How to Plan the Basic Bill of Materials for Your Network With Low Cost
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How to Plan the Basic Bill of Materials for Your Network With Low Cost

Posted on by FS.COM

When you consider the infrastructure of your network, eg. the network design and installation, there are usually many solutions that could meet your requirements. Since these solutions could satisfy the same or similar applications, it is a challenge to decide the best basic bill of materials for your network design and installation though facing the various available of them. In this case, we often spend unnecessary money in this just follow the sale man’s advises. Then, how should we generate the best basic bill of materials for network installation only with a low cost? This paper will give you some tips on it.

In the author’s opinion, if you want to be able to generate an efficient basic bill of materials for your network or project with a low cost only by yourself, you must to understand the basic optical components and the specific performance requirements before you begin to decide your bill. This is the main contents in this article.

Answer These Questions Before Running Your Network Material Bill
Before picking products for your basic bill of materials, you must have a plan. You should determine the application of your network so that you may more clear with the materials which you will require. Here are some questions that will help you better deciding each material category. It is a critical part, so you should do it carefully first.

  • What is the intended long-term use of this network?
  • Are you building a network from the ground up, or just moving, adding, or changing an existing network?
  • Are there constraints already in place that you must take into account?
  • Are you planning to utilize resources you already have (splicing machine, toolkits, etc.), or are you willing to invest in a new technology?
  • What are the budgetary restraints?
  • What is the timeline for the project?
  • Does the end user have specific requests concerning how the network is installed?
  • What bandwidth does this network need to accommodate right now? What bandwidth does this network need to accommodate in the next ten years?

Understanding The Basic Optical Components And Specific Performance Requirements

Fiber Types
The common basic fiber types include single-mode and multimode. IA-568 C.3 recognizes only dispersion un-shifted single-mode fiber, while multimode is graded by OM (optical multimode) nomenclature as defined in TIA-568 C.3 to describe its bandwidth-carrying capacity. A 62.5 μm fiber runs at OM1, standard 50 μm fiber runs at OM2, and laser-optimized 50 μm fiber runs at OM3 and OM4. The higher the OM grade, the better bandwidth performance you can expect. Both singlemode and modern multimode fiber can handle 10G speeds. The most important thing to consider is the distance requirement. Within a data center, it’s typical to use multimode which can get you 300-400 meters.

fiber types

A general rule for moves, adds and changes within existing infrastructures is to not mix new fiber types or performance grades into your “old” plant. To meet this guidance, consistency within your network is critical to long-term performance. New builds allow you to design a network from the ground up for current and future needs, making it important to consider higher-performance fibers. In both cases, system electronics (switches, media converters, etc.) may dictate optical fiber selection if they have already been purchased and should be fully understood at the inception of a project.

In addition, you should consider the network reach and cost. The decision must be made to balance performance and cost. If you have very long runs or are connecting over longer distance, single mode can get you 10km, 40km, 80km, and even farther – you just need to use the appropriate optic for the distance required, and again, the prices go up accordingly. Moreover, they are not compatible either, so you can’t mix multimode and singlemode fiber between two endpoints.

Fiber Core
fiber-optic-cableHow many fibers in a cable is the best? To determine the number of fibers you need in a cable, first consider your network topology and the applications you will need to support. Where are the pathways and spaces? What are the redundancy requirements? Along with current needs, think about what this network will need to be capable of in the future. A well designed system can last 20-25 years. Additional fibers can be easily and cost-effectively added to fiber counts and kept dark until expansion. In general, common fiber counts for cables are in multiples of 6 or 12, going up to 144 fibers (indoor cables) or 288 fibers (indoor/outdoor or outdoor cables). Rounding to common fiber counts is a wise decision. Custom cable configurations are available but often come with increased lead time and higher cost.

There are many typs of cables in the market. You should the proper types of cables depending on where the cables will be run. In general, cables are divided into three basic categories: indoor, outdoor and indoor/outdoor.


