Understanding and Selecting Optical Fibre and Cable

Understanding and Selecting Optical Fibre and Cable

This document will provide an understanding of optical fibre, optical fibre cable (OFC), application standards, and key considerations that one should make before selecting optical fibre products.

Typically, the first document shared with a user (Purchasing Manager, Technical Manager, and Installation Manager) is a technical datasheet. When several optical fibre cables are to be compared, as per the requirements of a project, a short list could be created based on the datasheets. However, all datasheets are not equivalent even if they look similar. One should know what the minimum relevant data are, how to find them, and how to compare them.

Before reading or comparing the technical datasheet, it is important to know the applications of optical fibre cables and the installation requirements for the project. The application and installation of optical fibre cables are dependent on each other. They impact the cable features and the relevant content of a datasheet. During the selection process, one can look at the datasheet to check for a product fit.

A proper understanding of the cables’ characteristics and descriptions is also dependent on the standardisation documents referenced in the datasheet. Indeed, a technical value means nothing if it is not given with a clear test method and a clear acceptance criterion. Moreover, using standards allows a relevant and fair comparison between various datasheets if acceptance criteria and test parameters are equivalent, which is often not the case.

In this document, the relationship between the cable features, followed standards, test parameters, and acceptance criteria are explained with examples for a better understanding of an optical fibre cable datasheet.

This document highlights that the values given in an OFC datasheet are dependent on test parameters and acceptance criteria, which need to be clearly understood for a fair comparison and relevance to the application and installation.