Now You See Optical Fiber — Now You Don’t

How do you make a great fiber optic solution even better? One way is to make the optical fiber less visible while also faster and easier to install.

The new InvisiLight® Indoor Living Unit (ILU) 600 Solution from OFS is setting a new benchmark for low-profile visibility. This new solution offers fast and virtually undetectable, indoor optical fiber installation for homes, offices, and multiple living units (MDUs).

To provide Wi-Fi coverage, Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) and Fiber-to-the-Business (FTTB) service providers often install compact Optical Network Terminals (ONTs) deep into subscriber homes and offices. This equipment can clash with the existing décor, upsetting customers, and also create deployment issues for installers. In fact, some customers actually cancel service orders when they realize that unsightly, conventional fiber optic cables or tapes will be installed in their homes. On top of this, tight spaces, corners, architectural features, and other factors can create barriers to indoor optical fiber deployments. Fortunately, the portfolio of InvisiLight Optical Solutions was specifically designed to help meet these challenges.

Launched in 2012, the original, award-winning InvisiLight ILU Solution offers installers an innovative and simple method for indoor optical fiber installation. The process involves adhering a 0.9 mm diameter optical fiber into either crevices along ceilings and walls or moldings and walls. The result is a protected optical fiber link that is virtually invisible.

While the InvisiLight 600 ILU Solution features an even smaller 0.6 mm optical fiber, it uses the same easy installation process and tools as the original InvisiLight Solution. And, with less than half the volume and weight, the InvisiLight 80×80 Module’s storage capacity is more than doubled from 10 to 25 meters (83 feet).

All InvisiLight products, including the ILU 600 Solution, feature leading-edge OFS EZ-Bend® Optical Fiber. This fiber’s 2.5 mm minimum bend radius easily handles the sharp corners often encountered when installers conform optical fiber to a building.

In fact, in a recent field trial in Europe, an InvisiLight Solution received excellent feedback, including:

We’re a big fan of EZ-Bend. I am amazed at some of the runs we have used it on with no apparent losses

(extreme bends, harsh pulls etc.).” – UK Service Provider

 

This is the best indoor solution we have seen. Adhesive and cable are very easy to work with. Cannot

believe the low loss measured. The end customer is impressed.” –  Large Ireland Network Services

Company and Ireland Service Provider

Rollable Ribbon Fiber Optic Cable Keeps on Rolling

Searching for a highly-dense fiber optic cable solution with a familiar, cost-effective central core design? Then look no further than the AccuRoll™ Dry Core (DC) Rollable Ribbon (RR) Fiber Optic Cable.

The newest member of the OFS outside plant (OSP) rollable ribbon fiber optic cable line, the AccuRoll DC RR Cable offers twice the fiber density of comparable, standard flat ribbon cables in a smaller and lighter-weight cable. And, this cable is the first and only central core rollable ribbon design that features familiar linear strength elements and a protective central core tube. This core tube delivers enhanced safety for the rollable ribbons beyond that offered by other flexible ribbon cables.

What Are Rollable Ribbons?                                                                                                                                                               The AccuRoll DC RR Cable features rollable ribbons, the most exciting technology breakthrough in OSP cabling in years. This technology literally doubles the density of a fiber optic cable while reducing that same cable’s size and weight.

Rollable ribbons are formed by partially bonding individual 250 micron optical fibers to each other at predetermined points. These flexible ribbons can be rolled into very tight bundles for twice the density. Inside the fiber optic cable, rollable ribbons behave much like traditional ribbons, allowing highly efficient splicing using traditional flat ribbon splicing machines and procedures. The rollable ribbons can also be easily broken out into single or multiple fibers and routed.

Why the AccuRoll DC RR Cable?                                                                                                                                                             As fiber counts rise, but duct space and cable storage remain at a premium, smaller, lighter weight, and more flexible rollable ribbon cables are an excellent alternative to traditional flat ribbon cable technologies.

Available with 144 to 432 fibers in both metallic and dielectric designs, there’s an AccuRoll DC RR Cable to meet the needs of your application. These fiber optic cables are an excellent choice for connecting data centers or in underground, direct buried, and lashed aerial deployments.

Think about it: doubling your network’s fiber density means doubling your transmission capacity, doubling your capability, and doubling your ability to get the job done.

“EZ-Terminate It” with the FITEL® EZ-Terminator® Tool

Searching for an innovative fiber optic termination tool or kit? Then look no further: the FITEL EZ-Terminator tool is here.

The newest member of the FITEL Connectivity Solutions portfolio, the EZ-Terminator connector termination tool uses a simple, one-step operation and user-friendly interface to achieve the highest-quality terminations, quickly and under the most demanding conditions.

This handheld connector termination tool combines portability with a ruggedized body to provide the maximum accessibility and powerful performance needed for use in Multiple Dwelling Unit (MDU) and Single-Family Unit (SFU) installations. In addition, the EZ-Terminator tool’s industry-first, patented, removable V-groove allows easy cleaning and optical maintenance.

The EZ-Terminator connector termination tool is designed for use with Splice On Connector (SOC) solutions, and is essential for any termination project.  This tool’s features and benefits include:

  • User-Friendly Design – The wide operation chamber offers easy optical fiber loading and connector assembly;
  • Simple Operation – The design allows one-touch operation and pre-installed programs for error-free SOC fiber termination projects;
  • Excellent Visibility – Three LED lights illuminate the entire operating chamber with more than 300 Lux. This intense bright light is critical to performing connector terminations in low-light environments.
  • Industry-First, Patented, Removable V-Groove – The industry’s only removable V-groove makes cleaning and optimal maintenance easy to achieve in only minutes and with no tools. This capability reduces downtime and supports optical performance.

