Pulling Versus Blowing Fiber Optic Cables
Fiber optic cables are fast becoming the backbone of modern infrastructure, as it is essential to provide high-speed internet access. The installation process itself, however, can be quite complicated. Traditionally, many cable installation teams have opted for pulling to lay down a wired network, but sometimes, blowing these cables into conduits is more efficient and hassle-free. But what exactly does pulling and blowing a fiber optic cable entail? And which is more suitable in this particular case? The answers to these questions will be explored below.
Blowing or pulling, which is ideal for cable installation?
Also known as jetting, blowing fiber requires using a device, known as a microfiber blower, to push the cable into a conduit at high speeds using pressurized air. While it is an expensive set-up at the outset, it actually saves a lot of resources in the form of fewer handholes, splice points and installation crew, for it is an automated process in many ways. Another major advantage of using this method is the efficiency, for fiber can be pushed up to thousands of feet using the blower, and it can also work around tight bends and changing elevations. The only downside of using this technology is the expensive initial cost and the need for extensive training so that crew members can perform their tasks accurately.
Pulling fiber can be considered the opposite of blowing, wherein a crew pulls the fiber cable through a conduit either manually or with the help of a mechanical device. While it is more simplistic than blowing, there are a lot of variables in this method that can complicate the situation. For example, it is vital to consider the type of cable, conduit, temperature, distance and design of the layout, as it can all adversely affect an installation. The reason is that it is difficult to implement this method over large distances or around tight bends. Moreover, there is also the factor of friction to contend with, for it can damage or fray the cable. Hence, it also requires extensive lubrication or insulation against the elements.
In the end, pulling can be considered a better choice than blowing only if there are budget constraints and the layout is simple and covers a short distance. For all other scenarios, it is evident that blowing a fiber cable is the superior choice.
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