As the name indicates, handholes are holes constructed under the ground to access telecom cables/components by inserting our hands. Handholes are necessary for a fiber optic network route along its length to access the cable at periodic intervals. During installations, these handholes serves as space to assist the cable pass through ducts smoothly. A handhole is an underground vault. The size of the handholes for telecommunications cables is smaller than that of manholes. Handholes will have a detachable cover. This cover is required to allow easy access to the conduit system by the staff during operations and maintenance.
Cable work operations are usually performed with the worker located outside the handhole since the size of the handhole does not allow entry of a grown-up man/woman. In the case of a manhole, people can enter into it to perform the work.
Handholes can be constructed on the site. Alternatively, ready-made handholes are available in the market. Ready-made handholes can be installed easily at the desired location. One advantage with the ready-made handhole is the moveability. If in any case, the network route is required to be shifted to a new location, readymade handholes can be reused, offering less wastage left on the environment.
The size and dimensions of the handholes vary with respect to the network location. Thus, the handholes in distribution section is different from that in the feeder section. Also, the size and dimension of the handhole are regulated by telecom operators and the laws prevalent in the country of installation. Within the country itself, there may be guidelines for handholes in some municipalities. Another factor influencing the dimension of the handhole is the duct size.
Typically for Duct sizes of 50 mm to 100 mm, the length of the handholes may vary from 1400 mm to 2300 mm. The width and height would be around 1000 mm and 800 mm respectively. For duct sizes up to 50 mm, the length, width and height will vary from 500-900 mm, 250-500mm and 700-800 mm respectively.