News & Solutions-Cabling comprehensive comparison: air blown fiber and traditional fiber
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Cabling comprehensive comparison: air blown fiber and traditional fiber
Release Date: 2021-07-19


The vast majority of integrated city line systems are installed by traditional optical fiber system. In this case, appropriate optical fiber installation is required using the design method discussed. The system has been proved feasible by numerous successful cases; Reliable; Stable; Mature and excellent.


Another recent installation technique called "air-blown fiber optics" was actually developed many years ago in the late 1980s. The principle of air-blown fiber optic systems is to install a set of tubes, also called "conduits" or "microtubes," between the locations where the optical fibers will or will be routed. When an optical fiber needs to be laid between two points of the network, a special installer "blows" the optical fiber into the pipe, and then connects the optical fiber with a connector.


The principle of traditional optical fiber installation is: the cable is inserted into the conduit or groove;And then drag it from one point to another. Even large cables with 288 fibers are no more than an inch in diameter, much smaller than the multi-pipe structures used in air-blown fiber systems. After the fiber optic cable is dragged, the fiber optic cable is laid and finally received the hardware equipment. Link losses can be determined and fiber optics can be put into use. Because no hardware is needed except at the ends of the cable, the material cost of the system is lower than that of air-blown fiber systems. The design is fixed and helps with long-term maintenance, and the system can be moved or changed without requiring the installer to come back for a new upgrade. And single-mode fiber can be installed, providing a future upgrade path.


Air-blown optical fiber systems in LAN environment claim to have lower cost advantages than traditional optical fiber routing systems. Air-blown fiber-optic systems are said to save space and time; It also improves system design and flexibility. However, other issues need to be considered, such as compliance with standards, cost, open vendor support, quality and toughness, scale, and ease of use. Whether you choose air-blown systems or conventional systems to install fiber optic cable, unexpected needs may arise in the future.


Flexibility in traditional air-blown fiber systems directly affects the cost of the entire system. With air-blown optical fiber systems, if no pipe is provided between two points, optical fiber cannot be installed. As with traditional optical fiber systems, new optical fibers have to be installed when there are no optical fibers. However, as described in the design chapter, if used as part of a traditional cabling design; Redundant links are installed. The various routing, loop topology, and additional fiber optics required can then be easily solved using patching or network switches.


Using air-blown optical fiber system, installation depends on fiber product diameter, pipe diameter, friction index of the material used, air flow, air pressure, the number of vertical rise, pipe blocking, pipe discontinuity and other parameters. These factors can lead to uncertainty in installation distance and height. Also, if future changes require the installation of optical fibers where there are no ducts or pipes, the ducting system in the building will be a significant impediment. Over time, ducts or piping systems may undergo rigorous treatment. Common building applications involve the installation of additional fiber optic cables, the installation of routine services on utilities (power supplies, alarms, sprinklers, HVAC, speakers, compressed air, indoor plumbing, etc.), and operations that may be hazardous to existing facilities. If a pipe looks durable, it has to be. Maintenance workers may assume that the air-blown fiber optic pipe may be more durable than it actually is, and treat it accordingly. It is important to note that the air blowing process is sensitive to humidity and temperature, and the air blowing performance will vary in different environments; However, the traditional wiring system is extremely stable and strong; Can adapt to a wide range of temperature and various environmental conditions.


If the pipe is blocked, broken or the flow is incomplete, any cost or time advantage quickly disappears. Also, it will always happen that pipes are not installed where future additions are needed in the system. Though; The cost of installing empty pipes may be low, but the cost of fiber optics and air blowing is high, so the final installation cost is higher than that of traditional fiber systems (up to 50% difference).


In voice, data or video communication, reliability is one of the most important aspects of a communication system. To ensure reliability, it is safer to use cable products that have been tested and meet industry standards. These standards include not only optical fiber standards, but also machinery.And environmental indicators, such as fire protection and smoke requirements. Cable and conduit products must be able to withstand rough expansion during installation; And non-general building use. Routine building maintenance, overcrowding in access areas, and the movement or relocation of utilities will all create potential difficulties for future installation teams to remove or connect cables to blow in additional cables. Using products that do not meet industry standards or are not tested carries a degree of risk of sacrificing system reliability and potentially creating a single source situation. Air-blown fiber is an alternative product that has not been widely accepted in the LAN application market. It is a proprietary technology and existing versions use different or incompatible components and technologies. This limits options now and in the future.


System integrity will eventually become an important reality requirement. A system that is considered cost-effective, taking full account of the future, creates security and liability challenges. Who is responsible for unfulfilled expectations that are discovered years after the initial work is completed? What is the degree of reliability? What is its impact on development? How to determine the real cause of the problem and who will bear the cost? With traditional cabling infrastructure, these problems can be designed for in advance.


Traditional cable designs and wiring rack hardware allow the fiber to be brought in from the middle segment and allow the fiber to "flow" through the middle point. Connectors and connectors are used only when fiber exit points are required or for convenience. Cutting the middle section out of substandard, plastic-coated optical fiber products seems impractical. In fact, discontinuous opening in the middle may destroy the aerodynamic integrity of the air-blown fiber optic pipe. To take advantage of the convenience of air-blown fiber installation, it is necessary to create a homing line from the machine room to each end point; Otherwise, air blowing equipment must be installed in multiple locations. Air-blown fiber optic systems have no obvious advantages from the point of view of combination and interconnection.


The termination of air-blown optical cable is no different from that of traditional optical cable; However, more attention should be paid to the bending radius so that the pipe bundle has a good air blowing environment (too tight bending will shorten the air blowing core distance).


Fiber optic protection in the pipeline is limited, and there are no internal strength components, etc. It does not have the same level of tensile strength, or stress resistance, as conventional cable. Avaya's AccuMAX Building fiber optic cable can withstand 200 pounds of episodic tension, eight times the above limit for standard twix-pair copper cable.


After wiring is complete and debugged, traditional wiring systems require little maintenance. Ports or mobile devices can be added as required, and the operation will not be affected too much; However, installation personnel need to be on site during operation of air-blown fiber-optic systems. The maintenance of the air-blown fiber distribution system requires accurate piping distribution records, a variety of dedicated cable bonding and insertion hardware, air-blown equipment, and well-trained installation personnel. Compressors are required to air-blow optical fibers, which may pose health and safety risks and are not suitable for future air-blown operations in industrial or office environments. One thing that should be considered in all air-blown fiber-optic networks is air obstruction at internal or external junctions at the entrance of the building and water obstruction at external and underground laying.


Air-blown optical fiber is a technically feasible method to install optical cables inside buildings. But even under ideal application conditions, system reliability is extremely important. So we recommend using products that meet industry standards. The numerous application considerations described above make planning an air-blown fiber system as difficult as planning a traditional cabling system. In traditional cabling system, redundant links can be easily designed into the traditional cabling system. In air-blown fiber systems, however, redundant links will complicate access for installers in the future.Traditional cable systems meet industry standards and are supported by multiple manufacturers. In terms of initial cost, the traditional construction investment than blowing optical fiber cable installation system is high, but it need connectors and connector is blowing optical system, and later maintenance costs will be lower, blowing optical system users will buy only depending on the individual manufacturer with subsequent expensive products or improve performance.


Traditional fiber optic cabling technology is a certified and standards-based approach that can easily meet the requirements of demanding LAN customers in the future. Wiring should only be done once! Who wants to have an installer on site often? Avaya recommends the use of traditional fiber-optic building wiring systems; It is to achieve long-term system reliability, timely and flexible use. Cost predictability and comprehensive industry standard compatibility are the best building fiber optic cabling options.


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