Fiber optic data to rooms in a home

mkgrady

Senior Member
Location
Massachusetts
I'm looking at a set of house plans to bid. In numerous rooms where you might expect a tv to be located the plans show a catv jack AND a fiber optic outlet for data. What would the fiber be for? I can see running a cat5 or 6 Ethernet cable in case they want to have wired Internet to the tv, but what is the purpose of fiber to a tv location?

And if there is a purpose to the fiber, is installing it a big deal? What does it connect to at the source and at the tv?
 

SceneryDriver

Senior Member
Location
New York, NY
I would guess it's an attempt to future-proof the installation. The fiber would be home runs to a patch panel (in the basement?) just like the CATV cables. I've seen many installations where the data cabling is run inside ENT (Smurf tube) so that it would be easy to pull the current cable out and replace it with something more current.

Fiber optic cable is where all data transmission is going. While it is slightly tougher to terminate and requires more gentle installation techniques, it has tremendous potential for extremely high bandwidth. 4k video transmission needs this bandwidth. Google Fiber and the like will only make this more common.

You will need to check on EXACTLY which connectors and fiber types are called for. Most connectors actually mate a fiber pair; one for TX and one for RX. The good news is, at the distances in a typical house, multi-mode fiber can be used. It's easier to terminate than the smaller diameter single-mode fiber.

If you don't have much experience with terminating fiber optic cables, you might consider subcontracting this to someone who does it regularly. Landing and terminating fiber is something of a dark art. The people who do this well are worth their cost in re-work saved and reliability gained.


-SceneryDriver
 

arcsnsparks98

Senior Member
Location
Jackson, TN USA
I am not a fiber guy but I have worked with a few here and there. It is my understanding from them that the crimp ons are great but the termination has a shorter life expectancy than the traditional glued on ends. In a facility where maintenance is routine this isnt an issue. In a residence, ehhhh....
 

don_resqcapt19

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Illinois
I am not a fiber guy but I have worked with a few here and there. It is my understanding from them that the crimp ons are great but the termination has a shorter life expectancy than the traditional glued on ends. In a facility where maintenance is routine this isnt an issue. In a residence, ehhhh....
As far as I know that is only an issue if you are moving the connections around a lot. Typically those connections would go to a bulkhead connector or a fiber patch panel and would not be moved around much after the original install. Fiber patch cables would be used for the equipment connection.
 

mkgrady

Senior Member
Location
Massachusetts
So, is it safe to say fiber installed now in a typical home will have no purpose until some time in the future?

If that is the case maybe I will propose an empty flexible conduit. Is there a good product out there? I'm picturing a flexible plastic conduit with a string already in it.

I have never used smurf tube. With all the bends and length involved in this large house I'm not sure it could be snaked that far.
 

Rampage_Rick

Senior Member
There are a few possible uses for residential fiber right now, but there isn't yet a need for it.

You can get HDMI>fiber adapters to run HDMI over long distances. Right now it's far more economical to use a pair of CAT6 cables to run HDMI signals. This may not be possible in the future once 4K television becomes commonplace.

Fiber is commonly used for home theater audio, so I suppose if you wanted to have a local source (a DVD player) in one room you could use fiber to transmit the audio back to a central A/V system.

Fiber is also used for networking, but again it's far more economical to use CAT6 cable.

I concur with the suggestion to simply place empty conduit for future use. Even if you put in the correct fiber, there's a good chance it will have the wrong connectors when they go to use it.
 

egnlsn

Senior Member
Location
Herriman, UT
Occupation
A/V/Security Technician
The minimum bend radius for fiber during installation is 20x the diameter of the cable -- same as coax. When it's in its permanent position, it is 10x the diameter of the cable.
 

iwire

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Massachusetts
I would be hard pressed to find a bigger waste of money than installing fiber for 'data' in a home without present need for it.

As much as the technophiles want to overdue things and hate wireless I think the vast majority of HOs are going keep going wireless for anything they can.
 

SceneryDriver

Senior Member
Location
New York, NY
I would be hard pressed to find a bigger waste of money than installing fiber for 'data' in a home without present need for it.

As much as the technophiles want to overdue things and hate wireless I think the vast majority of HOs are going keep going wireless for anything they can.
Agreed, though a properly installed path (conduit, Smurf tube, etc...) with a pull line from each location to the patch panel is a good idea. Someone, sometime will thank you when they don't have to chop into the drywall to install a new type of communications cable.

WiFi isn't going anywhere either. It's just too useful for everyone. With 802.11AC coming into use, we will have gigabit speeds available wirelessly. That said, fiber and CAT6 are still useful for hardwired connections in many situations.



SceneryDriver
 

hbiss

EC, Westchester, New York NEC: 2014
Location
Hawthorne, New York NEC: 2014
Occupation
EC
About 15-20 years ago I remember working in an old house where an EC had retrofitted the LV wiring. Fiber, who knows what kind, was run to every location along with CAT3,CAT5 and coax. I remember laughing because the fiber was cut off with only about a 3-4 inch tail hanging out of the cut-in plastic boxes at each location. Naturally that fiber is unused today- a lot of money well spent. :happysad:

-Hal
 
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