Published on: 8th August 2014   |   Universal Networks

ArmourLux%20Tested%20By%20Cows%20058 It’s a commonly asked question. We can quote facts and figures from a data sheet – 200N/cm for example. There you go, it’s now clear! But what does this actually mean?

Our customers don’t ask how many Newton’s they have been tested to, they ask if they can be walked over, driven over, or can they survive being nibbled by deer! All real life scenarios, some more common than others.

With a notable lack of real life test data available, we decided to do our own test, so we can see just how tough the ArmourLux cable actually is.
Our thoughts started with foot traffic, the most commonly raised concern. With the reels frequently used within the broadcast and events industry, it seemed the most sensible place to start. Could we get hundreds of people to walk over them without raising health and safety issues?   Not easily.  So naturally our thoughts turned to Angus. No not the sound tech guy, but a large herd of Aberdeen Angus Cows.

 Several tons of Angus


On a farm near Hungerford they breed Aberdeen Angus cattle.  The cows weigh 800-900kg, and the bulls are at least 1000kg.  With up to half of this weight pushing through one hard hoof as they walk, it’s a harsh test. Coupled with the cables being laid out on tarmac not soft grass; a test too far?

The Techy bit


A fibre cable will either endure partial damage, or break outright.  Breakages mean total loss of connectivity; damage can impair performance to varying degrees.  Micro bends and pinches can all cause degradation of signal as the light can no longer travel down the fibre in the way it was designed, and instead some light (data) is lost.  We wanted to be able to measure these changes.

Before the cables were trodden on, we used Fluke DTX testers to measure attenuation of the assemblies (loss of optical power as it travels down the fibre) to get a benchmark. We would expect to see small fluctuations up or down with each test (no two tests are ever identical).  A large negative deviation however would indicate damage to the fibre cores.  Once the cattle were herded over the cables, we would test again and compare the results.  Would they daintily avoid stepping on them though?

Mooove along please!


Our answer…No they wouldn’t!  The 20 cattle were driven over the cables and they didn’t appear to even notice them.  Once they had passed through we examined the cables and counted at least 6 hoof marks on the outer jackets.  We were keen to test again and review the results.


We were delighted to see no relevant change in attenuation.  In fact some improved – due to them settling after being removed from the reels!

This shows the structure of the cable was sufficient to protect the fibres from damage even with several hundred kilos of beast pushing down on them.  This bodes well for foot traffic!


As you hear all the time, actions speak louder than words. So we decided that not only would we run this test, but we would also film it too; take a look at YouTube

What next?

We had a lot of fun in the making of Tested by Cows, but there was a practical reason for doing this too of course.  Our product development has come from customer feedback over the years, so we would welcome any suggestions on other tests we can conduct on our ArmourLux cables.  What concerns would you have and how can that be tested?  The more unusual the idea the better!

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by Eddie Hing

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