Outside Plant

Outside plant cabling, whether copper or fiber, is generally installed as aerial cable between poles, in an underground conduit system, or by direct burial. Hardware associated with the outside plant must be either protected from the elements (for example, distribution frames are generally protected by a street side cabinet) or constructed with materials suitable for exposure to the elements. Installation of the outside plant elements often require construction of significant physical infrastructure, such as underground vaults. In older large installations, cabling is sometimes protected by air pressure systems designed to prevent water infiltration. While this is not a modern approach, the cost of replacement of the older cabling with sealed cabling is often prohibitively expensive. The cabling used in the outside plant must also be protected from electrical disturbances caused by lightning or voltage surges due to electrical shorts or induction.

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