Fiber cables are widely applied in today’s communication network. They are buried under the street or under the sea. Fiber cables are quite indispensable for information transmission and data providing. They are just like the veins of communication systems. Once fiber cables are damaged or cut, network will be interrupted. You may be not able to watch TV or even suffer a great loos. So, what can destroy the fiber cables?
Bad weather like hurricanes, mud slides, flood and ice storms etc. and natural disasters are nightmare not only to our personal life and property, but also the fiber cables. When there is a heavy snow, we are glad to make snowman. But for cable installers, they have to o an emergency network repair under such harsh conditions in order to avoid additional damage and downtime. Because water that enters a splice enclosure will be frozen, crushing the fiber strands and leaving you with a costly network outage. Additionally, lightning is also a factor to destroy fiber cables. 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 cable sheath or the fiber is likely to be broken.
The damages to fiber cables caused by animals are annoying. We don’t know how to avoid that. Squirrel, a furry little nut eater, seems to be deeply fond of fiber cable sheathing besides nuts. We even doubt that the cable manufacturers using peanut oil in the sheathing. Squirrel often gnaw fiber optic cable. Even metal armored cable can get cut in two by this furry critter. In addition, undersea cables aren’t exempt from cuts. Because there is another animal under ocean like to bite cables. It is shark. Why shark would like to eat fiber cables? Effect by magnetic fields is one of the explaining at present. We have no idea how we can combat these wayward rodents. Now, the only thing we can do is always looking for ways to improve.
During the construction, people may cut the fiber cables with excavators. Tools like backhoes, post-hole augers and even hand shovels can all bring network traffic to a halt. Because some of them don’t even care if there are fiber cables underground before digging. So construction may do harm to fiber optic cable.
How can vehicle damage the fiber cables? Here we mainly refer to big trucks, or maybe small airplane. For example, a cable damage accident causing by a truck happened in Pennsylvania. A trucker got lost and accidently turned down a residential street. His rig got tangled up in a mess of overhead phone cables. But that didn’t stop him! He kept pushing forward until his rig was tied up like a Christmas present. He was dragging a 20 foot section of broken telephone pole down the street before he stopped to see what was impeding his progress. To address this situation, we can forbid trucks from entering the residential street or city by limiting the height of the vehicles. However, accident always happens with all kinds of tricks, e.g. a small airplane will destroy the fiber cables. This happened in California. A small airplane was attempting to land at the Burbank International Airport and overshot the runway and crashed in a residential area. It clipped the poles that the aerial fiber was attached to, causing everything to come down. Though it is just a small probability event, it really refresh the record of fiber cut causing by vehicle.
Since fiber optical cable is valuable, some people try to steal it. They cut the fiber into pieces. The most classical event is that a 75 year-old woman in Georgia (country in Asia) was digging with her spade, looking for copper, which she wanted to sell for scrap, when she accidentally cut the fiber optic cable that provided internet to 90% of Armenia. It is ridiculous. It is fiber but not copper! In addition, people vandalize the fiber cable in other ways, e.g. for gun practice. This especially happens in the rough parts of town which makes the cable repair work become dangerous. Furthermore, land disputes may also causes artificial malicious damage to fiber.
No matter damages caused by nature or human, we can’t predict. So the only thing we can do is to take a good protection for our fiber cables. Waterproof fiber cables, armored fiber cables and the other outdoor cables which are designed to protect fibers in a harsh application environment are widely used in this field. More better protection methods will be developed in the future. Of course, there are some other factors which cause signal loss and cut the network. Repairs and recovery service are necessary. There is a group of people who are willing to get down into the trenches in the first time, make the necessary repairs and recovery service every time when network is down. They are great and worthy of respect.