BROADBAND COMMUNITIES is the leading source of information on digital and broadband technologies for buildings and communities. Our editorial aims to accelerate the deployment of Fiber-To-The-Home and Fiber-To-The-Premises.
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82 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | www.broadbandcommunities.com | MARCH/APRIL 2015 TECHNOLOGY Rethinking Drop Fiber Fiber protection should be appropriate to the number and location of fber strands. Rethinking the protection requirements for drop fber led Clearfeld, a specialist in fber management, to rethink the fber itself. By Johnny Hill / Clearfeld Inc. F iber to the X – that's a term you should be familiar with if you are anywhere near the telecom industry. Any potential recipient is thrilled at the prospect of having a dedicated fber delivered to the X. Greater bandwidth, future-proofed for whatever technologies may come along, is the way everything should be going. Tis is the easy part – agreeing that fber to the X is a great concept. Now let's talk about the hard part. Early adopters of FTTx established that the technology worked and had varying degrees of proftability – positive in most cases but negative in some. Te ROI on FTTx investment continues to improve as technologies, equipment, acceptance, construction knowledge and practices continue to improve. Standardization on passive optical networks (PON) rather than point-to-point networks and subsequent revisions to advanced point- to-multipoint fber reduced the amount of fber needed to deploy a network. Te Full Service Access Network working group drew on IEEE, ITU and SCTE standards to specify how optical line terminals (OLTs) and optical network terminals (ONTs) would communicate in PON networks. Considering the magnitude of the efort, the evolution of PON was accomplished in relatively short order as APON (ATM-PON) and BPON (Broadband PON) gave way to the more efcient, cost-efective G984 Gigabit PON (GPON) standard as the popular choice for FTTx networks. Equipment costs continue to decline even as vendors develop new twists on technologies to meet more advanced and bandwidth-heavy delivery demands. Te costs of materials between the OLT in the central ofce and the fber distribution hub (where the bulk of fber consolidation and distribution occurs) are becoming streamlined as technologies allow delivery of more feeder fber inside smaller and smaller footprints. Delivery and pathway methods continue to improve with microduct technologies that use blown fber or pushable fber from hubs into access networks along with more traditional outside-plant (OSP) cables. Labor, however, continues to dominate the cost structure of building FTTx networks, and labor costs become more evident and challenging closer to the fnal destination. Why? Because methods and procedures appropriate for large-count fbers are being used across the entire network. Continuing to lower costs in the access network requires addressing the methods used to protect a single fber and introducing new technologies to meet this challenge – or challenges. Delivering a single fber (or two fbers) to a single-family unit, a multiple- dwelling unit, an ofce park or a single-business unit (just to name a few) presents a unique set of challenges for each type of location. Can a single product address them all? Simply, no. Do not let anyone tell you diferent. Tese application environments have an enormous range of variability outside a service provider's control, as opposed to a central ofce,