CAT5 and Fiber FREE cabling and networking Helpdesk
 Question by Donti Twine posted 22 Sep 2006
 CAT5 and Fiber
What is the major difference between CAT5E plenum and PVC? Also, how do I determine the amount of Fiber strands that is needed for an installation?
 Answer by Dmitri Abaimov posted 23 Sep 2006
Dear Donti,

The main difference between those two types of cable is the materials the jacket and the internal insulation are made of. In a nutshell, the plenum cable almost does not burn. As such, it does not spread the fire and therefore is considered safer. Problem is: it emits very toxic fumes in high temperatures. So, you still have a chance at getting poisoned if this cable is involved in a fire, but the fire will not spread as quickly.

You might want to read more about plenums here:

As far as your second question goes, the amount of fibers depends on the equipment you anticipate using that fiber plus a reasonable extra. As a bare minimum I would use a 6 strand fiber cable, then go to 12 if 6 does not give enough room for future growth end so on. There is no precise formula on how much spare is enough. You just have to make a good guess.

Dmitri Abaimov, RCDD

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