Broadband Communities

MAR-APR 2018

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 | B R O A D B A N D C O M M U N I T I E S | w w w. b r o a d b a n d c o m m u n i t i e s . c o m | M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 1 8 Fiber: Your Questions Answered Do you want to know how far you can suspend fiber? Or how tight you can bend it? Or what role it plays in the wireless world? CommScope's Mike Cooper has the answers to these questions and more. By Mike Cooper / CommScope I n my 25 years in the telecommunications industry, I've gotten a fair number of questions about fiber. Many of these questions are the same no matter where in the world I am. I've rounded up a few of the most- asked here. What are your questions? 1. Will fiber be the best solution to connect cellular network radios in the future? e consensus is that mobile network operators will opt for fiber as the preferred technology for backhaul and fronthaul to cellular network radios wherever possible because of ever-increasing bandwidth requirements today and into the future. e density of radios for future cellular networks will drive the requirement for network convergence between wired and wireless traffic and increase the need for fiber network solutions that provide the density, accessibility and flexibility to support multiple applications needed for the future. Another major goal is to reduce power usage and optimize space utilization at towers. Many operators are now transitioning to C-R AN (centralized R AN) architecture – and fiber is key to the transition. In a C-R AN configuration, baseband units (BBUs) are moved away from the bottom of each tower and into central offices or BBU pooling locations, which can be located many miles away. At the central office, the BBUs from multiple cell sites are pooled and connected to the remote radio head via fronthaul connectivity (to carry data from the cell sites to the BBU pool) and backhaul (to carry data from the BBUs back to the core network). C-R AN offers an effective way to increase the capacity, reliability and flexibility of the network while lowering operational costs. It is also a necessary step along the path to cloud-R AN, in which the BBU functionality will become virtualized. Cloud-R AN will allow for great elasticity and scalability for future network requirements. 2. Over how long a span can I suspend self- supporting fiber? Most self-supporting fiber optic cables can mechanically withstand the loads of longer distances than are typically specified for each cable. However, the span lengths are often limited by the strain placed on the fiber optic glass inside the cable and/or by the minimum clearance requirements that the National Electric Safety Code (NESC) provides. Within each NESC loading category (heavy, medium and light), CommScope The consensus is that mobile network operators will opt for fiber as the preferred technology for backhaul and fronthaul to cellular network radios wherever possible.

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