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Six Things You Must Know About Fiber Optic Cable Materials

Environment requirement on outdoor fiber optic cables

Outdoor fiber cables must endure harsh environment factors such as UV radiation from sunlight, storms, snows and 80 mph wind, so outdoor cables must be strong, weatherproof and UV resistant. The outdoor cable should also be able to endure the wild temperature variations both during installation and throughout its life span.

These factors determine the materials used for the cable construction. Various materials are used to suit the installation environment.

Outdoor cable jacket is treated to prevent UV light from penetrating inside the cable and damaging the internal glass fibers. Extra UV protection specification can be specified if needed.

Environment requirement on indoor fiber optic cables

Indoor fiber cables should be strong and flexible for easy pulling and installation. They should also possess NEC required fire and smoke ratings. As a industry standard practice, single mode fiber jacket is yellow and multimode fiber jacket is orange.

Popular cable materials in fiber optic cable construction

1. PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)


1. Good resistance to environmental effects. Some formulations are rated for -55C to +55C.

2. Good flame retardant properties. Can be used for both outdoor and indoor fiber optic cables.

3. PVC is less flexible than PE (Polyethylene)

2. PE (Polyethylene)


1. Popular cable jacket material for outdoor fiber cables

2. Very good moisture and weather resistance properties

3. Very good insulator

4. Can be very stiff in colder temperatures

5. If treated with proper chemicals, PE can be flame retardant

3. Fluoropolymers


1. Good flame-resistance properties

2. Low smoke properties

3. Good flexibility

4. Most often used for indoor fiber cables

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