fiber optic cabling planning new construction

How Are Fiber Optic Cables Installed?

Fiber optic cable installation may take place either indoors or outdoors according to several different types of installation processes. Outdoor installation can be visible or hidden such as buried or enclosed in a conduit or duct. They may also hang up in the air connected between poles. Indoor cables can be installed within cable trays over the ceiling or even beneath floorboards, placed within conduits or ducts, or placed in hangars. The process of installing fiber optics cables often depends on the type of cable that’s used as well as features about the installation itself. Given that there are countless different types of fiber optic cables with a variety of applications it’s out of the scope of this article to cover each in detail. But when it comes to the proper installation of fiber optic cables there are some general principles that should be followed. 

Training

All staff involved in the installation of fiber optics should be trained sufficiently with the required tools, the components that are being installed, and the processes to use to ensure objectives are met with safety and protocol. Proper training must encompass all safety-related procedures and an installer should never use the site of installation in order to learn new techniques or get familiar with products. Additionally, equipment used in testing should be checked prior to installation, such as reviewing the condition of cables, battery levels and whether required measurements can be made. Ultimately a technician installing a fiber optic cable must prove their basic knowledge, skills, and abilities for example having FOA CFOT certification. 

Safety

The highest concern is the safety of everyone involved, whether the installer, the managers, and the owners. OSHA rules provide general guidelines for safety, but fiber optic installers must also take additional precautions concerning chemicals, eye safety, proper disposal of fiber debris, and sparks that arise from the fusion splice process. Before any installation, the safety rules should be reviewed with all onsite workers to ensure that the right safety protocols are followed. Safety equipment such as eye-wear should always be worn whenever fiber is worked with. Additional consideration should be made with specific site features such as whether near roads, utilities, or railways and other areas with additional hazards to take account of. If trenches need to be dug, a proper map and location of where underground utilities are located should be verified before digging begins. Workers should be trained according to the laws, codes, and requirements for the site locality and workers need to be trained according to these regulations. Again, these rules should be posted in clear view and reviewed before work begins. 

While installing fiber optics can be dangerous, the right planning, preparation and training ensures the safety of all workers and the proper installation of cables.