Fiber cables have long been known for their ability to carry data reliably over long distances. While copper category cable transmission distances are limited to 100 m, fiber cable can literally go for miles without a decrease in performance.

Traditionally, however, copper cables have always been able to offer something fiber cables couldn’t: the ability to carry power and data over a single cable. Although
fiber performs well in applications that require long cable runs – such as across campuses or high-rise hotels – a separate local power source was always needed.

In recent years, the advent of hybrid cables changed all of this. Hybrid cables combine optical fibers and metallic conductors within the same cable so you can reap the benefits of both: the ability to remotely deliver power like a copper category cable can while also enjoying the performance of fiber to carry data (at virtually any rate) across long distances.

Although the traditional method is still an option – running fiber cable for data transmission and utilizing a separate local source for power – there are definite benefits associated with using hybrid cable instead.

1. Only One Cable to Pull and Manage
Because data and power are combined into one cable construction, hybrid technology requires only a single cable pull, providing installation and labor savings. Fewer man-hours are needed to complete the job, which frees up installers to finish more work in less time.

Hybrid cable construction also reduces the number of cables you need; inventory SKUs decrease because only one cable needs to be stocked and managed instead of two (power and data). This saves warehouse space, puts hours back into workdays and puts money back into your pocket.

2. Cost-Effectively Carry Remote Power
Instead of paying to run low-voltage power to each location that needs it, hybrid cable brings power to these locations without requiring a local power source. Instead, the power is carried through the cable from a centralized remote source.
This prevents owners from having to run separate data and power pathways to each necessary location.

3. New Installation Possibilities
Because you can carry low-voltage power over long distances, hybrid cable allows you to do things that
 Power over Ethernet (PoE) or category cable can’t.

A good example is a pole-mounted exterior security camera. In this situation, you can run a hybrid cable carrying power and data to the camera on the light pole. The camera will only require this single cable instead of two – and you don’t have to worry about performance distance limits. They can be terminated in a NEMA enclosure and connected to a media converter. From there, a copper patch cord connects to the end device.

Wireless access points (WAPs) are another prime illustration. Within a building’s large atrium area, for example, you may face distance and/or power limits if you try to use category cable to reach WAPs. By connecting a hybrid cable to the wireless access point instead, you can confidently supply it with data and power, regardless of how long the cable run is.

Hybrid Copper-Fiber Cables from Belden
The bottom line: Hybrid cables support easier installation, labor savings, time savings, space savings and cost savings.

Standard Hybrid CablesBelden’s FiberExpress Hybrid Copper-Fiber Cables can safely transmit up to 200W of low-voltage power along with data across distances of up to 1,000 m, reaching remote locations where standard power is unavailable or too costly to install – and PoE is unable to reach due to distance limitations.

Solutions are available in breakout or distribution styles, depending on termination needs. The cables can also be structured in multiple fiber counts to accommodate a variety of applications.

Do hybrid cables sound like the right option for your next project? Learn more about them here. Or send us your questions; we can help you decide!

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