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Outside Plant Outside plant is the network of cables poles conduit feeder cable distribution cable terminals aerial and drop wire and fiber optics that interconnects COs and connects from the local CO to the home or customer The local loop or last mile is the link between the CO and the customer The local loop is mainly made up of twisted-pair copper wire Twisted-pair cables are classified by the wire gauge and the number of pairs within the sheath The sizes vary from 1 pair to 3600 pair Wire gauges 19 22 24 26 are used in the loop plant The cost of the wire determines the use of the smallest wire possible with the best results In other words smaller wire is used close to the CO and courser grade wire is used farther away from the CO to reduce loop resistance Over the year the local loop has not changed much but there have been improvements in insulation cable sheaths splicing Most of the outside plant that was aerial has been converted to underground which reduces damage The connection of COs have changed dramatically by drunk routes being constructed in underground conduits about ever 6000 feet Copper wires can be changed to fiber optics the material is unlimited bandwidth provides greater performance and does not corrode like copper LECs dont consider protection equipment and range extension as part of an outside plant Local loops are routed from the customer to the CO over twisted-pair cable The twisted pair could be either aerial cable which is supported by poles Aerial cable is being discontinued because of its vulnerability to damage Aerial cable needs external strength for tension relief on the conductors Direct burial is placed in the ground without a conduit This method is ideal for rural areas because it is less expensive than conduit LECs can place several cables right after each other or where future additions may be needed
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