Mike Taylor, CSP
January 9, 2023
Pulling and Jetting/Blowing are the most common ways to deploy fiber optic cables. But each technique can impact a fiber optic network's longevity, overall performance, and return on funding (ROI). Remember how fragile glass is, the distance to be covered, performance, and prices. You can see that jetting (blowing) offers many advantages over conventional cable-pulling strategies.
A look at both Fiber Optic Cable Installation Methods.
Reasons why cable jetting is better than standard pulling techniques:
Every brand of optical fiber cable has maximum tensile strength. But in pulling, there's a threat of straining the cable past its limits, which can compromise the fiber's performance and reduce its life. Unchecked resistance forces, such as friction, on the sidewalls of cables and ducts also can create damage during a "pulling" installation.
In contrast, jetting fiber involves very little pulling, which appreciably minimizes strain on the fiber optic cable. You can configure the machine's hydraulic system or air-compressing equipment to manage airflow within the duct to monitor the conduit and fiber to reduce damage.
To reduce the coefficient of friction during cable jetting, you will need to use lubricants intended for the technique. Ducts with low-friction interior partitions can also help.
Pulling is not the best option for placing long-haul outside plant (OSP) fiber optic cable. With the pulling technique, there will be a constant and excessive strain on the fiber optic cable when pulling the cable into conduit bends. And as bend angles continue to build up, optimizing pull length becomes increasingly more challenging. The bad news is that OSP ducts for fiber optic networks may have many bends.
As such, pulling works for short-distance fiber optic cable deployment. Distance will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, and cable jacket material plays can also create an issue.
However, with high-speed air-assisted Jetting/Blowing fiber optic installation, conduit bends and undulations are not as much an issue as conventional cable-pulling techniques. The blowing pressure does not pull the cable into a duct bend. It pushes or floats the fiber effortlessly around every turn or curve.
In other words, the duct route geometry would not affect the installation distance as much in this example. Consequently, air-assisted installation helps you to install fiber optic cable thousands of feet between jetting sites. Therefore, it is suitable for OSP fiber deployments, like telecommunication, CATV, and internet networks.
While cable jetting/blowing equipment and ductwork can be initially more expensive, you can amortize those costs over future plant upgrades and jobs. For example, you can easily install what you need and not install unused/dark fiber.
Likewise, "pulling" is more labor-intensive than the Jetting/blowing technique. Pulling requires greater equipment movement and can require you to set up multiple times within a run, as you can only pull so far. Additional workers and extra equipment translate to higher costs. Cable jetting requires fewer cabling technicians.
Remember that air-assisted optical fiber installation minimizes the number of splice locations needed. Cables installed in this manner do not usually require "figure-8" looping, which can save you from twisting and possibly damaging the fiber. Jetting has fewer intermediate-help placement locations, which limits the number of handholes, and other access locations required along the cabling route.
Jetting is very effective at pushing fiber optic cable thru microducts. With the Jetting/blowing method, you can place microduct cable in a continuous length. This approach is the most appropriate for cutting-edge smaller optical fiber cables. The thinner or smaller a fiber is within the fiber optic cable, the higher the number of fibers you put in the innerduct. Jetting is the best method to make the most of the available duct capacity. It also lets you work with smaller, more flexible fibers that will travel through bends and turns. More than one microduct twists and turns over long distances with close to-0 bend losses. Additionally, while installing microducts for fiber optic cable jetting, you may build a redundant pathway to accommodate new fiber in the future as required. This way, you avoid the extra cost related to dark fiber or replacing or adding to the network in the future.
Pulled fiber optic cable may be tough to put off when not wanted. The presence of older and unwanted cables in pathways can also limit your capacity to optimize your optical network potential or upgrade to better-overall performance fibers.
However, after installing optical fiber by cable jetting/blowing, you can easily remove it the same way if necessary. You may be able to reuse the removed fiber optic cable since the removal will reduce or minimize any damages.
Cable jetting is faster than the "pulling" technique. The Jetting/Blowing Equipment can move fiber optic cable at 350 ft per minute or higher speeds. With the air-jetting approach, you can quickly blow fiber optic cables via pre-installed innerduct or underground ductwork. In most cases, you may only be able to pull fiber at a rate of 100 ft per minute or even slower.
By choosing cable jetting to upgrade your optical fiber, there is minimal interruption to ongoing workflows or operations. The cable-pulling method is extra disruptive.
Cable jetting/blowing is far superior to pulling in ways that make it more competitively priced, efficient, and safe for putting in fiber optic cables. It is the best option for long-distance OSP applications and installing fiber into microducts. It additionally lets you make room for the seamless growth or upgrade of your current fiber optic capacity at minimum extra cost.
Meet The Author
Mike Taylor, CSP
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