Any business that has physically grown to a size that out-distances the 300′ limit of copper data connectivity (Cat 5e, Cat6, etc.) must eventually look to connect technologies throughout their facilities via the use of fiber optic networking. Whether it’s a large building, or several buildings, or a campus-wide environment, there’s no way around a fiber infrastructure in this day and age.
There are four primary considerations to determine the project cost for fiber optic cable installation.
First- What are the Fiber Optic Cable Specifications?
- Will the fiber need to be singlemode or multimode?
- If multimode, what is the quality requirement? (OM3, OM4, etc.)
- Will the fiber be inside or outside the building?
- Is armored or other specialty jacketing required?
- What will the length of the fiber need to be?
- How many strands will be needed to support the network demand?
*Note: The simplest of fiber networks need at least two strands to function, connecting one device on either side of the fiber pathway.
Fiber cabling, on average, runs .50 – $1.50 per foot and higher, depending on the answers to the above questions.
Second- How Will the Cable Get From Here to There?
Many fiber cables can be directly buried in the ground, although the installation of conduit, is recommended. Often, various utilities and obstructions may dictate that fiber be run aerially, an expensive but sometimes necessary proposition.
Third- How Will the Fiber Terminate?
The best practice here is to splice the fiber optic cabling into protective casings called “cassettes.” These cassettes then come with a factory pre-terminated end (LC, SC, ST styles) that connect to various network devices. Although these cassettes and ends can cost several hundred dollars themselves, the process of terminating fiber is also very time-consuming, so accounting needs to be made for the labor time and cost required to complete necessary terminations.
Fourth- How Will the Fiber Connect to the Network?
Finally, network closets must possess the right kind of switches to accommodate the fiber style and the type of terminating connectors used.
Switches can run from several hundred dollars into the thousands or another option, fiber to copper converters ($200-$500) can be used to adapt them to existing copper connections.