What is the difference between ADSS optical cable and OPGW optical cable?


ADSS optical cable and OPGW optical cable all belong to the power optical cable. They make full use of the unique resources of the power system and are closely integrated with the power grid structure. They are economical, reliable, fast and safe. ADSS optical cable and OPGW optical cable are installed on various power towers with different voltage levels. Compared with ordinary optical cables, they have special requirements for their mechanical characteristics, optical fiber characteristics and electrical characteristics. Then, what’s the difference between ADSS optical cable and OPGW optical cable?

1. What is ADSS fiber optic cable?
ADSS optical cable (also known as all-dielectric self-supporting optical cable) is a non-metallic optical cable composed of all-dielectric materials, which can withstand its own weight and external load. It is commonly used in communication routes of overhead high-voltage transmission systems and can be applied to power communication and other strong electric environments (such as railways), and environments with large distances and spans such as lightning-prone areas, river crossings, etc.

ADSS Dual Sheath 001

 2. What is OPGW fiber optic cable?
OPGW stands for optical ground wire (also known as optical fiber composite overhead ground wire), which is to composite optical fiber in the overhead ground wire of the transmission line, and design and install it at the same time as the overhead ground wire of the transmission line, and complete the erection at one time. OPGW optical cable has two functions ground wire and communication, which can effectively improve the utilization rate of towers.

3. What is the difference between ADSS optical cable and OPGW optical cable?

ADSS optical cable and OPGW optical cable can sometimes be tricky when dealing with outdoor fiber optic cabling due to differences in cabling design, characteristics, environment, cost and application. Let’s see the main differences between them.

3.1 ADSS optical cable VS OPGW optical cable: Different structures
ADSS optical cable structure is mainly composed of central strength member, stranded loose tube, water blocking material, aramid yarn and sheath. The structure of ADSS optical cable is divided into two types: single sheath and double sheath.

Structural characteristics of ADSS fiber optic cable:

  • The optical fiber is a loose-tube structure in the casing.
  • The cable core structure is a layered structure.
  • It is twisted by SZ twisting method.
  • The outer casing has the functions of anti-electricity and anti-corrosion.
  • The main load-bearing component is aramid yarn.

OPGW optical cable structure is mainly composed of optical fiber unit (stainless steel tube, aluminum-clad stainless steel tube) and metal mono-filament (aluminum-clad steel, aluminum alloy) peripheral reinforcing ribs. There are 4 types of OPGW cables: ACS (Aluminum Clad Stainless Steel Tube), stranded tube, center tube and ACP (Aluminum clad PBT).

Structural characteristics of OPGW optical cable:

  • Optical fiber unit (stainless steel tube, aluminum-clad stainless steel tube)
  • The metal monofilament (aluminum-clad steel, aluminum alloy) is reinforced around the periphery.


3.2 ADSS optical cable VS OPGW optical cable: Different materials
The insulating material used in ADSS optical cable supports live work during installation and maintenance of the line, which can effectively reduce power outage losses and avoid lightning strikes. ADSS optical cable strengthening unit is aramid yarn.

OPGW optical cable is made of all-metal material, which has good mechanical properties and environmental performance and can meet the requirements of large distances. The material of the OPGW optical cable strengthening unit is metal wire.

3.3 ADSS optical cable VS OPGW optical cable: Different feature

ADSS optical cable can be installed without turning off the power, has a large span, good tensile performance, light weight and small diameter.

OPGW optical cable provides stainless steel optical fiber unit, stranded loose tube cable structure, aluminum alloy wire and aluminum clad steel wire armor, anti-corrosion grease coating between layers, strong bearing capacity and large span.

3.4 ADSS optical cable VS OPGW optical cable: Different mechanical characteristics
ADSS optical cable has better ice-covered overload capacity, while OPGW has better sag characteristics. The maximum sag of OPGW optical cable is 1.64 to 6.54m smaller than that of ADSS optical cable within the span of 200 to 400m under the condition of 10mm icing. At the same time, the vertical load, horizontal load and maximum operating tension of OPGW optical cable are larger than that of ADSS optical cable. Therefore, OPGW optical cables are generally more suitable for mountainous areas with large spans and height differences.

3.5 ADSS optical cable VS OPGW optical cable: Different installation location

Optical cable

If the wires are aging and need to be re-routed or replaced, compared to the installation location, ADSS optical cables are better, and ADSS optical cables are more suitable for installation in places where live wires are placed in power distribution and transmission environments.

