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Seeking advice on Direct-Bury Multimode Fiber installation

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[OP]
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Dec 29, 2007
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Hamilton

Seeking advice on Direct-Bury Multimode Fiber installation

Hi all,

I live south of Hamilton and I have a outbuilding about 250m from my house that I would like to extend my network to. I assume at this distance I'm talking about fiber.

Based on the research I've done today I'm looking at either 50/125 or 62.5/125 direct bury cable. I'd like speeds of 1 GB/s, but could start at 100mbit and upgrade later if cost dictates. Cost of course is always a concern. I plan to install the cable myself and hire someone to terminate (unless I can do that myself?)

Some questions:
1) Anyone know of a GTHA retail supplier, or a canadian website, for bulk fiber direct-bury cable?
2) Any recommendations for a good value fiber/copper converter. I guess the other option would be a couple switches with SFP (mini-GBIC) with a couple transceivers.
3) Any recommendations for someone local who can terminate the cables? (or can I do that myself?)

Appreciate any input. Thanks
22 replies
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anixter might sell it
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Fibre Media Converters are not very expensive, around $125 each, I think they're pretty much commoditized.

If you're willing to sacrifice speed for simplicity, you may want to consider setting up a wireless link using Ubiqiti equipment. Their AirMax Rocket M can hit ~100mb/s; but their high end AirFiber equipment can go past gigabit.
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curious why you went with multi-mode, it seems single mode is better in every way
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coolspot wrote: Fibre Media Converters are not very expensive, around $125 each, I think they're pretty much commoditized.

If you're willing to sacrifice speed for simplicity, you may want to consider setting up a wireless link using Ubiqiti equipment. Their AirMax transceivers can hit close to gigabit.
a 3dB gain directional dish would be plenty assuming line of sight
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divx wrote: curious why you went with multi-mode, it seems single mode is better in every way
Not necessarily.

Single mode electronics are more expensive than multi-mode - it used to be quite significant, a factor of about 3x several years ago, but is less now.

Even the lowest spec'd 62.5/125 multimode will support Gigabit to 300 meters - between repeaters/switches. Ensure your fiber to copper converters are actually a mini-switch and you'll be fine.

Getting a connector onto the fiber optic strand may be problematic as even with the simplest mechanical splice connector you require a good quality cleaver to prep the end of the cable strand so that it butts up flush without a gap to the strand in the back of the connector. This is almost always assisted with the use of an index matching gel inside the cavity of the connector. 62.5/125 is less sensitive to an imperfect cleave than 50/125 and much less sensitive than 9/125 singlemode.

The easiest/simplest connector type to terminate for a novice uses a mechanical splice mating interface at the back end of the connector where it mates to the cable. The other end (the ferrule) that inserts into the fiber-to-copper converter will have a pre-polished face. These connectors are OK for cable ends that will be in an area with little variation in temperatures daily and seasonally i.e. indoors in a heated building. There are versions for both 50/125 and 62.5/125 multimode and 9/125 singlemode and also with numerous options for boots sized to the O.D. of the jacketing/buffer on the strand.

If you have temperature cycling and/or vibration in your out building I suggest having a pro install anaerobic type (glue type) or fusion spliced connectors for long term reliability.

Most single mode installations for industrial, mining, hospital, university, military, and banking clients have the cable fusion spliced to pre-made pigtail assemblies with connectors that often have an angle polish on the them to prevent back reflections. This is a much more expensive method than the simple mechanical connector discussed above.

I recommend you get a pro to terminate the ends and test it to ensure it is within spec.


Get an indoor/outdoor type tight buffer cable (900 micron strands with a secondary buffer) as the strands in these cable don't require an extra protective "break-out" kit to protect the strands where the connector crimps to the buffer on the strand. Loose-tube type fiber optic cables require these breakout kits to protect their very thin and fragile 250 micron strands. However, I know several contractors who sometimes don't use these kits when terminating the strands where they are trying to save costs on the install and are not concerned with what may happen the next time someone pokes at the end of the strand or tries to unplug and replug the connectors into the converter (as when the converter has failed and you need to replace it).

Both OCC Optical Cable Corporation and General Cable offer an indoor/outdoor tight buffered cable with an operating temperature range of -40C to +85C in Canada through distributors. Cold temperature causes increased attenuation in the glass but this primarily is an issue over long distances or where the cable goes through tight bends or has connectors poorly terminated.


