Fiber optic cable installation is a specialized task and this is a brief review of cable installation practices for a bunch of different applications. You can find more Fiber Optic Technical Tutorials.
Most methods for installing optical cables have been adapted from those used for copper cables.
Outdoor fiber cables are laid along rights of way leased or owned by telecommunications carriers, such as along a railroad or highway, which are well marked after the cables are installed.
The fiber installation approaches depend on the types of cable being installed.
- Submarine fiber optic cables. Submarine optical cables are laid from special ships built for that purpose. Submarine cables are buried in trenches dug on the sea floor if the depths are less than 200 meters. Alternatively submarine cables are laid directly on the ocean floor in deep ocean basins.
- Direct-buried Fiber Optic Cables. Direct-buried fiber cables are laid in a deep trench dug with a cable plow, which is then covered with dirt and marked with fiber optic cable marker tapes.
- Cable ducts and innerducts. Cable ducts are plastic tubes laid in trenches dug for that purpose, then covered over. The ducts typically are directly covered by soil, but sometimes may be encased in concrete to add structural integrity and prevent service disruptions. The ducts are installed without cables inside. Duct routes may be direct between end points, or may be routed through a series of underground access points at manholes.
- Outdoor cables. Outdoor cables are installed in ducts by threading a pull rope through the duct, attaching it to the cable, then pulling the cable through the ducts.
- Self-supporting aerial fiber cables. Self-supporting aerial cables (or called figure 8 cables) are suspended directly from overhead poles. Other aerial cables can be suspended from messenger wires – strong steel wires strung between poles. If a messenger wire is used, the aerial cable is lashed to it with a special lashing wire running around both the cable and the messenger wire. This is a very common installation for many overhead fiber cables.
- Indoor fiber optic cables. Indoor fiber optic cables can be installed within walls, through cable risers, or elsewhere in buildings. Note: Only special cables designed for installation under carpets should be laid on the floor where people walk.
- Indoor Plenum rated fiber optic cables. Only plenum rated indoor fiber optic cables can be installed in ducts, plenums, and other spaces used for environmental air.
- Light-duty fiber cables – distribution cables. Light duty cables are installed in indoor applications for light use.