Fiber Optic Microcables

cable in microducts
What Is Fiber Optic Microcables?

As fiber optic communications systems are expanded to accommodate rapidly growing communications needs, three has been a demand for higher density cables with higher fiber count. This has led to two new cable designs, microcables with up to 288 or even 432 fibers and high fiber count cables. High fiber counts began with loose tube cable at 432 fibers, doubled to 864 fibers, then grew into designs for data centers and metro backbones with 1728, 3456 and 6912 fibers. Microcables are optimized for small size not large fiber counts, and are aimed at installations where their small size simplifies installation and reduces cost.

It is a new modern technology suitable particularly for access and metropolitan area networks deploying. Full existing duct structure and deficient number of fibers in a route can be easily solved by this MicroTechnology. The bundle of MicroDucts (MD) is blown into larger existing HDPE ducts or even into existing ducts with existing cables. MicroCables (MC) are then blown into them gradually to meet market needs.

Just some of a whole host of features and benefits that microcable delivers include:
Continual pressure for higher cable fibre density Faster and safer installation Lower installation and operational costs Enable maximum fibre count in restricted duct space due to their smaller diameters Reduced faults and downtime

144 fiber Microcable

Microcable is a term applied to a new class of cables that are very high density cables with greatly reduced the cable diameter. Two fiber developments make a microcable feasible. Bend insensitive fiber allows fibers to be packed into cables with much higher density since the fibers are not as sensitive to the stress caused by the crowded fibers. In addition, the bend insensitive fibers can be coated with smaller diameter primary buffer coatings, 200 microns or less compared to 250 microns for conventional fibers, allowing more fibers to be packed into a smaller space.

Corning microcables – 288 fiber (top) and 144 fiber (middle) compared to a pencil
The differences between conventional and micro cables are substantial. A 144 fiber loose tube cable is typically 15-16mm diameter while a comparable micro cable is only about 8 mm diameter – half the size and about one-third the weight. The smaller size allows for much larger fiber counts, up to 6912 fibers in some high fiber count designs, Microcables generally have a large stiff strength member in the center to allow installation by blowing the cable into microducts.

Microducts come in a variety of sizes and shapes, including versios not show her that are flat, say 6 microdcuts in a row, intended for installation in very narrow grooves cut in microtrenching. Multiple tubes are often installed to allow for future network expansion by simpler installation of future cables without any construction, reducing costs and disruption in the area of construction..

Microcables in microducts compared to a normal cable in duct

Microcables are available for both premises and outside plant installations. Their small size allows a different installation technique where the cable is “blown” into micro ducts, plastic tubes much smaller than conventional fiber innerducts or conduits. The cable is not really blown into the duct but floated on air to reduce friction then pushed into the duct.

Blowing cable

Careful design, construction and installation can make microcables almost invisible, as in this installation along the seam between a curb and the roadway paving.

Microducts can also be installed by directional boring, often along with conventional ducts, as shown here. There is a bundle of 6 microducts installed along with 3 conventional 1.25 inch fiber ducts.

After installation, microcables can be prepared and spliced using conventional techniques.

MicroTechnology Advantages:


EFFICIENCY – By reducing wasted conduit space, Micro Technology allows maximum utilization of all current and future telecommunications infrastructure. Only installing the number of fibers you need today.

VERSATILITY – Fiber technology is constantly changing; therefore, by only installing the fibers you need today, you have the opportunity to utilize the latest in fiber technology as it becomes available.

NETWORK EXPANSION – By placing several MicroDucts into the larger empty ducts , the concerns of future expansion are solved. Future build-outs will not interrupt existing services.

UTILIZATION OF CAPITAL – By using lower fiber count cables, the up front cost is dramatically less. You would only install the MicroCable as needed to satisfy the client’s present requirements for capacity. In this way you are keeping your investment very closely tied to your present cash flow.

MAINTENANCE – The added protection and separation of the MicroCables in the MicroDucts makes rerouting and reconfiguration of systems much safer.

Traditional instalation
EFFICIENCY – The existing duct structure is becoming full, you must install the largest possible fiber cable in a route for the future – wasted assets.

VERSATILITY – Once you have placed a traditional fiber cable in a duct, there is very little if any opportunity to ever expand the use of that duct again as there is generally live traffic on the fiber cable etc.

NETWORK EXPANSION – You must install the largest possible fiber cable in a route for the future even though there is no clear need for it at this very moment. Future build-outs can interrupt existing services.

EXCESSIVE INITIAL INVESTMENT – As you install the bigger fiber cable as currently needed you can economically justify. There will be fibers which will not be used for many years. There is high number of fibers with no business.

DIFFICULT FIBER RE-CONFIGURATION and additional fiber derivation. Increase of splicing points along the optical link.

MicroDucts (MD) – are small ducts which are blown into existing HDPE ducts. The MicroDucts vary in size with respect to required fiber count and available space within the duct itself. The available microducts OD/ID size ranging 12/10 mm, 10/8 mm, 7/5,5 mm, 5/3,5 mm. MicroDuct of 10/8mm is suitable to house up to 72 fibers.
MicroCables – the full range of MicroCables is available in fiber counts from 2 to 72 fibers. The fibers themselves are the same as are available in a standard fiber cable: multimode or singelmode. The cable can be manufactured (OFS, Draka, Alcatel, Corning,… ) either with all one type of fibre or a combination of both types. The outer diameter varies from 3 to 6,5 mm. The installation of MicroCables take place with a specially designed MiniJet. Installation distancies can achieve 500-1000 m according to route trajectory.
The recommended bundle of MD which can be blown into HDPE 40/33 mm:
4x MD 12/10
5x MD 10/8
10x MD 7/5,5
3x MD 10/8 + 4x MD 7/5,5
existing OC + up to 3 MD 10/8

Full range of accessories is also available: couplers, end-cups, water blocks, T-couplers etc. In cooperation with a customer we can identify the most suitable individual solution to meet your total satisfaction.

MD Coupling

An elaboration of the optimal solution to minimalize cost
MicroDucts, MicroCables and accessories supply
Blowing of MicroDucts and MicroCables
Termination of MicroCables, indoor installation
Testing and Values Analysis
Guarantee and after-guarantee service

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