Fiber Optic Cable Installation, Overhead vs. Buried Laying

August 1, 2021

Overhead and buried laying are the most common laying methods for fiber optic cable installation. What are their differences and which one is the best when comes to setting an optical communication cable line?

HOC (Hone Optical Communications) has 19+ years experiences on optical communication and FTTx. Let’s find out.

Overall Comparison

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Diagram above compared 7 aspects of both fiber optic cable laying methods, from outside construction layout to the influence of the whole site construction.

We can see from the perspective of layout aesthetic, direct burial is a better choice, for all fiber cables are buried underground and no need for poles. So buried laying is suitable for fiber optic cable installation in cities and places with this need.

And while overhead laying needs a lot of poles for installation, but the aerial fiber optic cable is cheaper than the direct burial fiber optic cable. In addition, most aerial fiber cable are recyclable after construction.

A perfectly set fiber cabling

Despite the layout and costs, the most thing we would like for a fiber optical cabling is to be perfectly planned and installed. So that it won’t affect other constructions like buildings, power cables and so on. And following we will discuss this issue.

Buried underground Laying

The main disadvantage of buried cable laying is that it affects the underground construction a lot. But it can be avoided and overcome with some effective measures.

  • Firstly, we shall determine the lying position during construction, and avoid the buildings to be built as far as possible.
  • Second, make sure the buried depth of the cable is less than 0.8m. After the cable is laid, it shall be protected by laying sand and covering bricks. When it’s under road, adding a protective pipe is necessary. After the backfilling of the cable trench, the cable marker pile shall be set up on the cable trench to not only clarify the fiber optic cable laying position, but also avoid random excavation and construction.
  • Third, the project department shall carefully carry out the disclosure of underground pipe network during construction. Random excavation near optical cables should be prohibited. Network management personnel should also provide timely drawings of underground pipe network if further construction is required.

Aerial overhead laying

Compared to buried laying, the main advantage of overhead fiber optic cable laying is that it has little impact on underground construction. But when an overhead pole affects the constructions underground or above ground, the whole row of poles need to be displaced.

  • First, the whole aerial fiber optic cable needs to be removed.
  • And overhead supporting steel strand and poles need to be removed accordingly.
  • After all that, pole pits need to be dug again for overhead construction of poles, overhead steel cables and aerial fiber optic cables.

It usually takes several days for emergency repair, which greatly affects the construction. So effective measures like first and third or buried laying should also be taken into account.


Above all, the construction plan of a city or site mainly decide the laying method of fiber optic cable installation. But a full consideration of each laying is also important, as well as choosing the right fiber optic cable.

Do you find your answer on differences between the two laying methods? Or still have other questions on fiber optic cable differences and selection? Connect with us at any time.

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Tony Lau is technical manager and co-founder at HOC. He loves writing about content optical fiber communications, specializes in fiber optic cables, FTTH turnkey solutions, ADSS cable, and ODN networks.

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