Optical ground wire on power line

An optical ground wire (OPGW or an optical fiber composite overhead ground wire) is a type of cable that is used in overhead power lines. Such cable combines the functions of grounding and communications. It has optical fibers in it, surrounded by layers of steel and aluminum wire. Here is one example of such system installed to 110 kV high voltage power line in Finland. This is how one power line structure can also be used to carry high speed data.

OPGW is primarily used by the electric utility industry, placed in the secure topmost position of the transmission line where it “shields” the all-important conductors from lightning while providing a telecommunications path for internal as well as third party communications. OPGW must be capable of withstanding the mechanical stresses applied to overhead cables by environmental factors such as wind and ice.

OPGW as a communication medium has some advantages over buried optical fiber cable. Installation cost per kilometre is lower than a buried cable and an OPGW cable is unlikely to be damaged by excavation work, road repairs or installation of buried pipelines.

Here is one closeup how the optical ground wire is connected to a local fiber optic cable. The two fiber optic cables up from the ground wire are wired to the optical splicing box where it meets the black local fiber optic cable that most probably goes to some telecom rack some distance away.



  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Ocala utility repairing hurricane damaged transformer in ocala Fl

    Lightning protection for High Voltage Transmission Towers. No more lightning strikes to Tranmission Lines!

    ABB’s PEXLINK line surge arrester concept – Enabling reliable power grids

    PEXLINK is a line surge arrester concept from ABB that minimizes disturbances on overhead lines resulting from unforeseen impulse overvoltages. Based on ABB’s silicone-housed PEXLIM arrester, together with line hardware and automatic disconnecting device, the PEXLINK concept offers secure and robust performance to improve line availability and the reliability of the electricity supply.

  2. Shubham Ahire says:

    Very helpful information has been shared about OPGW Cable. If you want such quality cables than please do visit our website.

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:


    In general, a protection system must be provided for the transmission towers, as well as a safe environment for the personnel working on these towers. A grounding wire is used above the tower. And it has several names earth wire, shield wire, skywire, static wire. Its type can be steel or OPGW wire.

    OPGW ground wire is a dual functioning cable are grounding and telecommunications purposes. The conductor is constructed with a central optical fiber core surrounded by helically laid aluminum-clad wires, aluminum alloy wires, galvanized steel wires, or combinations thereof.

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The Installation of Aerial ADSS and Overlashed Fiber Optic Cable

    A brief over view of the the techniques, materials, methods and safety considerations for installing aerial fiber. ADSS and Overlashed Fiber is discussed. Sponsored by Electric Conduit Construction.


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