In practical fibers, the cladding is usually coated with a tough resin buffer layer, which may be further surrounded by a jacket layer, usually glass. These layers add strength to the fiber but do not contribute to its optical wave guide properties. Rigid fiber assemblies sometimes put light-absorbing ("dark") glass between the fibers, to prevent light that leaks out of one fiber from entering another. This reduces cross-talk between the fibers, or reduces flare in fiber bundle imaging applications.
Modern cables come in a wide variety of sheathings and armor, designed for applications such as direct burial in trenches, high voltage isolation, dual use as power lines,[not in citation given] installation in conduit, lashing to aerial telephone poles, submarine installation, and insertion in paved streets. The cost of small fiber-count pole-mounted cables has greatly decreased due to the high demand for fiber to the home (FTTH) installations in Japan and South Korea.
Fiber cable can be very flexible, but traditional fiber's loss increases greatly if the fiber is bent with a radius smaller than around 30 mm. This creates a problem when the cable is bent around corners or wound around a spool, making FTTX installations more complicated. "Bendable fibers", targeted towards easier installation in home environments, have been standardized as ITU-T G.657. This type of fiber can be bent with a radius as low as 7.5 mm without adverse impact. Even more bendable fibers have been developed. Bendable fiber may also be resistant to fiber hacking, in which the signal in a fiber is surreptitiously monitored by bending the fiber and detecting the leakage.
Another important feature of cable is cable's ability to withstand horizontally applied force. It is technically called max tensile strength defining how much force can applied to the cable during the installation period.
Some fiber optic cable versions are reinforced with aramid yarns or glass yarns as intermediary strength member. In commercial terms, usage of the glass yarns are more cost effective while no loss in mechanical durability of the cable. Glass yarns also protect the cable core against rodents and termites.