With the rapid development of optical communication networks, more and more optical cables are used in different environments. If in a harsh environment, it is very important to ensure the safety of your fiber optic cable when transmitting data. This is where armored fiber optic cables come into play. Armored cables protect the cables from mechanical damage, while unarmoured cables are not. This article will explain the difference between armored and non armoured cable.
What are Armored and non Armored Fiber Optic Cables?
Armored optical cable is a kind of optical cable, which is wrapped with protective armor outside the optical cable core. Armoring is used to protect fiber optic cables from animal bites, moisture, or other damage. In addition, the armored optical cable also has a sheath, aramid fiber, light steel wire and optical fiber layer to protect the optical cable. Plastic jacket protects against rodents, abrasion and twisting. The light steel wire between the optical fiber and the outer sheath provides better protection for the optical fiber in the center, and Kevlar material is placed in the outer sheath to cover the steel wire.
Non armoured cable is an optical cable without an armored protective layer. For example, unarmored stranded loose tube cables offer FRP as the central component, ensuring immunity to electromagnetic interference. The high-strength loose tube is hydrolysis resistant, and the tube is filled with compound to ensure critical protection of the fiber. A water-blocking material is used between the single-layer polyethylene (PE) sheath and the loose tube to keep the cable compact and waterproof.
Armored vs Non Armoured Cable
- Differences in the structure
Many people may think that armored fiber optic cable is just metal for protection. More specifically, the armor material does not have to be metal, it may be fiber yarn, glass yarn, polyethylene, etc. The only difference between armored optical cable and unarmoured optical cable is that the armored optical cable has an extra layer of outer protection for the optical cable. 4 core armored cables tend to be more expensive than unarmored cables, and armored cables with steel tape and aluminum are much less expensive than the Kevlar armored cables that are often used in special applications.
- Differences in the application
The armored cable surface has a reinforced layer, which is suitable for buried applications. Armored fiber optic cables are used in core networks, metropolitan area networks (MANs), LANs, access networks, backbone networks, FTTH, data centers, and indoor, outdoor, and indoor/outdoor applications.
Non-armored cable surface has no reinforcement layer and cannot be buried directly in the ground. But in other cases, unarmored cables are widely used. Unarmoured optical cables are used for overhead and duct installations in locations with high electromagnetic interference, outdoor power distribution, control systems, trunk power transmission systems, access networks and local networks.
There are two main reasons for using armored fiber cables. One is to prevent moisture from seeping into the cable and causing damage. Armoring gives the cable protection against fatal damage when the cable is run open and in unprotected moisture environments, or when run underground. It is usually mandatory for marine, and offshore applications. The other one is anti-rodent. Rodents or animals can and will chew the cable and encounter all kinds of problems, so armoring protects the optic cable from damage by animals or shovels in direct burial applications.
Armored vs Non Armoured Cable: How to Choose?
- In terms of safety, armored cables are better. The armored cable has a protective layer, which is wound with steel wire, so as to ensure that the cable is not easily affected by the outside environment, such as being damaged by force.
- In terms of price, those with armor are more expensive than those without armor, because the production cost is more expensive, and the price is about 15% higher.
Therefore, choose according to your own needs and circumstances, and the one that suits you is the best.
Armored fiber optic cables are stronger than unarmoured cables. Armored optical cables have good pressure resistance, high reliability, high security, high flexibility and durability when used in harsh environments, and are easy to install, but are more expensive than unarmored optical cables.