Sunday, 23 November 2014

What Jeff and Pauline do with their spare time

Last week we found a treasure in the car park near work - a length of optical fibre cable, a bit damaged, and clearly abandoned. It was there for a few days, and finally, we couldn't resist, we took it home.

Today Jeff cut a segment out of it, and peeled away the layers to see what is in it.

The marking on the outside said "Victrack by Corning" and also "12/24". And it's rodent resistant. The system we develop at work involves drawing maps of where cables and other equipment are installed. We don't draw the maps, that's a network designer's job - we write the software that lets them do it. So, we are able to test our software by making up new cable, and new types of cable, but this is the Real Thing.

Here's Jeff peeling away the layers. The black layers are very tough. Cable gets a lot of protection. There's also a tough woven layer.
Here's what's inside. We were surprised. There as two bundles of optical fibres, the orange one and the blue one. He's peeled the orange one to reveal the fibres inside. Each one of them has a coloured sheath too. There are twelve fibres in each of the bundles, so I'm guessing 12/24 means 24 fibres in total, presented in groups of twelve. There is a very tough core, it looks like metal with a white plastic coating. That stops the whole cable from bending too much. Then there are three plastic strands, the size of a bundle of fibres, but just inert plastic. I think this is how they get various cables of different capacity to be the same diameter - pad them with plastic to fill the gaps. They are probably easier to handle if they come in standard diameters.

And here, Jeff has managed to peel the very fine red sheath off one of the actual optical fibres. You can hardly see it, but it's the one with the half-length sheath.

We're taking this wonderful bounty to work tomorrow.

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