Broadband Communities

MAR-APR 2013

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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Technology Lowering 'Skeletal Load' Reduces the Cost of Broadband New designs for fber management systems can squeeze more fber into smaller spaces and remove some of the "fat" from broadband costs. By Cheri Beranek / Clearfeld Inc. and Greg Johnson / Aeritae C arrying around excess fat stresses the human skeletal system, and reducing skeletal load is recommended as a way to stay strong and healthy. Broadband networks are no diferent. As more and more data is pushed through networks for dynamic storage and retrieval, central ofces expand rapidly, quickly consuming real estate. Te network strain extends beyond the capacity and redundancy of servers and switches to the physical media – the highway used to transfer the data around. SCALABILITy IS CRUCIAL TO COST-EffECTIvE GROwTh In the early days, when copper was king, fber counts were relatively small, so fber management was relatively easy. Devices such as 72-port panels were considered massive and were thought to accommodate all the fber anyone could possibly need. Te purpose of fber management is to consolidate, distribute and minimize risk of damage to fbers. Traditional fber management design always started with the box, which had to be big enough to hold as much fber as possible. Protecting and managing the fber was considered secondary, so boxes got larger, and more elaborate schemes were needed to protect the rat's nest that could result from cramming a box full. Te confguration was costly and not very fexible. "Modularity" meant growing things in large chunks: 96, 144 or even 288 ports at a time. 82 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | Traditional fber management was just overkill; it had too many needless components that drove up costs. Solutions that provide swinging bulkheads, sliding adapter plates and other nifty, sexy-looking features increase the risk of damage to fber. Tese design shortcuts provide easy access to fber, but the risk-reward ratio is out of sync. Moving fber is a bad thing. Careful attention must be paid to every element of the fber. One area of concern is the protection of bufer tubes. When an outsideplant cable is brought to a fber management device for splicing, it is typically prepped to allow for slack. Te outer jacket, shielding, paper wrappers, strength members and other protective parts are removed from a length of cable equal to the desired storage slack length, leaving only the bufer tubes, which are typically 2.5mm in diameter and house 250um fbers, usually in counts of 12. Te bufer tubes are then brought to a splice tray and spliced to another cable that continues the fber pathway to their destination. Te slack is left to allow for misburns, or mistakes in the splicing process, or for when the splice needs to be broken and respliced to another cable or another route path in the future. Most often, the splice is never touched again, but still, the slack has to fgure into the fber management scheme, and space must be allowed for proper radius of the stored cables – usually anywhere from 8 feet to 25 feet and sometimes more. It takes a lot of space, | March/april 2013

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