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fiber optic cable,
Fiber Optic Cabling
Fiber Optic Cable Types and Modes Introduction This section describes the sizes of approved fiber optic cables and their modal qualities. Optical Fiber Types There are two types of fiber optic (FO) cable used in data communications. These are multi mode (MM) and single mode (SM). These terms refer to how the light travels down the cable. MM uses a multiple paths, or modes, while SM uses a single mode. Due to the construction of the components, including the light sources themselves, SM has greater bandwidth and can be used for longer distances than MM FO. As the cost of the associated electronics drops, SM is becoming more the FO cable of choice for high performance networks. MM comes in 2 diameters which are 62.5 and 50 µm. This refers to the “core” diameter, or the center of the optical strand. This number is followed by a / and another number, written as 62.5/125. This indicates a fiber with a core diameter of 62.5 µm and a “cladding” or outer coating diameter of 125 µm. The cladding is what actually keeps the light in the core of the fiber. SM fiber is typically 8.3/125 µm. The 50 µm MM was intended to increase the bandwidth of MM while still allowing the use of MM electronics. As the cost of all facets of SM installation has fallen, SM fiber should be the fiber of choice for new installations. If there is legacy equipment that requires MM FO, a hybrid cable that contains both SM and MM FO should be considered. FO Cable Jacketing Just as there are different types of ScTP copper cable, there are different types of FO cable construction and jacketing materials. In a broad sense, there are three categories of cable jacketing. These are: • Outside plant cable • Indoor/outdoor cable • Inside plant cable, which include plenum and riser versions Outside plant cable is intended only for use outside buildings and is not a listed assembly by the NEC for use indoors. Its jacket is usually made of polyethylene (PE) and may include metallic armoring. Per Article 770.113 an unlisted cable may penetrate a building a maximum of 50’ (15 m) before it is required to be terminated, spliced to a listed cable, or enclosed in conduit. This is the most durable of the three jacket types.
Indoor/Outdoor cabling has a type of jacket that is UL listed for indoor riser and outdoor use, but cannot be used in a plenum airspace. This type of cabling typically has a polyvinyl chloride (PVC) jacket with ultra-violet (UV) stabilizers, and will also include some type of water blocking compound to enable it to be used outside. This is considered to be a medium duty cable and meets the requirements of NEC Article 770 as long as the building environment is classified as a riser as opposed to a plenum. Inside plant cable can be a substantial assembly, but is not considered to be as rugged as a true outside plant or indoor/outdoor cable. An inside plant cable jacket is typically either PVC or Teflon, for plenum rated applications, and usually does not contain any water blocking mechanisms. All types of jacketing are usually available in different armoring configurations, depending on site environmental requirements. It is important to be mindful of grounding requirements when using armored cable.
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