3.6 ADSS optical cable VS OPGW optical cable: Different application

ADSS fiber optic cable has electrical corrosion resistance, which can reduce the electrical corrosion of the fiber optic cable by the high voltage induced electric field. It is generally used in power communication systems that cannot be powered off. It must be connected to the tension tower or hanging tower of the transmission line, cannot be connected in the middle of the line and must use an insulated electrodeless rope. ADSS optical cables are mainly used in the information transformation of existing lines, and are mostly used in transmission lines with voltage levels of 220kV, 110kV, and 35kV. It is mainly to meet the requirements of large sag and large span of power transmission lines. ADSS optical cables are mainly used for communication lines of overhead high-voltage transmission systems, and can also be used for communication lines in overhead laying environments such as lightning-prone areas and large spans. ADSS optical cables can also be used in outdoor antenna self-supporting installations, enterprise OSP networks, broadband, FTTX networks, railways, long-distance communications, CATV, closed-circuit television, computer network system, Ethernet local area network, campus backbone network outside the factory, etc.

OPGW fiber optic cable has anti-lightening discharge performance and short-circuits current overload capability. Even in lightning weather or short-circuit current overload, the optical fiber can still operate normally. OPGW optical cable is mainly used on 500KV, 220KV, and 110KV voltage level lines. The outstanding feature of OPGW optical cable is that the communication optical cable and the overhead ground wire on the high-voltage transmission line are combined into a whole, and the optical cable technology and the transmission line technology are integrated to become a multi-functional overhead ground wire, which is not only a lightning protection wire, it is also an overhead optical cable, and it is also a shielded wire. While completing the construction of high-voltage transmission lines, it also completed the construction of communication lines, therefore, it is very suitable for new transmission lines. OPGW optical cable is used in the power industry and distribution lines, voice, video, data transmission, SCADA networks.

3.7 ADSS optical cable VS OPGW optical cable: Different construction, operation, and maintenance
ADSS optical cable needs to erect a common ground wire at the same time. The installation positions of these two cables are different, and the constructions are completed in two times. The normal operation of the optical cable will not be affected in the event of a power line accident, and it can also be repaired without power failure during operation and maintenance.

OPGW optical cable has all the functions and performance of overhead ground wire and optical cable, integrating mechanical, electrical and transmission advantages. It is one-time construction, one-time completion, has high safety and reliability, and strong anti-risk ability.

3.8 ADSS optical cable VS OPGW optical cable: Different prices 

Single unit cost:
OPGW optical cable has high requirements for lightning protection, and the cost of the unit is relatively high. ADSS optical cable does not have lightning protection, and the cost of the unit is low. So, in terms of the unit price, OPGW optical cable is slightly more expensive than ADSS optical cable.

Overall cost:
ADSS optical cable also needs to install a common ground wire for lightning protection, which needs to increase construction costs and material costs. In terms of long-term overall cost, OPGW optical cable saves investment more than ADSS optical cable.

3.9 ADSS optical cable VS OPGW optical cable: Different advantages

ADSS optic cable

  • The aramid yarn is reinforced around it, with good anti-ballistic performance.
  • No metal, anti-electromagnetic interference, lightning protection, strong electromagnetic field resistance.
  • Good mechanical and environmental performance.
  • Lightweight, easy to construct.
  • Utilize existing towers to save line construction and installation costs.
  • Installed with power supply to reduce losses caused by power outages.
  • It is independent from the power line, which is convenient for maintenance.
  • It is a self-supporting optical cable, no auxiliary hanging wire such as hanging wire is required.

OPGW optic cable

  • All metal
  • Excellent mechanical and environmental performance.
  • It has a good match with the ground wire, and its mechanical and electrical properties are basically the same.
  • Realize optical fiber communication, and shunt short-circuit current to guide lightning current.


4. Summary
ADSS cables are cheaper and easier to install than OPGW cables. However, OPGW cables have high voltage transmission efficiency and can also be used for telecommunications to transmit data for the purpose of high-speed data transmission. We make decisions according to different application scenarios and different needs. Bonelinks has a complete range of optical cables and is cost-effective. If you have needs for fiber optic products, please contact us.

Echo Huang

Echo Huang is an expert wordsmith and marketing professional at Bonelinks with more than 8 years of experience in high technology businesses – fiber optics, IoT, and telecommunication. She is very glad to share industry knowledge and communicate with others.

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