What Are Bend-Insensitive Fiber Cables?

What Are Bend-Insensitive Fiber Cables? thumbnail
Fiber-optic cables can be connected to homes.

Fiber-optic cables allow a large amount of information to be transmitted at speeds close to the speed of light. This allows for information such as video, audio and other data to be transmitted in a relatively quick time over large distances. This technology does have its problems, however. Bend-insensitive cables aim to enhance this technology.

  1. Bend-Insensitive Cable Specifications

    • Bend-insensitive cables were first sold by Corning Cable Systems. Corning used a code standard to make these bend-insensitive cables more standardized. Introduced in December, 2006, Corning labeled this code as G.657.B or G.657.A. G.657 states that fibers are categorized as A or B. Category A states that cables must adhere to the 1260 to 1625 nm transmission range and can have a specified bend radius of 10 mm. Category B applies to bend-insensitive cables with transmissions in the 1310, 1550 and 1625 nm range. Category B has a specified bend radius of 7.5 mm.

    Uses

    • Bend-insensitive cables supposedly enhance the operational use of fiber-optic cables. Most fiber-optic cables experience transmission losses if they are bent. As buildings require pipes or cables to bend around walls, ceilings or floors, this creates serious problems when technicians install fiber-optic cables inside buildings or in residences. Designed to fix this problem, bend-insensitive cables do not experience extensive transmission loss when bent to a high degree. Some of these specialized cables can perform normally with tight bends or even kinks in the line.

    Standard Fiber-Optic Cables

    • Standard fiber-optic cables use layers and tubes of glass and plastic within the cable line. A rigid jacket and buffer layer are used to help add strength to the cable. Light-absorbing glass is also equipped in some cables to prevent light from leeching from one fiber-optic cable to another and creating losses or cross-talk between the lines. As glass and rigid plastics do not bend adequately, this design can create a problem.

    Potential Problems

    • As bend-insensitive cables are a relatively new technology, some problems may occur. For instance, some researchers within cabling and fiber-optics have noted potential problems with the compatibility of bend-insensitive cables and standard fiber-optic cables. According to a study by researchers Rick Pimpinella, Bulent Kose and Brett Lane, from the technology company, Panduit, "Light emerging from bend-optimized multimode fiber will have a larger angle on average than light emerging from standard multimode fiber." This difference can create problems when integrating bend-insensitive cables.

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References

  • Photo Credit Fiber cable hanging loose on pole image by Pezography from Fotolia.com

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