Fiber Optic Selection Guide

How much fiber do I need?

  • Fiber optic cables can be custom cut by Proterial Cable America or distributor to match your required lengths for each cable run. Alternatively, you can order a reel matching the total length needed and cut your own segments as necessary.
  • We advise you to incorporate a safety buffer when ordering fiber optic cable, even if distances between termination points are measured meticulously. A standard practice is to add an extra 10% to the order to account for any unforeseen variations.

Fiber Optic Color Code Chart

Single Mode vs Multi Mode Fiber

  • Singlemode fiber optic cables are best suited for high bandwidth and long-distance applications, while multimode is used for shorter cable runs, typically under 550 meters.
  • These two types require different electronic equipment. Proterial Cable America’s standard singlemode glass is labeled as OS2, known for its superior performance.

How to calculate fiber optic cable requirements?

  • Fiber optic cables are typically available increments of 2 fibers, such as 6, 12, 24, 48, 72 and 144 fiber configurations.
  • Design engineers allocate spare fibers to anticipate potential fiber breaks and future system upgrades. Transitioning between different Ethernet applications, like from 1 gigabit to 10 gigabit, may require extra fibers. Planning for future expansion during cable installation proves to be cost-effective in the long run 

Fiber Optic Cable Installation Environments

  • Fiber optic cable constructions vary based on the installation environment, including indoor, outdoor, or both. Armored options provide extra protection, with interlock armoring common for indoor and indoor/outdoor cables, while corrugated armoring is typical for outdoor plant cables. Ensure proper labeling with the National Electrical Code (NEC) rating, such as OFNP or OFNR, for indoor installations. Armored or metal-containing cables should be labeled with a “C” for conductive. Outdoor cables need not have an NEC rating but must terminate within 50 feet of building entry.

Proterial Cable America is A Custom Fiber Optic Cable Manufacturer

  • Non-standard fiber counts can be manufactured to specific minimum quantities, typically with longer lead times.  Sometimes using multiple cables to achieve the total fiber count, such as combining a 24-fiber and a 48-fiber cable rather than using a 72-fiber, results in quicker access to product and potentially easier installation, depending on cable pathways.

Loose Tube Fiber vs. Tight Buffered Fiber

  • Tight buffered fiber optic cables have an additional layer around the fiber strands, similar to insulation on copper conductors, typically increasing the fiber size from 250 to 900 microns. The 900 micron size is the standard for terminating fibers on-site.
  • Loose tube cable fibers are 250 microns in diameter and color-coded for identification. Their smaller diameter allows for smaller cable sizes compared to tight buffered designs. Originally used in outdoor high-fiber cables, loose tube fibers are now utilized indoors or in spaces with limited cable pathway. Termination of loose tubes requires either a fan-out kit or the capability to splice connectors.

Compare Armored Fiber vs.
Non-Armored Fiber

  • Armored fiber optic cables provide extra protection with lightweight aluminum armor. Non-armored fibers, on the other hand, feature a UV-resistant jacket and dry polymers. 

Fiber Optical Spec Chart

optical specifications