5 Cable Killers That Destroy Buried Fiber Cable

5 Cable Killers That Destroy Buried Fiber Cable

In the telecommunications industry, we focus a lot on how to build our fiber optic outside plant (OSP) quickly and efficiently while providing a highly functional network. What happens to that buried fiber after the heavy equipment and construction crew leave? Here Norscan’s own cable locating and monitoring expert Maurice Dequier will take a look at the elements that can destroy buried fiber optic cable and interrupt network traffic, triggering significant repair costs and lost revenue. In no particular order:

  1. Water


    We learned early on that water is very detrimental to fiber optic strands. Modern-day fibers benefit from advanced coatings that protect them from water, except in the splice enclosures where the tips of the fiber strands are stripped of their coatings so the splices can be fused without contaminants. Today, most water damage happens in splice enclosures that have failed to keep water away from the fiber.

  2. Rodents


    Since they have a life-long drive to gnaw, rodents are often responsible for extensive damage to fiber optic cable. Even metal armored cable can get cut in two by these furry critters!

  3. Lightning or Incidental Voltage


    When lightning strikes the ground, it will search for the best conductor available, even if it’s underground. If that happens to be the armor or trace-wire of your fiber cable, then damage to the cable sheath and even the fiber itself is very likely.

  4. Construction


    Likely the biggest cause of damage to buried cable, construction comes in many forms. Backhoes, post-hole augers and even hand shovels can all bring network traffic to a halt by severing your fiber optic cable.

  5. Ice crush


    In colder climates, water that enters a splice enclosure can freeze, crushing the fiber strands and leaving you with a costly network outage. When ice crush occurs, an emergency network repair is needed to avoid additional damage and downtime. Given the harsh conditions, however, access to the splice enclosure is often very hard to reach. In such scenarios, it is not uncommon to find the handhole buried under a snowbank, with the lid frozen shut, and full of water that has completely frozen solid.


Gain Insight on Your Cable

Regardless of which cable killer it is that strikes your network, without a Cable Monitoring system in place you’re left not knowing about it until signal loss has occurred, or worse, your network is down. Norscan provides Cable Monitoring solutions that detects these cable killers early, so you can address them before they turn into a major cost or system outage. Contact us to learn more!