Fibre optic cables all have one common weakness: flexibility. The glass core and reflective cladding are essential to signal integrity, and accidentally twisting or bending the cable too much will force attenuation that can ruin your application with signal loss. If the fibre cable is damaged too much, the user is faced with either cutting and re-terminating the cable, an expensive and time-consuming process, or throwing it out and buying a new one.
This doesn’t have to be the case, though. Apollo Technology offers a line of cable assemblies designed to be resistant to bend related damage, called “Bend Insensitive” or RBR fibre optic cables. RBR fibre cable has a flex cycle count in the thousands, sometimes as high as 7,500 or more cycles. In addition, it has a much smaller bend radius, meaning it can tolerate tighter corners or being wrapped around cable management equipment. There is currently an industry push to get all fibre cable to be bend insensitive, but for now if your application involves bending or flexing you should consider specifying BI for your cables.Where to use RBR fibre cables
Cabling generally occurs in two broad applications: premise and patching. Premise cabling such as backbone cables is designed to be installed somewhere and left there permanently. This includes cables run behind the walls in an office or other building, or run outdoors between buildings. Permanent installations rarely require any added flexibility consideration, but BI cables are still used where tight bends are inevitable, such as older buildings with smaller-diameter conduits.
RBR fibre cables are much more common in patching cabling applications. These are places where the cables are plugged and unplugged regularly, such as in a patch panel or a busy call centre. Usually, the premise wiring behind a wall will terminate at a wall plate, and then users will connect their devices to it with patch cords. Even if a computer is plugged into the wall port semi-permanently, it is considered a patch application because the computer could be unplugged and moved at any time, while moving and changing the walls is a much bigger project.
What kinds of RBR fibre cables are available?
You can purchase bulk single mode RBR cable in either simplex, duplex, or breakout style with 6 or 12 individual fibres inside. Sold by the meter, this is perfect for laying a permanent install where tight bends are a factor, or making your own patch cords to certain specifications.
All of these are perfect if you need a patch cable immediately. On the other hand, if you need a length that isn’t offered off-the-shelf, Apollo Technology can also custom manufacture cables with the RBR fibre cable in any length and connector polish type.