fan Out Kit
If you are using any cable containing multiple strands within one overall jacket (so from the above examples, Micro Distribution or Direct Burial ACS), you may need a fan out kit. This kit simply builds each optical fiber back up to a larger outer diameter, making your cable easier to terminate and protecting the individual fibers. The need for a fanout kit is based upon your installation environment.
Regardless of whether you choose to install a fan out kit, you will need connectors. You may be sensing a theme, but your installation will dictate what type of connector you need! Always verify the requirements of the electronics or other system components. Cleerline SSF™ manufactures two types of connectors: LC and SC.
Always note: your connectors must match your fiber type! Multimode fiber requires multimode connectors, and single mode fiber requires single mode connectors. You may also need to consider whether you need a UPC (ultra physical contact) or APC (angled physical contact) connector. In general, UPC connectors are more common. For more about the difference, refer to our article on selecting connectors.
Step 4: Consider Optional Tools and Accessories
Now that you have your cable and connectors, you are ready to consider tools and accessories. Do you have a termination kit? Do you need testing equipment? Does your installation require patch cables or enclosures? Some or all of these items may be required for a successful installation, but, as always, it depends on your application.
The Bottom Line:
Fiber systems can be very simple or complex, and installations may vary widely. Start by considering your fiber type, cable configuration/type, and connector needs. From these basics, you will be able to start creating a successful installation.