There is a new generation of optical fiber ribbon cables. These designs use versatile ribbons to boost fiber density with a factor of several. Like a bit of good thing, this improvement comes along with trade-offs. In the following paragraphs, we describe these trade-offs to help you comprehend regardless of whether this new technology is a fit for you personally.

Traditional optical fiber ribbons (or flat ribbons) have long been used for greater secondary coating line. Ribbonized fibers are simpler to manage in large numbers than free fibers. Flat ribbons can even be mass fusion spliced, which depends on 6 occasions quicker than solitary fiber splicing.

Flat ribbons squander space inside a barrier pipe, and definately will concentrate stresses on fibers at a corner of the ribbon stack.

Figure 1. Flat ribbons waste space inside a buffer tube, and will concentrate stresses on fibers at a corner of the ribbon stack.

But, flat ribbons possess a essential shortcoming. When cabled, a pile of flat ribbons is like a “square peg in a circular hole.” (See Shape 1.) Buffer pipes are usually circular, meaning the space featured in yellow is wasted. When external factors deliver the pile in touch with the pipe wall structure, it also concentrates stresses on the fibers at the edges in the pile.

Versatile ribbons solve these problems by striking a give up. The structure that binds the person fibers together is made looser, so an adaptable ribbon can change shape without having to break apart. But, it has to still hold with each other well sufficient to become dealt with efficiently during mass combination splicing. Figure 2 shows an adaptable ribbon (top) as well as a flat ribbon (base). Observe the way the color series of individual fibers is maintained inside the versatile ribbon without the fibers being bound tightly in place with a thick coating of matrix material.

In contrast to flat ribbons (bottom), versatile ribbons (top) possess a free framework. This framework suits round tubes more efficiently.

Shape 2. Unlike flat ribbons (base), versatile ribbons (top) possess a loose structure. This framework fits into circular tubes more effectively.

Flexible ribbons conform to the space they are in – no longer square pegs in round openings. When flexible ribbons are pressed against the within a barrier pipe, the pressure is distributed more than many fibers – not just the people on the corners of the stack. This allows more fiber to get placed into the exact same space. Shape 3 shows an 864-count flat ribbon cable (left) alongside a 1,728-count flexible ribbon cable television (right). The pipes in the left cable television contain 144 fibers in flat ribbons. The tubes around the right include 288 fibers in versatile ribbons. Each cables include standard 250-micron fibers and will easily fit in a 1-1/4” duct. Yet, despite having two times the Secondary coating line, the 1,728-count flexible ribbon cable is somewhat smaller compared to the 864-count with flat ribbons.

A 1,728-count flexible ribbon cable (right) is small compared to a flat ribbon cable television (left) with half the fiber count.

Shape 3. A 1,728-count flexible ribbon cable television (right) is smaller than a flat ribbon cable television (left) with fifty percent the fiber count.

Will It Be a Fit to suit your needs?

Flexible ribbon wires were initially developed for Super Scale Data Centers (HSDCs). Most people think of a 1,728-fiber cable as dimension XXL. But, it is an entry-degree fiber count in numerous HSDCs, where it’s common to have several such wires getting into each building. These wires typically interconnect structures without branching, tapering, or mid-period accessibility for any kind. These 2 aspects push HSDC cable developers to focus on high-fiber denseness above all else. If you’re not building an HSDC, your priorities may differ. So, let’s examine 7 differences between flexible and flat ribbon cables that may effect conventional OSP programs.

Difference Top Ribbon Flexibility

Flat ribbons will bend on only one plane. Because they are also twisted (to equalize stresses), this can make sure they are more complicated to organize in splice containers. Versatile ribbons don’t have this limitation, and act nearly like free fibers. As a result them much easier to organize in splice containers.

Distinction #2 Splicing Speed

Mass splicing of versatile ribbon is still faster than person fiber splicing. But, you should expect some loss in velocity when compared with flat ribbons. Simply because flexible ribbons tend to be more loosely bound with each other, they might require more care when being positioned in splicing owners. A flat ribbon can be put directly into the groove of a owner. The same technique can bring about misaligned fibers for a versatile ribbon. Technicians usually “wipe” the fibers of any versatile ribbon using a thumb and index finger to bring the fibers within their proper place.

Difference #3 Splicing Tools

Flexible ribbons may communicate with your current splicing resources differently than flat ribbons. Any difficulties are often solved using a bit of practice or some new resources. Think about testing some uncovered ribbon examples before scheduling a period-sensitive installation.

Check your overall ribbon owners to see if they fulfill your anticipations when splicing flexible ribbons. Some fusion splicer manufacturers offer owners optimized for splicing versatile ribbons. They may save time or even be required to steer clear of fiber slippage during heat stripping.

Some legacy heat strippers are certainly not hot sufficient to cleanly strip a flexible type of ribbon in one pass. Some suppliers have launched new models with higher heat configurations to address this problem.

Distinction #4 Price

Versatile ribbons certainly are a new technologies. There’s less much production capability, and Fiber coloring machine creation is less efficient than conventional flat ribbons. The potential risk of creation scrap also increases with greater fiber matters. So, there is a price high quality connected with versatile ribbons – especially in the greatest fiber counts.

Difference #5 Fiber Size

Most cablers are using 200-micron fibers for matters of three,456 and previously mentioned. You will find splicers for 200-micron ribbons, but they’re fairly new. If you want to splice on to a legacy cable with 250-micron fibers, you’ll need a work-around to accomplish it. Luckily, most flexible ribbon cables with matters of 1,728 or less will include regular 250-micron fiber.

Difference #6 Cable Handling

Switching to versatile ribbons may impact the selection of cable structures. Wires with power members a part of their overcoats will bend only in one plane, and they are more challenging to coil. They can even be tougher to open up.1 Check vfiskb your cabler to view what choices are readily available.

Distinction #7 Barrier Pipes

Cable Outdoors Diameter (OD) can be decreased through the elimination of buffer tubes. Nevertheless, buffer tubes save time and streamline fiber management when prepping cables for splice closures. Buffer tubes offer extra fiber reduce safety when opening up the cable coat.


Versatile ribbon cables provide remarkable improvements in fiber denseness that enable more than two times the fiber count within the exact same duct space. If you wish to maximize fiber count within a duct, they may be the best choice. Nevertheless, some adaptation is needed, and then there may be time penalties during handling and splicing. Possible cable television buildings differ a great deal. So, you need to explore your choices. For counts of three,456 or higher, 200-micron fiber is typical, which may require devoted splicing gear.

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