Most direct buried outdoor cable uses a corrugated steel tape (CST) jacket over the inner cable core. The steel tape discourages rodent chews from ground squirrels, ground hogs, and moles. The cable is usually placed in a trench dug deep enough to be below the winter frost line so in some areas this can be 6+ feet deep. The bottom of the trench will have fines (sand or screened soil) placed in it, cable laid down, more fines on top of the cable, and then back filled with what was excavated.

You can use a less expensive cable without a metal armour if you have the cable run through a conduit - either metal or plastic . I've also seen home installations use garden hose for conduit in short lengths.


Download and read installation guides for fiber optic cable - you cannot handle it in the same manner as an electrical cable. If you pull through a loop you risk breaking the glass strands. Extract the inner yellow yarn strength member and pull on it and the outer jacket in sync or you risk breaking the glass strands.

.
[OP]
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Dec 29, 2007
114 posts
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Hamilton
Thanks guys for the great responses. I don't know why I didn't think of a unidirectional antenna solution - that may end up being the way I go.

NewsyL - wow - there's so much I didn't know I didn't know about fiber optics. Thank you so much! From what I can see it would a couple thousand to install the fiber solution.

Divx, would it be too much trouble to show me a link for a 3dB gain directional antenna? I'm also curious as to how I would hook the antenna up to the networks at either side - seems like I'd need a couple of routers in bridge mode that has a compatible connector for the antenna. What frequency should I look for to get to close to 1Gbs? Could you recommend a wireless bridge? Would it be something like this: http://www.ncix.com/detail/d-link-dap-1 ... 106292.htm and I just remove the two short antennas and hook up the direction antenna?
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NewsyL wrote: Not necessarily.

Single mode electronics are more expensive than multi-mode - it used to be quite significant, a factor of about 3x several years ago, but is less now.

Even the lowest spec'd 62.5/125 multimode will support Gigabit to 300 meters - between repeaters/switches. Ensure your fiber to copper converters are actually a mini-switch and you'll be fine.

Getting a connector onto the fiber optic strand may be problematic as even with the simplest mechanical splice connector you require a good quality cleaver to prep the end of the cable strand so that it butts up flush without a gap to the strand in the back of the connector. This is almost always assisted with the use of an index matching gel inside the cavity of the connector. 62.5/125 is less sensitive to an imperfect cleave than 50/125 and much less sensitive than 9/125 singlemode.

The easiest/simplest connector type to terminate for a novice uses a mechanical splice mating interface at the back end of the connector where it mates to the cable. The other end (the ferrule) that inserts into the fiber-to-copper converter will have a pre-polished face. These connectors are OK for cable ends that will be in an area with little variation in temperatures daily and seasonally i.e. indoors in a heated building. There are versions for both 50/125 and 62.5/125 multimode and 9/125 singlemode and also with numerous options for boots sized to the O.D. of the jacketing/buffer on the strand.

If you have temperature cycling and/or vibration in your out building I suggest having a pro install anaerobic type (glue type) or fusion spliced connectors for long term reliability.

Most single mode installations for industrial, mining, hospital, university, military, and banking clients have the cable fusion spliced to pre-made pigtail assemblies with connectors that often have an angle polish on the them to prevent back reflections. This is a much more expensive method than the simple mechanical connector discussed above.

I recommend you get a pro to terminate the ends and test it to ensure it is within spec.


Get an indoor/outdoor type tight buffer cable (900 micron strands with a secondary buffer) as the strands in these cable don't require an extra protective "break-out" kit to protect the strands where the connector crimps to the buffer on the strand. Loose-tube type fiber optic cables require these breakout kits to protect their very thin and fragile 250 micron strands. However, I know several contractors who sometimes don't use these kits when terminating the strands where they are trying to save costs on the install and are not concerned with what may happen the next time someone pokes at the end of the strand or tries to unplug and replug the connectors into the converter (as when the converter has failed and you need to replace it).

Both OCC Optical Cable Corporation and General Cable offer an indoor/outdoor tight buffered cable with an operating temperature range of -40C to +85C in Canada through distributors. Cold temperature causes increased attenuation in the glass but this primarily is an issue over long distances or where the cable goes through tight bends or has connectors poorly terminated.


