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I am hoping to run a fibre optic cable from the office/study to the "server" room where I'll have my NAS. The idea is to use a 10 Gbit/s connection.

We are building and are currently framing. Should I run conduit and put the fibre in it, or is it fine just to staple the fibre optic cable (with wire staples of course)?

I doubt it'll need replacing, but who knows.

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  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Niall C. Jul 30 '20 at 13:59
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Run Conduit

Then if you need a 2nd fiber later, or this one goes bad, or you want to add something else, you're all set.

Plus, one staple that hits wrong, and you've clobbered your fiber - you can't (realistically) splice and patch the way you could with copper Ethernet.

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    @FreshCodemonger try ENT (smurf tube) sometime .... – ThreePhaseEel Jul 28 '20 at 11:40
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    Conduit is not a PIA, and is indubitably the right answer. Network cables are temporary on the lifescale of buildings. Stapling fiber - oh <bleep> no. – Ecnerwal Jul 28 '20 at 12:37
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    @Ecnerwal Meh, unlike copper, fiber has potential for huge bandwidth improvements simply by upgrading the endpoints. To the degree that a home today will need hardwired network communications in the future, I can't imagine a good fiber needing to be replaced for a very, very long time. Staple-able fiber has also been a thing for over a decade now. It's 2020, eh. – J... Jul 28 '20 at 12:42
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    @FreshCodemonger I'd say having to run another cable once everything is closed up is a much larger PIA. Install the dang conduit so that both you and future owners can marvel at what amazing foresight you had instead of curse you for your shortsightedness. – MonkeyZeus Jul 28 '20 at 12:55
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    One compromise is to run conduit from inaccessible spaces to accessible ones. IE: Run conduit in the wall to the attic or crawl space (assuming you have one). Depending upon the layout of your new home that may be practical, or not! You may have to run conduit the entire way, but I think it's worth it. – George Anderson Jul 28 '20 at 14:11
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Absolutely without question the industrial strength answer is install an empty plastic conduit pipe, and blow the fiber through later. Make all your bends very gentle so the pull is easy. The conduit needed is tiny and very flexible.

However, you may be using pre-terminated fiber, in which case the needed conduit starts to get large.

See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8PgrvTrwAM for a guide to pre-terminated fiber. NEVER staple fiber. If you're framing, just drill holes and string the fiber from hole to hole. For your redundant backup fiber use different holes.

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    +1 to "never staple fiber" – abligh Jul 28 '20 at 20:30
  • @abligh ...unless it's fiber that is designed to be stapled. – J... Jul 30 '20 at 13:43
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Assuming you're installing single mode fiber...

The other answers would have been correct many years ago, but developments in optical fiber technology have come a long way. Construction grade fiber is widely available now that is rugged and robust enough to be laid down like normal building wire. You can staple it, pull it tight around sharp 90-deg corners, and even wind it around pipe without any signal degradation.

Conduit is an option also, but it is absolutely not necessary any more - just make sure to buy the correct grade of ruggedized fiber for domestic construction applications and you can absolutely just run this like any other wire in your house.

You're more likely to break non-rugged fiber just trying to install it, to be honest, particularly if you're not experienced with fragile fiber - the rugged stuff you can't kill without a lot of dedicated neglect and abuse. It's made for builders with hard-toe boots, work gloves, power staplers, and thumbs bigger than their hammers.

If you're building a multimode network that's a different story altogether. I wouldn't invest in building multimode fiber into a building at this point. Go SMF - it will last forever. MMF - conduit, because you'll want to replace it at some point. At that, the extra you'll spend on the conduit and more-expensive multimode fiber would pay for the SFP+ SMF modules, so it seems silly to go cheap here. MMF is dead. I wouldn't bother investing in it at this point. It's not like you're a datacenter and have to shave every dollar off of thousands upon thousands of endpoints.

This isn't to say that you can't put plain SMF in a conduit, though - it does let you add more lines in the future, so that's always a plus, but as long as your SMF doesn't break you should never need to upgrade it - it will be good for 10GBit, 100GBit, 1000GBit, and whatever comes after that.

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    After reading the first link, I note that it only works for OS/2. How does it know?? :) </old computer nerd joke> – FreeMan Jul 28 '20 at 15:00
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    @FreeMan 100ft of OS2 clearcurve is $40 (USD) at Adorama. Gotta be cheaper than conduit. – J... Jul 28 '20 at 15:10
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    @JanDorniak If there is glass involved, Corning is in the business. – manassehkatz-Moving 2 Codidact Jul 28 '20 at 18:18
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    @JanDorniak If I remember correctly (but it has been a very long time) back in 5th or 6th grade we had to write letters to "some company about something" and I am pretty sure I wrote (paper, this was long before the internet) to Corning and got back some beautiful brochures/catalogs/etc. of all kinds of different types of glass that they made. – manassehkatz-Moving 2 Codidact Jul 28 '20 at 19:05
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    @J... -- I was thinking more from a telco perspective -- I really wish that this "lets abandon all the copper and let it rot in favor of fiber" approach wasn't so much a thing because if all you have between you and the other end is a piece of optical fiber, you're boned if you hit enough of a power outage to run out of local backup battery – ThreePhaseEel Jul 28 '20 at 23:19
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You want to use conduit ( flexible non metallic conduit) is the best for fiber use long sweeps for 90’s and you won’t crack your fiber. The conduit will also protect the fiber from damage during the instal. It is not recommended to staple fiber 1 over set staple or missed strike and the fiber is toast. For many years the only thing I used flexible non metallic was for fiber. Fled is about as easy but provides a safe path and put a pull string if you ever need you can pull a new cable or fiber at a later date.

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