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Old 12-11-2017, 12:12 PM   #1
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Default Fiber Optic Distribution Methods in Large Multi-Family

We've performed our fair share of commercial fiber opitc work but are about to do our first fiber distribution system in a 6-story 117 unit multi-family mixed use building. I'm not finding anyone local where we operate who has done this before and I'm curious what others are using for installation methods on this larger scale through wood frame construction.
We have empty conduits to pull through to move cable from our basement located MDF closet to the two remote IDF closets on the floors above. The part I'm concerned about it taking the 2-fiber cables to each individual apartment unit that the owner now wants to have. I have a few colleagues in other areas who say there's nothing wrong with pulling the cables through the wood framing as long as we're not making any sharp bends and keeping it protected like we would NM cable. Another colleage is just sure we should be installing a complete raceway (EMT or ENT) system into which to pull the cables. Yet another suggests pulling the FO cables into a micro innerduct.
Anyone else doing these kinds of installs in wood frame construction that can advise me what you've done?
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Old 12-11-2017, 12:24 PM   #2
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Around here Verizon FIOS generally has outside contractors run very small microduct to each unit. Then they come in and install the fiber. The microduct has a drag string already installed in it.

I have seen a lot of apartment buildings in which they run those microducts along the top of the walls down the hallways and then install a plastic crown molding over it. Very rarely do they snake it thru walls.
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Old 12-11-2017, 12:30 PM   #3
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I haven't installed much fiber in residential buildings, but tons in stick framed commercial buildings. If you try to install it much like NM, you are going to have some unhappy results.

But it is very possible to install it in stick framed buildings as long as you follow all the rules and requirements for pulling and supporting fiber, and use suitable materials. For example, please don't try stapling fiber
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Old 12-11-2017, 12:33 PM   #4
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I've seen examples of those surface mounted installs with the crown molding and with and without surface raceways. Since we're new construction we have the opportunity to get it all in the walls and ceilings up front. It looks like the Carlon Micro-Gard Mini Duct HDPE, which comes with pre-installed pull line, may be a good choice. I can have my guys install that throughout and have our LV sub pull through them between IDF's and apt network boxes.
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Old 12-11-2017, 12:35 PM   #5
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I haven't installed much fiber in residential buildings, but tons in stick framed commercial buildings. If you try to install it much like NM, you are going to have some unhappy results.

But it is very possible to install it in stick framed buildings as long as you follow all the rules and requirements for pulling and supporting fiber, and use suitable materials. For example, please don't try stapling fiber
And yet, I've seen plenty of picture examples of installs where it's been stapled -- from everything I know about FO that just seems like an extremely bad idea. Can't imagine it's good for the cable.
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Old 12-11-2017, 12:54 PM   #6
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Quote:
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Around here Verizon FIOS generally has outside contractors run very small microduct to each unit. Then they come in and install the fiber. The microduct has a drag string already installed in it.

I have seen a lot of apartment buildings in which they run those microducts along the top of the walls down the hallways and then install a plastic crown molding over it. Very rarely do they snake it thru walls.
Same
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Old 12-11-2017, 01:05 PM   #7
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I didn't realize that it was new construction.

Using that microduct should be pretty straight forward then.
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Old 12-11-2017, 02:26 PM   #8
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When you have tall risers going up a number of floors floors you need to support the cable. Besides being a requirement is will cause all kinds of problems. The cable will want to drop down the conduit, pulling and turning into sharp bends. Such as nice curve in a pull can to bent 90 over the connector. The Corning MIC cables work well for risers. You'll break a tugger before those cables. Seen em go thru all kinds of abuse, reused and the test great. The smaller cables are much more delicate. Not always that they will be permanently damaged. Just very sensitive to moment and bends and don't seem to test well even on a few story on risers in conduit because of the strain.

The specs of the cables have rating on the pounds the can handle operating, and the weight. Then it's just some math and adding some extra.

I'm a conduit person myself.
Put it in a well laid out EMT and it's pretty safe.
If it get's fubared you can replace it fairly easy.
Other methods may not be as good for protection and repair.
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Old 12-11-2017, 08:31 PM   #9
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We use quite a bit of HDPE for long underground runs outside, but I'm not sure how you get around 353.12(2) using it in a building.

I'd probably use ENT or EMT myself.
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Old 12-11-2017, 08:41 PM   #10
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We use quite a bit of HDPE for long underground runs outside, but I'm not sure how you get around 353.12(2) using it in a building.

I'd probably use ENT or EMT myself.
Good point. Almost missed that. Thanks!
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Old 12-12-2017, 12:18 PM   #11
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I've been pointed toward Carlon MicroGard and Dura-Line micro duct products. They're approved for woodframe installations exactly like this. I figure it should labor out at about the same rate as #14/2 romex as it is roughly the same size but lighter and easier to pull in. Dura-Line actually has a best practices sheet on their website that lays it all out very nicely for MDU (multi dwelling unit) distribution.
Thanks for all your suggestions.
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Old 12-12-2017, 04:31 PM   #12
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I have worked in large scale residential buildings the last few years. 3 buildings with each over 300 units and from 17 to 30 stories and this is what we have done. Generally each floor has a data closet although I have seen some buildings with a closet every 3 floors. From each closet a 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 ENT corrugated tube is ran from the closet to every units network center. I would check with whoever you are doing the work for and ask them what is the minimum size they require because nothing else smaller is allowed where I am. Hell I have had to bend 4 inch pipe with a five foot radius to meet Verizons silly demands for 1 freaking wire so make sure to know what they require. OK back to your question Each data closet then has Corning MIC plenum cable drops run through the riser to data closets. The MIC cable is usually just tie wrapped to a ladder tray
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Old 12-12-2017, 09:23 PM   #13
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We use the mini-duct to IDF in most cases using the 3-floor model also. We are also still running copper from the units to the IDF and then FO from the IDFs to the MDF.

We are also zoning off different things (especially in hotels) such as security, VOIP, video streaming, WAP so we can load manage. As an example we would increase the WAP band-width during the day in the conference rooms and lower the streaming to the rooms and then flip in the evening. We use separate managed switches for this along with some software.

Not sure if you really care / need that part for a residential complex. FTTD is not really that big up here yet, most clients are still using copper to the IDF; I don't see that changing anytime soon either.

Cheers

John
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