Difference between indoor and outdoor fiber optic cable

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According to different applications, optical cables can be divided into indoor fiber optic cables and outdoor fiber optic cables.

What is the difference between indoor and outdoor fiber optic cable?

In this article, we will analyze the difference between indoor optical cable and outdoor optical cable from 8 aspects, including structure, reinforced material, fiber type, mechanical characteristic, environmental characteristics, application, color, and classification.

1. Different structures between indoor and outdoor fiber optic cable
Indoor optical cable is mainly composed of optical fiber, plastic protective sleeve and plastic outer skin. There is no metal such as gold, silver, copper and aluminum in the optical cable, and generally has no recycling value. ​
Outdoor optical cable is a communication line that realizes optical signal transmission. The cable core is composed of a certain number of optical fibers according to a certain method, and is covered with an outer jacket.

2. Different reinforced materials between indoor and outdoor fiber optic cable
The indoor optical cable is reinforced with aramid (Kevlar), and each optical fiber is covered with a 0.9mm jacket;
The outdoor optical cable is reinforced with steel wire and steel tape, and the optical fiber is only bare fiber coloring.

3. Different fiber types between indoor and outdoor fiber optic cable
Outdoor optical cables generally use cheaper single-mode optical fibers, while indoor optical cables use relatively expensive multi-mode optical fibers, which makes outdoor optical cables generally cheaper than indoor optical cables.

4. Different mechanical characteristics between indoor and outdoor fiber optic cable
Indoor optical cable: mainly used indoors, the main features should be easy to bend, and can be used in narrow places such as corners. Indoor optical cables have low tensile strength and poor protective layers but are also lighter and more economical.
Outdoor optical cable: Outdoor optical cables have thicker protective layers and are usually armored (that is, wrapped with metal skins).

5. Different environmental characteristics between indoor and outdoor fiber optic cable
Indoor optical cable: Generally does not have a waterproof jacket. When selecting optical cables for indoor use, attention should be paid to their flame retardant, toxic and smoke properties. In the pipeline or forced ventilation, the type of flame retardant but smoke can be used. In the exposed environment, the type of flame retardant, non-toxic and smoke-free should be used.
Outdoor optical cable: Because its use environment is outdoors, it must have the functions of pressure resistance, corrosion resistance and waterproof.

6. Different applications between indoor and outdoor fiber optic cable
Indoor optical cables are mainly used for the layout of buildings and connections between network devices. Indoor optical cables are mainly suitable for horizontal wiring subsystems and vertical backbone subsystems.
Outdoor optical cables are mostly used in building complex subsystems and can be used in outdoor direct burial, pipelines, overhead and underwater laying and other scenarios. It is mainly suitable for interconnection between buildings and between remote networks. When the outdoor optical cable is directly buried, the armored optical cable should be selected. When overhead, an optical cable with a black plastic outer sheath with two or more reinforcing ribs can be used.

7. Different colors between indoor and outdoor fiber optic cable
Indoor optical cable: yellow single-mode optical cable, orange multi-mode optical cable, aqua green 10G optical cable.
Outdoor optical cable: generally black outer sheath, the texture is relatively hard.

8. Different classifications between indoor and outdoor fiber optic cable
Indoor optical cables are generally divided into indoor tight sleeves and branches. It mainly includes FTTH cable, indoor flexible optical cable, bundled cable, etc.
There are many types of outdoor optical cables, and the internal structure is generally divided into a central tube structure and a twisted structure. The most common ones are outdoor central bundled tube armored optical cable, outdoor twisted aluminum armored optical cable, outdoor twisted armored optical cable, outdoor twisted double armored double sheathed optical cable, ADSS all-dielectric self-supporting optical cable, etc.

8. Different prices between indoor and outdoor fiber optic cable

Outdoor fiber optic cables are generally less expensive than indoor fiber optic cables.
Indoor optical cables and outdoor optical cables use different materials for reinforcement. Indoor optical cables need to have a certain degree of flexibility, both soft and tensile, so the materials used are different. Indoor optical cables are used to strengthen aramid (Kevlar), and each optical fiber is covered with 0.9mm jacket, and the cost is different; outdoor optical cables are used to strengthen steel wires and steel tapes, and the optical fibers are only bare fibers.

Outdoor optical cables are generally single-mode optical fibers. Multimode optical fibers generally used in indoor optical cables. The price of multi-mode is also more expensive than single-mode.

Can outdoor optical fiber cables be used indoors?
There is no strict distinction between indoor optical cables and outdoor optical cables, that is, they can be used outdoors or indoors, but indoor cables focus on fire protection, are relatively soft, and are not tensile, and outdoor cables focus on anti-corrosion.  As long as the fiber optic cable is able to cope with outdoor use conditions such as humidity, and meet indoor fire safety requirements, then these universal cables can then be used for both indoor and outdoor applications. You can determine according to the specific circumstances of the construction. Bonelinks provide indoor optical cables, outdoor optical cables, indoor/outdoor universal optical cables, please contact us if you need them. We can offer suitable solutions based on your requirements.

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