There’s a new era of optical fiber ribbon cables. These styles use versatile ribbons to improve fiber density by way of a aspect of 2 or more. Like any good factor, this improvement comes with trade-offs. In this article, we explain these industry-offs that will help you understand whether this new technologies is a fit to suit your needs.

Conventional optical fiber ribbons (or flat ribbons) have long been utilized for greater optical fiber ribbon machine. Ribbonized fibers are easier to handle in big numbers than free fibers. Flat ribbons can additionally be mass fusion spliced, which is up to 6 times faster than solitary fiber splicing.

Flat ribbons squander space within a buffer tube, and definately will concentrate pressures on fibers at the corner of the ribbon pile.

Figure 1. Flat ribbons squander space in a barrier pipe, and can focus stresses on fibers at the corner of the ribbon pile.

But, flat ribbons possess a fundamental shortcoming. When cabled, a stack of flat ribbons is like a “square peg in a circular opening.” (See Figure 1.) Barrier pipes are usually circular, meaning the space highlighted in yellowish is lost. When exterior aspects deliver the stack in touch with the tube wall, it also concentrates pressures on the fibers at the corners in the stack.

Flexible ribbons resolve these complications by stunning a give up. The structure that binds the individual fibers together is made looser, so a flexible type of ribbon can change shape without having to break aside. But, it should nevertheless hold with each other well enough to become handled efficiently throughout mass combination splicing. Shape 2 shows a flexible ribbon (top) along with a flat ribbon (base). Notice the way the colour series of individual fibers is maintained within the versatile ribbon minus the fibers becoming sure tightly set up by way of a heavy layer of matrix materials.

In contrast to flat ribbons (bottom), flexible ribbons (top) use a free structure. This structure suits round pipes more efficiently.

Shape 2. Unlike flat ribbons (base), flexible ribbons (top) use a loose framework. This framework suits round tubes more effectively.

Flexible ribbons conform to the space they’re in – forget about square pegs in circular openings. When flexible ribbons are pressed against the within a barrier tube, the pressure is spread out over many fibers – not just those at the corners of a stack. This allows more fiber to be positioned into the exact same space. Figure 3 demonstrates an 864-count flat ribbon cable (left) together with a 1,728-count versatile ribbon cable (right). The pipes around the left cable include 144 fibers in flat ribbons. The pipes in the right include 288 fibers in flexible ribbons. Both cables contain standard 250-micron fibers and can easily fit into a 1-1/4” duct. But, in spite of getting two times the Secondary coating line, the 1,728-count flexible ribbon cable television is slightly smaller than the 864-count with flat ribbons.

A 1,728-count flexible ribbon cable (right) is smaller than a flat ribbon cable (left) with half the fiber count.

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

Is It a Match to suit your needs?

Versatile ribbon cables had been originally produced for Hyper Scale Information Facilities (HSDCs). Most people imagine a 1,728-fiber cable television as size XXL. But, it’s an entrance-level fiber count in lots of HSDCs, where it is present with have many this kind of wires getting into each developing. These wires typically interconnect buildings without branching, tapering, or mid-period access of the kind. These 2 aspects drive HSDC cable television designers to prioritize higher-fiber denseness more than anything else. If you are not building an HSDC, your goals may be different. So, let us take a look at 7 differences between flexible and flat ribbon wires that may impact traditional OSP programs.

Difference #1 Ribbon Flexibility

Flat ribbons will flex on only one plane. Since they’re also twisted (to equalize pressures), this can make them more difficult to organize in splice containers. Versatile ribbons don’t have this limitation, and act almost like loose fibers. This will make them much easier to organize in splice trays.

Distinction #2 Splicing Velocity

Mass splicing of versatile ribbon continues to be much faster than individual fiber splicing. But, you should expect some lack of velocity when compared with flat ribbons. Simply because versatile ribbons are more loosely bound with each other, they require much more care when being put into splicing holders. A flat ribbon can be placed directly into the groove of a holder. The identical method can lead to misaligned fibers to get a versatile ribbon. Specialists usually “wipe” the fibers of a versatile ribbon with a thumb and index finger to create the fibers to their appropriate position.

Distinction #3 Splicing Resources

Flexible ribbons may connect with your current splicing tools differently than flat ribbons. Any issues are often resolved with a bit of practice or new tools. Think about screening some uncovered ribbon samples before organizing a time-sensitive set up.

Check your overall ribbon holders to see if they meet your expectations when splicing flexible ribbons. Some fusion splicer producers offer holders enhanced for splicing flexible ribbons. They may save your time or even be essential to avoid fiber slippage during heat stripping.

Some legacy heat strippers usually are not hot enough to cleanly strip an adaptable ribbon in one successfully pass. Some suppliers have released new designs with higher heat configurations to address this issue.

Distinction #4 Cost

Versatile ribbons are a new technology. There’s not as a lot production capacity, and secondary coating line production is much less effective than traditional flat ribbons. The potential risk of production scrap also raises with greater fiber matters. So, there is a price premium connected with flexible ribbons – particularly in the highest fiber matters.

Distinction #5 Fiber Size

Most cablers are using 200-micron fibers for counts of three,456 and above. You will find splicers for 200-micron ribbons, but they are relatively new. In order to splice on to a legacy cable television with 250-micron fibers, you will require a work-about to accomplish it. Luckily, most versatile ribbon cables with matters of 1,728 or less will include standard 250-micron fiber.

Distinction #6 Cable television Dealing with

Changing to flexible ribbons may effect your choice of cable television structures. Wires with strength associates embedded in their jackets will bend only in one plane, and they are more challenging to coil. They can also be tougher to start.1 Check vfiskb your cabler to view what options are readily available.

Distinction #7 Buffer Pipes

Cable Outside Size (OD) can be reduced through the elimination of buffer tubes. However, buffer tubes save your time and simplify fiber management when prepping cables for splice closures. Barrier tubes offer additional fiber cut safety when opening the cable coat.


Flexible ribbon wires offer dramatic enhancements in fiber density that enable greater than two times the fiber count within the same duct space. If you need to take full advantage of fiber count in a duct, they may be your best option. Nevertheless, some adaptation is required, and there may be time penalties during handling and splicing. Possible cable buildings differ a great deal. So, you need to investigate your alternatives. For counts of three,456 or higher, 200-micron fiber is common, which may need dedicated splicing gear.

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