Breakout fiber cable also called fanout cable, is an optical fiber cable containing several jacketed simplex optical fibers packaged together inside an outer jacket. They can be easily divided into individual fiber lines as each fiber is individually reinforced. This differs from distribution style cable, in which tight-buffered fibers are bundled together, with only the outer jacket of the cable protecting them. The design of breakout-style cable adds strength for ruggedized drops, however the cable is larger and more expensive than distribution-style cable. Breakout cable is suitable for short riser and plenum applications and also for use in conduits, where a very simple cable run is planned to avoid the use of any splice box or spliced fiber pigtails.
Because each fiber is individually reinforced, the breakout cable can be easily divided into individual fiber lines. Each simplex cable within the outer jacket may be broken out and then continue as a patch cable, for example in a fiber to the desk application in an office building. This enables connector termination without requiring special junctions, and can reduce or eliminate the need for fiberoptic patch panels or an optical distribution frame. Breakout cable requires terminations to be done with simple connectors, which may be preferred for some situations. A more common solution today is the use of a fanout kit that adds a jacket to the very fine strands of other cable types.
Breakout cables normally contain a ripcord, two non-conductive dielectric strengthening members (normally a glass rod epoxy), an aramid yarn, and 3 mm buffer tubing with an additional layer of Kevlar surrounding each fiber. The ripcord is a parallel cord of strong yarn that is situated under the jacket(s) of the cable for jacket removal.
A breakout fiber optic cable offers a rugged cable design for shorter network designs. This may include LANs, data communications, video systems, and process control environments.
A tight buffer design is used along with individual strength members for each fiber. This permits direct fiber optic cable termination without using breakout kits or splice panels. Due to the increased strength of Kevlar members, breakout fiber optic cables are heavier and larger than the telecom types with equal fiber counts.
The term breakout defines the key purpose of fiber optic breakout cable. That is, one can “break out” several fibers at any location, routing other fibers elsewhere. For this reason breakout cables are, or should be, coded for ease of identification.
Because fiber optic breakout cable is found in many building environments where codes may require plenum cables, most breakout cables meet the NEC’s requirements. The cable is available in a variety of designs that will accommodate the topology requirements found in rugged environments. Fiber counts from simplex to 256 are available.
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