Most direct buried outdoor cable uses a corrugated steel tape (CST) jacket over the inner cable core. The steel tape discourages rodent chews from ground squirrels, ground hogs, and moles. The cable is usually placed in a trench dug deep enough to be below the winter frost line so in some areas this can be 6+ feet deep. The bottom of the trench will have fines (sand or screened soil) placed in it, cable laid down, more fines on top of the cable, and then back filled with what was excavated.

You can use a less expensive cable without a metal armour if you have the cable run through a conduit - either metal or plastic . I've also seen home installations use garden hose for conduit in short lengths.


Download and read installation guides for fiber optic cable - you cannot handle it in the same manner as an electrical cable. If you pull through a loop you risk breaking the glass strands. Extract the inner yellow yarn strength member and pull on it and the outer jacket in sync or you risk breaking the glass strands.

.
say i want to connect my net to my neighbour using fiber, do you have links to consumer grade switches to make that happen? I assume there would be an ethernet to fiber switch at the source and at the destination, connected using multimode fiber, does newegg carry the switch and cable?
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divx wrote: say i want to connect my net to my neighbour using fiber, do you have links to consumer grade switches to make that happen? I assume there would be an ethernet to fiber switch at the source and at the destination, connected using multimode fiber, does newegg carry the switch and cable?
How close is your neighbor?

I think two of the TRENDnet TFC-1000MSC MM F/O to Gigabit copper converters would work. Their spec says Gigabit up to 220 meters over 62.5/125 glass but that is probably based on the legacy 160/500 MHz-km LED bandwidth specification and almost all cables with 62.5/125 glass shipping today from North American plants are using the upgraded 200/500 MHz-km LED bandwidth spec which should get you to 300 meters.

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.as ... 5TY22M4801

http://www.trendnet.com/support/support ... FC-1000MSC

.
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^thanks for the info, although i expect multimode to carry at least 10gb, this thing is only rated for puny 1gb
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[OP]
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Dec 29, 2007
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Hamilton
NewsyL wrote: How close is your neighbor?

I think two of the TRENDnet TFC-1000MSC MM F/O to Gigabit copper converters would work. Their spec says Gigabit up to 220 meters over 62.5/125 glass but that is probably based on the legacy 160/500 MHz-km LED bandwidth specification and almost all cables with 62.5/125 glass shipping today from North American plants are using the upgraded 200/500 MHz-km LED bandwidth spec which should get you to 300 meters.

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.as ... 5TY22M4801

http://www.trendnet.com/support/support ... FC-1000MSC

.
Yeah the "trick" seems to be getting the fiber installed and terminated for a reasonable price - I can't find 250m of fiber at a retail outlet and have had to go to distributors.
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divx wrote: ^thanks for the info, although i expect multimode to carry at least 10gb, this thing is only rated for puny 1gb
62.5/125 multimode glass will support 10G for a short distance but there is likely very little in the way of real world electronics to propagate a 10G transmission into the 62.5/125 glass. 50/125 multimode glass with the OM3 bandwidth specification (2000/500 MHz-km) will support 10G Ethernet to 300 meters; switches or bridging media converter type devices with GBIC's supporting the 50/125 core are very common.
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wlemst88 wrote: Yeah the "trick" seems to be getting the fiber installed and terminated for a reasonable price - I can't find 250m of fiber at a retail outlet and have had to go to distributors.
Fiber isn't used in a residential setting much, and even in a corporate environment only in selective places.
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NewsyL wrote: 62.5/125 multimode glass will support 10G for a short distance but there is likely very little in the way of real world electronics to propagate a 10G transmission into the 62.5/125 glass. 50/125 multimode glass with the OM3 bandwidth specification (2000/500 MHz-km) will support 10G Ethernet to 300 meters; switches or bridging media converter type devices with GBIC's supporting the 50/125 core are very common.
would you say 62.5/125 is more common? 50/125 would be more expensive right?
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coolspot wrote: Fiber isn't used in a residential setting much, and even in a corporate environment only in selective places.
copper is capped at 100m though...
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divx wrote: copper is capped at 100m though...
Yes, which is plenty long for most installations (especially in an enterprise environment where there are switches in between). Fiber is only used in selective places like the data center where 10G bandwidth is necessary, otherwise the majority is still copper.
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divx wrote: would you say 62.5/125 is more common? 50/125 would be more expensive right?
I see the current demand to be about one third 62.5/125, one third 50/125, and one third 9/125 singlemode and I'm dealing with everyone except the big telco's who primarily use singlemode - heavy industry, oil & gas, mines, universities, hospitals, and the military. There is a absolutely huge install base of 62.5/125 that is still being added to with expansions.