Indoor cables – Indoor cables should not be run outdoors because they do not contain UV-blocking materials that prevent the cable jacket from degrading in sunlight over time. They also lack waterblocking components. If the cable jacket is breached, it has no way of preventing water from traveling down the cable through capillary action.

Outdoor cables – Outdoor cable cannot be run more than 50 ft (about 15m ) indoors due to National Electric Code (NEC) guidelines and local building codes. These codes are in place because if an outdoor cable were to catch on fire, it would emit hazardous gases and smoke. Depending on whether your indoor/outdoor cable is riser or plenum flame rated, it can be run indoors, into a riser or plenum space, without the need to transition splice, but may not be as cost effective.

Indoor/outdoor cable – The benefits of indoor/outdoor cable are clear: Installers can run a single cable type and remove a transition point between the outside plant and the inside plant, saving customers time and money.

Consider the requirements of your network before choosing cable. If you plan to use cable indoors, you will want to use a tight-buffered cable. Tightbuffering enables direct connectorizationwith a fieldinstallable connector. If you will be running cable in shafts, you need cable that is riser rated. If you will be running cable in air handling spaces, you will need cable that is plenum rated. Plenum-rated cables can be installed in riser spaces, but riser-rated cables cannot be installed in plenum spaces. You will need to take into consideration your conductivity requirements as well. Plenum and riser cables are both available in either conductive or non-conductive forms. If you plan on using outdoor cable in your installation, keep in mind that you will have to transition to a flame-rated cable if you need bring it more than 50 ft (about 15m) indoors, as outlined in NEC guidelines. However, remember that your local codes may be more restrictive and most likely supersede NEC codes. In addition, all loose tube cable is comprised of 250 μm fibers, enabling easy fusion splicing in the field. If you are planning to field terminate loose tube cable with connectors, you will need a buffer tube fan-out kit. Buffer tube fan-out kits allow the 250 μm fiber to be slipped inside 900 μm jacketing, making the fiber more robust. Buffer tube fanout kits differ for indoor and outdoor uses, so be sure you use the one appropriate for your environment. If you prefer to eliminate the required transition from outdoor to indoor cable, indoor/outdoor cable is the most effective solution for your network, which is flame-rated and can be used in a wide range of environments. When using indoor/outdoor cable, you will need to choose one that suits both the indoor and outdoor environments it will be run through.

Armored Cable – You will need to decide whether you should use armored cable according to the cable installation location. Armored cable is ideal in spaces where cables might be exposed to harmful elements such as crushing or rodent interference, as well as providing additional security protection. If your network needs armored cables, here is a question for you to decide the armored cable type. All-dielectric armored cables do not have any metal in them. Using all-dielectric armor eliminates the need for grounding and allows for a lightweight cable. In addition, the interlocking armored cables, which contain metal and offer superior crush-resistance. You could choose the proper one according to your budget and requirements. Once you decide to run armored cable, you do not need to run a duct, so decide on your cable type before you plan further.

Termination Method
Fiber optic joints or terminations are made two ways: connectors and splicing. Connectors that mate two fibers to create a temporary joint and/or connect the fiber to a piece of network gear while splicing create a permanent joint between the two fibers. Either termination method must have three primary characteristics for good optical performance: low loss, minimal reflectance and high mechanical strength. Terminations must also be of the right style to be compatible to the equipment involved and be protected against the environment in which they are installed.

