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All Blog Articles / Cabling / Aerial Fiber Optic Cable Installation Guide

Aerial Fiber Optic Cable Installation Guide

Posted on by FS.COM

As one of the common outdoor fiber optic cables, aerial fiber optic cable is suspended from poles, pylons or mounted on buildings. When it comes to aerial fiber optic cable installation or deployment, here are two choices for the aerial cables: loose tube cable and ADSS (all-dielectric self-supporting) cable. Loose tube cables are often designed for underground use or aerial use when lashed to a messenger. ADSS fiber optic cables are mostly designed for aerial use. However, no matter what type of aerial fiber cable use, the cable installation procedures are similar. A brief introduction to aerial fiber optic cable installation will be explored in the following part. You can get more details about aerial fiber cables here: Aerial Fiber Optic Cables Tutorial

aerial fiber optic cable

Planning and Preparation

Aerial fiber optic cable installation is a complicated and time-consuming work. Before starting aerial fiber optic cable installation, some preparation work must be done to ensure the whole installation procedures go on wheels.

aerial fiber optic cable

—Doing a Pre-survey

The purpose of this survey is to plan the cable route which will determine the aerial cable installation method to be used, as well as the equipment and material requirements. Or if any work should be required along the proposed route before cable deployment begins.

—Installation Issues

Investigating the characteristics of the ground along the route to eliminate unnecessary problems. Before aerial cable deployment, clearance problems over roadways, driveways, etc. should be taken into consideration. Trees or other obstructions, which could hinder the placing operation, should be noted.

—Splice Locations

In the survey, choosing the splice locations, and make plans for splice closures and cable slack storage. The selection of splice locations in the survey allows verification of the transmission design and make preparation for cable order lengths. Besides, these locations should not lie in sites where access is inconvenient or hazardous.

—Materials Required

There are lots of unexpected factors occurring during the aerial fiber optic cable installation. Cable quantity and other materials must be ordered. Special requirements for sequencing the cable shipments must be specified in the cable order.

Installation Tools

Outdoor fiber optic cable plant is harder than indoor optical cable installation. When deploying aerial fiber optic cable outside, some tools are essential. Here are some common tools for aerial fiber cable installation.

Tools Function
Aerial lift truck In some lashing operations, workers will be sent to the work station and restored to travel position using the aerial lift truck.
Reel carrier/ cable trailer Transport and pay out of the cable
Pulling eye/grip Offer a connection point between the cable and the pulling line. The pulling eye can be pre-installed by the cable manufacturer.
Cable blocks/snatch blocks These tools will be required for placing cable when the moving reel method is not practical.
Slack cable storage brackets Ensure a proper bending radius for the stored fiber optic cable and provides for horizontal storage and tiering for storage of multiple cables and loops.

Aerial Fiber Optic Cable Installation Procedures

Here are two common methods for aerial fiber optic cable installation: moving reel method and stationary reel method. Here are the simple steps for these two installation methods.

aerial fiber optic cable

Deploying aerial fiber optic cable with moving reel method

 Removing enough aerial fiber optic cable from the reel to reach the strand level to a splicing below plus 16 feet or so of extra slack. Then begin to lash the aerial cables.
 Lift the cable guide and lasher to the strand. In this process, a lift or a hand line maybe required to raise the aerial fiber optic cable up to the strand and pass it through the corresponding cable guide.
 Connect the separate pulling lines with the lasher and the cable guide. Then start moving the reel. Before that, secure the aerial cables at the pole to prevent any movement along the strand.
 The cable reel must allow smooth cable pay-out to allow the aerial fiber optic cable to smoothly enter the cable guide at stand level. Hand pull cable from the reel to ensure a tension-free feed into the cable guide preceding the lasher.
 The reel-carrying vehicle should maintain an approximate 50-foot lead distance ahead of the lasher, and drive as close to the pole line as possible.
 When reaching a pole, clamp the lashing wire to the strand. Transfer the lasher and guide to the other side of the pole. And continue to install another aerial fiber cables.

Deploying aerial fiber optic cable with stationary reel method

This method is a little different from moving reel method. Before guiding the aerial fiber optic cable, the cable should be placed under the strand and lashed to the strand.

 Install a cable guide to guide the cable from the reel to its position beneath the strand.
 Attach a pulling eye or pulling grip to the aerial fiber optic cable, this in turn must be attached to a pulling swivel and the pulling swivel attached to a pulling rope.
 Suspend cable blocks beneath the strand to receive the pulling rope and to act as temporary supports for the cable as it is pulled in. Be careful to choose a suitable cable block for this step.
 Keep the cable blocks be placed on the strand facing the same direction with their locking levelers set to release as the lasher strikes them. Remember the cable blocks should be placed at a maximum distance of 50 feet apart on the strand.
 Attach the pulling rope to the pulling swivel that has been connected to the pulling eye or pulling grip on the cable. Then begin to uprolling the cable and finish aerial fiber cable installation.

Note: fiber optic cable needs to be treated carefully, improper action may damage them easily; make sure there are enough cable blocks to use because insufficient can result in excess sagging of the fiber optic cable, more difficult pulls, and greatly increased chances of damage to the cable.

Post-Construction Inspection

Work doesn’t be finished completely after aerial fiber optic cable installation. Post-construction inspection is also important for a successful cable deployment. Here are some common items during in the post-construction.

a.Before splicing, inspect the aerial cable plant thoroughly. Pay attention to the exact location of all splice points so that they can be incorporated into the final design. Then make notes about the clean-up work.

b.Presence of kinked or damaged cable.

c. Improperly installed or missing drip loops.

d. Improperly installed or missing grounds.


Compared with buried cable or fiber in-duct solution, aerial fiber optic cable solution is typically faster and less expensive to deploy than digging, particularly for backbone fiber. But installing aerial fiber optic cable is also a risky job. Thus, it is necessary to have the knowledge of aerial fiber optic cable installation.

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