Give fiber redundancy with copper

Most optical-fiber cables have no redundancy contained within. If the cable is accidentally cut or crushed, several, if not all strands may be lost. The client's network could be down until repairs can be made

Th 70063

problem

Most optical-fiber cables have no redundancy contained within. If the cable is accidentally cut or crushed, several, if not all strands may be lost. The client's network could be down until repairs can be made.

solution

When installing optical-fiber cable, pull a 4-pair Category 5e unshielded twisted-pair (UTP) cable along with it. You will reduce pulling tension on the cable, and if the client's optical-fiber backbone cable is damaged, you can plug in the copper cable. This will let you keep the client's backbone running to some extent until repairs can be made.

procedure

  1. Pull 30 to 35 ft of 4-pair Category 5e UTP copper cable toward your intended destination.
  2. Attach a section of Kevlar to the copper cable with standard electrical tape.
  3. At the opposite end of the Kevlar, attach your optical-fiber cable in the same manner.
  4. Pull the copper cable until the optical-fiber cable has reached its destination. This will reduce pulling tension on the optical-fiber cable.
  5. Leave a sufficient length of copper cable at the end opposite your destination for an adequate service loop. You may attach an 8-pin modular plug to this end of the copper cable.
  6. After the pull, cut off the first 30 feet of the copper cable at the destination end, and terminate and test the optical-fiber cable as usual. This 30-foot section of UTP copper cable will be damaged from pulling tension and may be discarded.
  7. Terminate the copper cable and label it as a spare or emergency backbone cable. If the optical-fiber backbone cable is damaged, the client can convert NIC cards on their hardware, change relevant software, and plug in the copper cable.

    Click here to enlarge image

    David Lacasse is an RCDD and project manager with the telecommunications division of A/Z Corp. in Ledyard, CT.

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