Aerial Cable Installation 101: Stationary Versus Moving Reels

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Deploying new fiber optic cables can be completed through either the moving real or stationary placement methods. Before deciding on which method for aerial cable installation is best for any project, we conduct a full route survey, completing necessary environmental checks and making sure we fully understand the particular aerial environment’s unique challenges.  After we complete this route survey, we make an informed decision regarding whether moving or stationary reels are the most beneficial for the aerial cable installation.

Aerial Cable Installation 101: Stationary Versus Moving Reels

Stationary Reels

We typically opt for stationary reels when the cable will need to exist above other obstructions, such as existing lateral cable. To install temporary reels, we first install a series of temporary chutes, supports, or tangent blocks along the route. Then, we thread a pull line through these supports and use it to pull the fiber optic cable through the blocks.

We stop the pulling when the installation tension exceeds what is known as the maximum-rated cable load (MRCL). Finally, we terminate the cable at every dead-end pole along the specific route.

Moving Reels

We rely on the moving reel method in cases where we can easily move an aerial lift truck or cable reel trailer along the pole line because no obstructions exist that would compromise raising the cable. We do not have to use cable blocks or pull lines when we use this method, so the process is typically much quicker. Generally, we simply drive the cable trailer along the route at consistent speed and tension, allowing the cable reel to disperse the line as we go.