Have you been considering aerial fiber optic deployment? If so, there are many factors to consider. There are the decisions of which option to choose, the methods of deployment, and, of course, the advantages and disadvantages of each method. Here we’ll take a look at these factors.
Aerial fiber optic cable deployment comes with two main choices: loose tube cable and ADSS cables. Loose tube cables are most often designed for either underground use or aerial use when lashed to a messenger. ADSS cables (described as all-dielectric self-supporting cables) are mostly designed for aerial use, as well as in duct applications. They are made to support their own weight and environmental conditions such as wind and ice.
Similarities between the two types include:
- Both can be installed with a moving reel or stationary reel method (ADSS may install faster when starting with bare poles).
- Both can be placed in conduit; loose tube cables can be direct-buried, ADSS cables can’t.
- Both cables can be used in networks requiring mid-span access.
Major differences include:
- Because ADSS cables are all-dielectric, there is no cable bonding, grounding, or maintenance required.
- ADSS can be placed on transmission lines or in the supply zone, as well as in the communications zone on a joint-distribution pole.
- In installation, tension is placed on the ADSS during installation, as opposed to lashing the cable onto the strand at very low tension.
- The hardware used to attach and support the different types of cables to the poles is different for loose tube cables and ADSS.
In the end, it often comes down to which is most cost effective for you. Some things to keep in mind are that ADSS cable is more expensive than loose tube cable, but labor and material costs can be lower for ADSS. And while ADSS hardware on a cost-per-pole basis is higher, this is often offset by the elimination of strand or lashing wire.
Since it comes down to specific needs and applications, the best choice is company-specific. In areas where a strand is already in place, loose tube cable could be more cost effective, while the opposite might be true in an area without a strand in place. Explore your options based on your situation and then decide what makes the most sense for you.