50/125 OM3 is about 25% more expensive than 62.5/125 and 9/125 singlemode is about half of the 50/125 OM3. These ratios are what I see on bulk volume orders to industrial distributors.

As mentioned in another post, fiber optics are not commonly supplied via retail for residential use. You have to go to a distributor servicing the telecom, cable TV, and structured cabling markets to find long lengths and they will likely want payment in advance before they cut the cable to length off their master reel. Most of these distributors will carry the cable in 6, 12, and 24 strands in a variety of jacket types. You might find a 4 strand locally but seldom a 2 strand in a heavy duty jacket. You will find 2 stands in a lampcord/zipcord type jacket commonly used to make up patch cord assemblies. 2 strands is not practical for commercial installations. You usually need 2 strands (for RX and TX) minimum for Ethernet application and most contractors will install a 4 strand in case a strand somehow gets broken or does not test well during install. With 4 strands you have 2 backup strands.

In addition to high bandwidth applications, fiber optics is used where long distances have to be traversed, where electrical noise is disrupting copper cable communications, where immunity from induced currents is desired (think lightning strikes or hydro electric yards), or where RF leakage absolutely cannot be tolerated (military field ops).

Btw... you can order an fiber optic assembly, terminated with the connector(s) of your choice, and with a pulling eye installed on one or both ends of the cable assembly using the cable type ideal for the application. Usually this takes 4 weeks after receipt of order for it to be delivered to you.

.
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coolspot wrote: Yes, which is plenty long for most installations (especially in an enterprise environment where there are switches in between). Fiber is only used in selective places like the data center where 10G bandwidth is necessary, otherwise the majority is still copper.
Data centers need it for ground isolation.

How about coax? How far can that go?
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CameraBill wrote: Data centers need it for ground isolation.

How about coax? How far can that go?
Traditional 10BASE2 died 25+ years ago... but StarTech and others carry a Ethernet Over RJ5 Coax Extender - supports Gigabit Ethernet, but the true link speed is only 144MBPS; also speed drops off quickly as the distance increases.
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NewsyL wrote: I see the current demand to be about one third 62.5/125, one third 50/125, and one third 9/125 singlemode and I'm dealing with everyone except the big telco's who primarily use singlemode - heavy industry, oil & gas, mines, universities, hospitals, and the military. There is a absolutely huge install base of 62.5/125 that is still being added to with expansions.

50/125 OM3 is about 25% more expensive than 62.5/125 and 9/125 singlemode is about half of the 50/125 OM3. These ratios are what I see on bulk volume orders to industrial distributors.

As mentioned in another post, fiber optics are not commonly supplied via retail for residential use. You have to go to a distributor servicing the telecom, cable TV, and structured cabling markets to find long lengths and they will likely want payment in advance before they cut the cable to length off their master reel. Most of these distributors will carry the cable in 6, 12, and 24 strands in a variety of jacket types. You might find a 4 strand locally but seldom a 2 strand in a heavy duty jacket. You will find 2 stands in a lampcord/zipcord type jacket commonly used to make up patch cord assemblies. 2 strands is not practical for commercial installations. You usually need 2 strands (for RX and TX) minimum for Ethernet application and most contractors will install a 4 strand in case a strand somehow gets broken or does not test well during install. With 4 strands you have 2 backup strands.

In addition to high bandwidth applications, fiber optics is used where long distances have to be traversed, where electrical noise is disrupting copper cable communications, where immunity from induced currents is desired (think lightning strikes or hydro electric yards), or where RF leakage absolutely cannot be tolerated (military field ops).

Btw... you can order an fiber optic assembly, terminated with the connector(s) of your choice, and with a pulling eye installed on one or both ends of the cable assembly using the cable type ideal for the application. Usually this takes 4 weeks after receipt of order for it to be delivered to you.

.
seems to me 62.5/125 is old tech, 50/125 OM3 rating is much superior, basically for long distance like telecom service trunc cable it should be multi-strand 9/125 then once it get to the buiding demark it should switch over to 50/125, I have done office with 62.5/125 but that was awhile ago, terminating fiber is such a pain, and that was multimode, dunno how human terminates single mode.
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