Cabling is not glamorous, but it is a necessity for virtually all communication uses of fiber optics. A cable structure protects optical fibers from mechanical damage and environmental degradation, eases handling of the small fibers, and isolates them from mechanical stresses that could occur in installation or operation. The cable makes the critical difference in determining whether optical fibers can transmit signals under the ocean or just within the confines of an environmentally controlled office building.
This chapter discusses the major types of fiber-optic cable you are likely to encounter. You will see what cables do, where and why different types are installed, what cables look like on the inside, how cables are installed, and what happens to fibers in cables.
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