connectorConnector – For connectors, if your biggest concern is cost, epoxy and polish connectors might be a good fit because of their low initial price. But the premise is that you are prepared to replenish consumables regularly and have an experienced, well-trained team. Conversely, if your team is inexperienced or you are working in very cramped conditions, such as under a floor, in a ceiling, on a ladder, etc., this type of connectors may not be the best option for you. Why? Because you and your team must be invested more time in order to learn how to properly hand-polish connectors that meet specifications. And, what’s more, epoxy and polish connector kits require a large workspace to lay out the polishing papers, polishing pucks, epoxy, etc. necessary for termination. In contrast, if time is the main concern, no epoxy/no polish connectors are probably your best choice though the initial cost of no epoxy/no polish connectors is typically higher than that of epoxy and polish connectors, but requires almost no consumables that must be replenished and less time per connector to install. In addition, you should consider the connector types according to your requirement. Generally, pecifications, density, electronics interfaces and existing plant often drive connector choices. The most common connector types are SC, LC and ST connectors. For example, if you are going for maximum density and want to save room, an LC connector is the right choice because the LC body is half the size of standard SC connectors and they are also available in duplex form. Actually, if the density is not a concern for your system, you could choose either SC or ST connectors. SC connectors feature an easy push/pull locking mechanism and are available in simplex and duplex forms while ST connectors have a spring-loaded bayonet locking system that helps them stay in place but are only available in simplex versions.

Fusion Splicing
splicer – Fusion splicing is the process of fusing or welding two fibers together usually by an electric arc. Fusion splicing is the most widely used method of splicing as it provides for the lowest loss and least reflectance, as well as providing the strongest and most reliable joint between two fibers. The main cost of fusion splicing is that you should own a good fusion splicing machine and is familiar with the operation of skills. As fibers will be connected permanently, you may need to consider the future use of your network, such as the moving, adding and changing. Thus, fusion splicing is generally used to joint fibers in fiber trays or fiber termination box (FOT). By the way, sometimes, for cost concerns, some users may prefer to use mechanical splicer as its initial investment seems much lower than a fusion splicer. But you should know the splice component itself, which includes a precision alignment mechanism, is more expensive than the simple protection sleeve needed by a fusion splice. While for the performance, mechanical splicer generally has higher loss and greater reflectance than fusion splicer.

Cable Management
Of cause, cable management is the most important part of any installation, especially for data communication. Ease of installation, flexibility, efficiency, safety and customization are fundamental to the distribution of power, data and telecom cables. To determine what type of panels you need, take into consideration the space that will be utilized for the network. If you are installing inside of a closet or other cramped quarters and need low density, wall mountable panel is the best choice because it does not take up a lot of room. If racks are already in place, or if there is enough room to install them, rack-mount tray is the best choice because it is sturdy and easy to access. Rack mounted tray can be connector only, splice only or compatible with both connectors and splices. Fiber counts supported in rack-mount hardware range anywhere from six to 288 fibers. Keep in mind that rack-mount tray does not protect against environmental conditions.

patch panel

The Conclusion For Yourself
After understanding the basic optical components and the specific performance requirements, you may have an embryonic form of your network basic materials bill. Now, the following questions will help you to review and make a conclusion for yourself. Answer these questions, and make your bill of the materials for your network.

  • First and most importantly, what are you trying to do?
  • What is your application?
  • What type of bandwidth performance are you looking for? How long will your system be?
  • What fiber type do you need?
  • What fiber count do you need?
  • Indoor/outdoor, outdoor or indoor cable?
  • Dielectric, metal armor, nonmetal armor or no armor at all?
  • What is your preferred termination method? connector types or splicing?
  • Do you prefer rack-mounted or wall-mounted hardware?
  • Where will the hardware be installed? Does it have unique environmental requirements?


How To Save More On Your Network Materials Bill?
Fiberstore is a professional manufacturer and supplier of optical networking solutions. There are nine product line of Fiberstore which offers a perfect solution of all the optical producrs and satisfy your network installation and operation. In addition, according to your requirements, we welcome any inquiry for customized products. Fiberstore’s aim is offering the best quality products and perfect solutions, saving customers’s time and money, making customers enjoy personalization. Saving more money on your Network basic materials bill, such as cables, connectors, testers and other optical products, Fiberstore is your best choice and cooperation partner.

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