Fiber Optic Cable Damage: Why It Happens & What To Do About It

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Fiber Optic Cable Damage: Why It Happens & What To Do About It

Are you worried about fiber optic cable damage? You should be.

Because while they’re perceived as the best and safer option in their product line, fiber optic cables still are fragile and can cause data outages when installed or treated incorrectly. 

Even worse, fiber optic repairs take weeks and require specialist equipment and skills.

So, let’s see what are the reason why fiber optic cables break and what you can do about it.

Why Fiber Optic Cabling Breaks?

Optical fiber can break for a couple of reasons. Accidental breaks (especially cable damage surrounding new construction areas) are the most common and just as damaging as the other reasons we’ll mention below.

Newer companies have tried to solve it, avoiding this kind of incident by placing the cables inside conduits like gas pipelines, but besides pre-installation bad treatment, nothing harms fiber optic cabling as the force of nature. 

Earthquakes, hurricanes, and tornados, among other natural disasters, can cut or destroy entire fiber optic cabling if it doesn’t just cripple connectivity. 

And despite what people think, rain, cold and extreme heat can affect traditional electrical signals but do not have any effect on fiber optics.

Can Fiber-Optic Cable Be Repaired?

Yes, it can be repaired, when it is in the hands of a skilled team of specialists who carry fiber-splicing and terminating equipment and of course, know how to use it.

In the case it’s not cut, the damaged section is removed. Then, the remaining fiber sections are spliced with caution. These are the two most frequent methods used to splice optical fiber cables:

  1. Fusion Splicing: The fiber cores are aligned. It requires an expensive set of tools and extensive training. It also results in higher-loss splices.  
  2. Plastic Splicing: On the other hand, its larger diameter core allows a higher misalignment tolerance, being easier and more reliable to execute.  

How Much Does It Cost to Fix Fiber Optic Cable?

Fiber cuts are costing big money companies (especially telecom).

According to the NTDPC, $75,000 per mile is how much fiber optic cable costs to bury in rural areas (on average). Fixing fiber optic cables of that longitude can cost as much. So far, $92,000 was the biggest reported amount spent by one telecom company on repairs of this kind. In that year alone, telecom companies paid an estimated $600 million in repair costs.

But the real financial weight comes from indirect costs (like business closures), representing an estimated loss of $18 billion that year, as well. That’s a 100x increment of an already painful sum.

The hard-earned lesson? Minor incidents with a relatively minor fallout can, unfortunately, lead to much bigger problems, due to how much it affects end-users. In the worst-case scenario, your business has impacts on public health and emergency services (police departments, fire stations, and EMTs) who force or even stop completely their operations.

But even if that’s not the case, the snowballing of minor fiber optic cable damage to the major issue could come from customers’ canceled services for failing to provide constant and reliable support.

What can you do about it?

To ask us questions you and/or your team have, make sure your current structured cabling is in good health. Or, let the experts handle it in the case of a first installation.

Need Help with IT?

At LayerLogix, we pride ourselves on offering pain-free IT Support and Services. From Networking to Cyber Security, we have solutions to support your business. 

Let us manage and maintain your IT, so you can focus on your core business. For a consultation, call us today at (713) 571-2390.