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The Importance of a Slack Storage System For Network Reliability

Fiber Optic
Posted by James Donovan on 20 October 2016 Connect with James on LinkedIn Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Overcoming Cable Management Problems with Storage:

Most ODF systems encounter cable management problems in the storage of excess fiber cable.

Since most singlemode connectors today are factory-terminated to a patch cord of a predetermined length, there is always some excess fiber remaining after the connections have been made.

At some point during the life of the fiber network, it is likely that virtually every fiber circuit will be reconfigured. For most circuits, the duration between reconfigurations will be long, perhaps three to five years. During this time, these fibers need to be properly protected to ensure they are not damaged during day-to-day network operations.

The Importance of a Slack Storage System

As the fiber’s physical length and its potential exposure to damage and bend radius violations is greatest here, the slack storage system is perhaps the most critical element in terms of network reliability and reconfigurability.

The slack storage system needs to provide flexible storage capacities, permanent bend radius protection, and easy access to individual fibers.

Slack storage systems come in many styles and configurations. Many systems involve coiling or wrapping fibers in open troughs or vertical cableways, which can increase the probability of bend radius violations and can make fiber access more difficult and time-consuming.

Accessibility

The accessibility and thus the amount of time required to reconfigure the network is optimal in a system that maintains a continuous non-coiled or twisted routing of fibers.As singlemode connectors become more reliable and easier to install in the field, some of the need for slack storage will disappear.

It is also true, however, that terminating the connectors in the field, while reducing the initial ODF purchase price, will increase the installation cost and time.

In existing central offices, there will be a substantial base of installed fiber that will require storage for life, unless it is all replaced, an unlikely event due to high costs.

The ODF system used should have an effective slack storage system that is easily incorporated or can be omitted, depending on the current network requirements and configuration.

Managing Intra-Facility (IFC) Cables

When working with IFC cables, the following factors must be taken into consideration to ensure the best possible performance and ease of maintenance:

  • Bend Radius–For cables with load, it is necessary to maintain a bend radius that is 20 times the diameter of the cable jacketing. However, if no load is on the cable while tied down, you are able to maintain a lower (10 times) bend radius.
  • Strain Relief – Always use the recommended cable clamp as well as properly sized grommet inserts.
  • Lacing -CommScope recommends wax lacing, which makes it easier to manage tension and reduces microbends.
  • Tie-Off–Installers should always use some type of insert for protection between lacings and the cable jacketing.
  • Segregating – Because of weight issues, CommScope also recommends separate racking systems for fiber cables and copper cables.

Learn more:

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