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  • Writer's pictureMaría Belén Gómez

Fiber Optic Service Life: Key Factors and Future Prospects

Long-distance fiber optic communication systems require that the transmission properties of optical fiber be consistent over time. Specifically, buried trunk cables and submarine systems place higher demands on the service life of these fibers. In general, terrestrial fiber optic cables are expected to have a safe service life of more than 20 years, while for submarine cables, the life expectancy is sought to be extended to more than 25 years, with an average of 10 years between failures.


Factors affecting the durability of optical fibers




The quality of optical fiber is essential to its longevity. Microscopic defects and erosion caused by the environment can weaken the mechanical strength of the fiber, increasing attenuation and reducing its ability to transmit data. Therefore, choosing high-quality fibers with superior properties is crucial to ensure a long service life.

The deployment environment also plays a vital role in fiber lifetime. Weather conditions, temperature and humidity can affect fiber integrity. For example, in cold areas, fibers with low temperature characteristics are needed to avoid attenuation problems. The choice of fiber structure and outer materials must be tailored to the specific environment.

Proper handling, installation and maintenance also influence the service life of optical fibers. Rough handling, excessive bending or undue traction can damage them. Early detection and troubleshooting are essential to maintain the long-term integrity of the fibers.


Fiber Optics Selection: Key to Durability


Selecting suitable optical fibers is essential for long service life and optimum performance in communication networks. Aspects to consider include working wavelength, project environmental conditions and specific user requirements, such as hybrid cables. External factors such as protection against lightning, rodents and marine elements in submarine applications must also be considered.


International standards and continuous development


Internationally, there are reference standards that guide the quality and durability of optical fibers in communication networks. Agencies such as the Federal Communications Commission in the U.S. and TUV SUD in Europe establish guidelines to guarantee a service life of more than 20-25 years in these fibers.


Research focuses on the mechanical and optical reliability of the fibers. Theoretical models and experiments are used to evaluate service life, predicting failure rates and validating long-term reliability under different environmental conditions. However, variations in materials and manufacturing processes can lead to differences between theoretical values and actual service life.


The future of fiber optics


With the advancement of technology and the growing demand for connectivity, the reliability and lifetime of optical fibers are being optimized. Collaboration between manufacturers, researchers and regulatory bodies is crucial to meet future global connectivity needs.

 

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