Published on: 28th February 2012   |   Universal Networks

Armoured-Patch-BlogWe understand the importance of having a reliable network and how frustrating and time consuming it can be if things are not working as they should; not to mention how costly downtime can be!

For those using fibre optics, a common concern is their fragility.  Standard fibre patch cables are primarily designed to be used in the protected environment of a comms cabinets, but what if you need to take your connections beyond these safe surroundings; are standard fibre patch cables the best and only option?

A fully rugged fibre optic cable solution utilises harsh environment connectors designed for outdoor use, but it’s not always pratical to use these due to their weight, size and cost.  However, there are several tougher cable options that can be terminated with standard connectors, three of which have been outlined below.  These can be considered as alternatives to standard patch cables, offering more resilience to damage and increased network reliability.

Ruggedised (aka Flat Twin) Cable

Ruggedised-Cable-newAdditional PVC sheath for added protection but still  flexible and light

A Flat Twin cable consists of a pair of simplex fibre cables encased in a secondary PVC LSZH jacket. This additional sheath effectively doubles the thickness of the PVC around the fibres providing additional robustness to the cable.

A tight bend in an optical cable, caused by kinking or pinching can disrupt the passage of light carrying data packets down the fibre core affecting the performance of the data link. The additional sheath around a Ruggedised cable helps to avoid this happening and is especially important in installations where the cable is pulled through voids under tension.

We have provided Ruggedised Cables for a variety of industries including broadcast, industrial and military applications.


  • Lowest Cost ruggedised cable option
  • Quick manufacturing lead times

Technical Specification

Bend Radius   40mm
Dimensions     3.8mm x 6.6mm
Connectors     ST, SC, LC, FC

Click here for pricing information and specification sheet

Armoured Fibre Patch Cables

Armoured-uniboot-BlogA compact cable armoured with steel tape and braid for superb crush resistance

Often armouring is used in cables to provide additional protection against rodents, as well as general damage. The term ‘Armoured’ fibre usually implies heavy, cumbersome and inflexible multi core cables, these two core cables are far from this – with a cross section of just 3mm these armoured cables are in fact the most compact option (actually more compact than standard fibre patch cables!)

Constructed with a layer of helical metal tape, Kevlar and metal braid mesh they are very tough yet still flexible. Compared to Flat Twin, armoured patch cables offer superior protection against severing, pinching, kinking and rodents. Despite this, the cable is no larger than a standard patch cable and the round cross section of the cable allows flexing equally in all directions, aiding cable management and routing in tight places.

A customer of ours, Wildcat Aerial Filming, who film the HD aerial shots featured in David Attenborough’s “Life” and “Planet Earth” series recently tested the strength of armoured cables to the maximum. One of our armoured cables accidently got shut in a helicopter door and despite damage to the cable sheath, the fibre core were protected and they were still able to carry on filming!


  • Round cable is the most compact option
  • High impact/crush/rodent resistance

Technical Specification

Bend Radius    30mm

Dimensions      3.2mm Ø

Connectors      ST, SC, LC, FC

Click here for pricing and specification sheet

Tactical Fibre

Mil-TacTruly the best cable when deployment in harsh environments is needed.

Designed to stand up to use in harsh environments with resistance to water, chemicals, crushing, cuts and abrasions, tactical fibre can also, and most importantly, can be repeatedly deployed and coiled without compromising it’s performance.

To allow this repeated flexing, the construction is unique in that the fibre cores are “locked” to the jacket, avoiding micro bends of the fibre core under stress, and providing high mechanical protection under extreme loads.

For applications where deploying is a necessity, this is the best cable to use. Universal Networks have supplied these for use in the Broadcast, Oil and Gas Exploration, Mining and Military applications where it meets Military standards.

As well as being suitable for termination with standard connectors, this cable can also be presented in a number of rugged termination options; both butt joint and expanded beam.


  • Truly deployable cable
  • Meets Military specifications
  • Compact, flexible and light round cable
  • Standard & harsh environment connectors
  • Up to 24 core per cable

Technical Specification

Bend Radius    40mm – 68mm (2-24 core)

Dimensions      5.5mm – 8.5mm Ø (2-24 core)

Connectors      ST, SC, LC, FC

Click here for pricing information

Below is an expanded, to scale diagram of the cross sections of  Armoured patch cable, standard zipped patch cable, and flat twin/ruggedised.  As you can see the 3mm 2 core armoured cable takes up less space that the 2×2.8mm standard patch cable, an important consideration where they need to run in tight spaces.

Tactical cable is not shown as it varies in size – between 5 and 8.5mm diameter for 2 to 24 core.


Comparison of Cable Cross Section

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