What is the difference between tight buffer and loose buffer?

February 5, 2020

First, it is helpful to understand that loose-tube and loose-buffer are one and the same. The same goes for tight buffer and tight tube. The tight versus loose desciption decribes how the basic fiber is packaged within the finished cable. The names actually describe how the fiber is placed within the overall cable. Loose buffer means that the fibers are placed loosely within a larger plastic tube. Usually 6 to 12 fibers are placed within a single tube. These tubes are filled with a gel-like compound that protects the fibers from moisture or physical stresses that may be experienced by the overall cable. These designed are typically specified and used for outside plant (OSP) applications such as directly buried in the ground, lashed or self-supporting aerial installations and other outside-the-building applications. These cables require addition work when the fibers are to be terminated. The addition work involves cleaning the water-blocking compounds from the cable and fibers as well as the use of “break-out” kits when the individual fibers are to be terminated.

For tight buffer designs, each fiber is coated with a plastic, usually with an outside diameter of 900 micron. Cables that are used inside buildings (ISP) will usually use this design. Tight buffer cables can be manufactured with up to 144, 900 micron fibers and have cable ratings of OFNP or OFNR.

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