Broadband Communities

MAY-JUN 2014

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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64 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | | MAY/JUNE 2014 TECHNOLOGY Making Broadband Transparent Customers want the benefts of fber to the home, but they don't want damaged lawns or unsightly equipment on their property. New installation equipment and techniques make fber deployment close to invisible. By Brian Larson / Clearfeld Inc. I t should be no surprise that modern communications technology has profoundly changed people's lives. However, the sheer magnitude of that change surprised me when I recently counted up how many devices (computers, phones, tablets) were running in my fve-person household at any time, how much data we used monthly on our collective plans and how slowly everything works on my copper- based provider network when everybody in my house is online and competing for bandwidth. Now, I'm not unique in this regard, so I can understand why there is an increasing consumer demand for fber to the home and its promise of higher transmission speeds and greater bandwidth. Most people I know want a higher level of service than what is currently available to them. Tat said, upgrading to better service levels presents a challenge to installers and is a concern to customers living in fnished developments. Everybody wants bigger, better and faster service, but they don't want their landscaping torn up by heavy equipment during installations or maintenance or more green boxes taking up space in their yards. Future applications will need to ensure that consumers can get access to higher levels of service using physical infrastructure and installation methods that are minimally intrusive. RUGGED MICRODUCT AND PUSHABLE FIBER SOLUTIONS A relatively new advancement in the telecom world is the development of microducts or, as some call them, microconduits. Tese are smaller versions of the larger high-density polyethylene conduits that have been used in power and telecom installations for many years. Tese ducts can be made small in diameter yet strong, fexible and resistant to crushing and kinking. Tey are designed for easy installation and for compatibility with new installation methods and equipment such as microtrenching, small vibratory plows and directional boring. Most important, they can take a great deal of abuse while protecting the fber inside them. Tis brings me to pushable fber cable, another relatively new development. Tis cable is made of ruggedized, high-column-strength, low-friction jacket materials and bend- insensitive glass fber. It is designed specifcally to be pushed (by hand or with machine assist) or pulled through a prepositioned duct for a long distance between an access point and a home. Tis allows for very rapid installation of fber. Used together, microduct and pushable fber allow installers and network designers considerably more latitude in installation methods and equipment used, require less ground preparation and dislocation, and allow for faster installation times than traditional methods. All this adds up to a less intrusive experience for customers. A case in point: A recent residential install in a suburban location had very tight space restrictions. Between the access point (a BBC_May14.indd 64 5/29/14 9:19 AM

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