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Ribbon Cable: Empowering Your Cable Build for the Future

Updated on Aug 8, 2022
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The ever-increasing demand for ubiquitous broadband connectivity required to support all kinds of important bandwidth-hungry applications and services put new requirements on data center cabling. Due to major advancements in ribbon cable design and reduced prices, ribbon cable has made a comeback. The last several years have seen a rise in the adoption of ribbon cable in data center cabling. This article explains the benefits of ribbon cable and how to plan for the future.

The Benefits of Ribbon Cable

While ribbon cable innovations make it possible to increase the number of fibers housed within a cable sheath, ribbon cables with lower fiber counts also prove to be valuable. Indeed, they should be considered in any data center cabling planning and deployment. Now let's look at the specific benefits that ribbon cable can offer.

ribbon cable

Efficiency and Cost Savings

Compared to loose tube fiber splicing, ribbon cable splicing is less time-consuming, about six times faster, which means a reduction of overall installation time and labor cost. For instance, it probably takes about 10 hours to splice a 144-fiber loose tube cable, and the cost per cable joint is around $3,600. By contrast, using a 144-fiber ribbon cable would reduce the splicing time to 1.5 hours and cost down to $1,440. This means an 85% reduction in time and a 60% reduction in cost. In addition, many data center owners and managers find it hard to secure skilled splicing talent, so splicing efficiency and cost savings can have a huge impact.

Better Solution to Congested Pathways

As more fibers are needed to meet the growing demand for data-hungry applications and services, ductwork and conduit space is at a premium. Using ribbon cables, data center owners and managers can make the most of existing conduits and ducts for future fiber expansion. The small footprint of ribbon cables offers a better solution to congested pathways and conduits.

More Closure Flexibility

Usually, network service providers have diverse closure requirements for different scenarios such as aerial, buried, and duct environments. Ribbon cables are versatile and can use the same closures as loose tube cables with the help of a ribbon splice tray. Splicing loose tube cables with ribbon cables contributes to flexibility during deployment.

Reduction of Splicing Error Rates

Fiber splicing is not only tedious work but also prone to errors. Since ribbon cables require fewer fiber fuses, error rates are reduced compared to loose tube cables. For example, a 144-fiber ribbon cable only needs 12 fiber fuses, greatly lowering the possibility of an error. The reduction of splicing error rates also translates into more time efficiency.

Quicker Time to Restoration

Failures caused by fiber cut disruption can be catastrophic, especially for businesses that provide 24/7 services. Thus, fiber cut disruption must be mitigated. With ribbon fiber, data center owners and managers are able to store services significantly faster to bring down revenue loss. This translates into improved customer experience and more satisfied customers.

Quicker Time to Market

In this internet world competing for data and traffic, time is especially precious. All data centers and service providers look forward to deploying networks as quickly as possible to boost revenue growth and meet competitive challenges. Using ribbon cables over loose tube cables has proved a great time-saving boon for service providers. The time savings translates to quicker time to market, helping enterprises and service providers better achieve their business goals.

Plan for the Future

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the demand for increased bandwidth and higher data transfer rates. This trend will then accelerate the need for more fiber. Research has shown the trend that legacy technologies like DSL will be obsolete and replaced by FTTP.

To keep up with the ever-increasing demand, enterprises and service providers will have to build fiber networks quickly. It’s also smart to build those networks with more than enough fiber and the added capacity needed to address future demand.

In summary, adding ribbon cable into your data center cabling strategy allows enterprises and data center owners to meet competitive challenges and to better cash in on current and future market factors.

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