Fiber-Optic Cable – Fire Ratings

Safety Regulations & Vital Information

In regard to fiber optic cable in general, there are numerous variations. From armored to aerial, broadcast to breakout, each type of fiber-optic cable is manufactured to function in particular areas and under projected environmental conditions. When employing a more standard fiber cable type, such as indoor distribution fiber cable, one must especially consider the area.

Because the fiber may be installed within the backbone of a structure, the fiber cable could also be fed through air ducts. In case of a fire, the damaged fiber material could result in a highly negative outcome. Though this is a particular instance, the matter of fire ratings is crucial upon installation in order to abide by safety stipulations put into place and the general safety of all those occupying the building.

Outlining and understanding the proper protocol when it comes to fire ratings, which are specified to maintain the productivity and effectiveness of fiber-optic cable, will further enhance any and all fiber-optic networks.

How to Determine Fire Rating

The material that constructs the jacket will inherently function as a protective layer; the level of protection is determined through the specific material employed. There are four types of jacket material available: Polyethylene (PE), Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), Polyvinyl Difluoride (PVDF), and Low Smoke Zero Halogen (LS).

PE is ideal for outdoor applications because PE jacket material is resistant to abrasions as well as harsh weather, temperature, and moisture conditions.

PVC can be used for both indoor and outdoor applications because PVC jacket material is resistant to more minimal abrasions along with heat and flames.

PVDF is suitable for indoor applications because PVDF jacket material generates little smoke.

LSZH is the best option for indoor applications because LSZH jacket material is devoid of all highly toxic properties that could contaminate the air if the cable were to catch fire.

Next up…

The National Electrical Code (NEC) has established eight levels of fire resistance: OFNP, OFCP, OFNR, OFCR, OFNG, OFCG, OFN, and OFC. The levels of fire resistance are prevalent to the three main installation categories of plenum, riser, and general-purpose.

Optical Fiber Non-conductive Plenum cable (OFNP) and Optical Fiber Conductive Plenum cable (OFCP) pertain to plenum. Spaces where air flows and/or is distributed are considered to be plenum areas.

Optical Fiber Nonconductive Rise cable (OFNR) and Optical Fiber Conductive Rise cable (OFCR) correspond with riser. A vertical shaft or duct that expands over multiple floors is deemed a riser area.

Optical Fiber Nonconductive General-Purpose cable (OFNG), Optical Fiber Conductive General-Purpose cable (OFCG), Optical Fiber Nonconductive cable (OFN), and Optical Fiber Conductive cable (OFC) are associated with general purpose. The encompassing areas that are not considered to be plenum or riser are regarded as general purpose areas.

|| Through the explicit labels and codes, the most important aspect to recognize is that plenum and riser rated cables are going to be the ideal option when it comes to backbone applications.

Fire ratings NEC

In summary

Fiber Savvy offers an array of products up to NEC code in order to ensure the optimization and longevity of network applications. Being aware of codes and innovative materials that innately construct the fiber cable, founds the basis of an efficient system built to last and to remain sound under duress.

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