Combined with a variety of EZ!Fuse™ SOC Components, the EZ-Terminator connector termination tool helps to save both time and money by delivering optical loss performance and yields that substantially surpass those of currently-available mechanical connectors. And, on top of this, the large battery capacity can achieve 100 termination/heating cycles on a single charge, providing installers with portability without sacrificing performance.

The EZ-Terminator connector termination tool’s simple, error-free operation and powerful, consistent performance make it a must-have for any fiber termination project where the highest-quality, repeatable results are critical.

And don’t forget to check out our termination tool kits

Fiber Optic Solutions for the Home (FTTH)

Connecting the Home

Fiber to the Home (FTTH) is becoming increasingly more common as bandwidth usage is exploding. This tremendous growth is driven in part by the rapid increase in Internet-connected devices and the use of data-heavy applications such as video on demand. Service providers are working to meet this need for greater bandwidth by expanding the deployment of fiber optic cables to the premises and then into the home.

Service providers building these networks all face a common challenge: the expense of the last mile in the optical network. It is critical for service providers, utilities and municipalities to have an optimized set of deployment options that help to reduce both capital and operational expenses.

The solutions presented in this article meet these challenges with several fiber deployment options from the drop point to and into the home.

OFS FTTx Solutions for the Home can help residents take advantage of the Internet of Things (IoT), which is beginning to redefine how we work and live. These solutions focus on simplicity, cost-effectiveness and speed of installation, along with the pre- and post-installation customer experience, time to revenue generation and reliable subscriber connections that help to improve profitability for the service provider.

>> Download the Full Guide Now

PRE-TERMINATED vs. FIELD-TERMINATED DROPS

Pre-terminated drop solutions are increasingly used to install fiber to homes to save time and money in higher labor cost regions. Pre-terminated drop solutions consist of drop cables that are terminated and tested in the factory, and easily plugged into the drop terminal and home terminal in the field. Pre-terminated solutions offer lower costs and faster deployment and require less installation skill.

For low labor cost markets, field terminated solutions may be preferred. Field terminated solutions use drop cables which are terminated using fusion splicing or mechanical connectors in the field during installation. They offer easier inventory management, lower material costs and easier slack management, but take longer to install and require more highly skilled labor, along with expensive field termination tools and splicing machines, when compared to pre-terminated solutions.

A third approach, with one end of the drop cable pre-terminated, and the other end field terminated, can solve the slack issue and allow an easy plug-in to the drop terminal and field termination at the home.

OFS offers all three of these drop solution options to fit the unique needs of each service provider. OFS pre-terminated solutions are available with EZ- Bend® cables that can solve the slack management challenge. EZ-Bend fiber optic cables enable the slack to be tied into a very compact bundle.

Providers typically use a combination of aerial and underground solutions to connect the last mile in a network to individual homes. A variety of factors including climate and existing infrastructure can influence solution selection.

>> Download the Full Guide Now

CONNECTING OPTICAL FIBER TO THE HOME

OFS offers a complete portfolio of aerial and underground solutions including terminals, integrated splitters and drop cables to connect to the demarcation point of individual homes. From that location, a number of solutions can be leveraged to take optical fiber into the home.

Aerial deployment is typically lower in cost and preferred where poles are in place near homes. In this scenario, a SlimBox® Drop Terminal is installed on a pole, with or without splitters, and then connected by a drop cable to as many as 16 homes. Below grade drop deployment is preferred if there is an existing duct placed from the terminal location to the home, or if below grade cabling is required by local regulations.

First, an installer inserts a feeder or distribution cable into the terminal. The installer then extracts the number of fibers required and fusion splices them to a pre-terminated splitter or drop fiber. Aerial or underground drop cables are then deployed from the terminal to individual residences.

In the case of aerial cables, a drop cable is placed between the pole and a point near a home’s roof. The cable can be connected to a demarcation box and installed into the home through the attic or onto the side of the house at a demarcation box near the ground. To help avoid unsightly aerial cables, an aerial terminal can be connected to an underground drop cable. For aerial deployments, OFS offers the one to 24-fiber Mini LT Flat Drop Cable and the single-fiber Mini TB Flat Drop cable which contains 3 mm cordage that can be routed directly to an Optical Network Terminal (ONT).

>> Download the Full Guide Now

Underground drop cable options include the single-fiber EZ-Bend® 3.0 mm and 4.8 mm Ruggedized Cables and EZ-Bend Toneable Cables. The toneable cables enable easy above ground locating of buried cables to help avoid cable cuts when other underground systems are installed. These drop cables are installed from the aerial terminal down the pole to the ground, and are then buried to minimize disruption to landscaping, or pulled into existing duct. The cable is then connected into a demarcation box installed at the side of the house, ideally in a location close to the ONT on the inside.

EZ-Bend cables are preferred since their 2.5 mm bend radius allows the cables to be coiled, bent and tied without creating signal degradation. These cables can also be buried or stapled/clipped and bent around the outer perimeter walls of a home to reach an entry point closer to the preferred ONT location.

New home construction offers a win-win situation for construction companies and service providers. With the ability to “build in” optical fiber connectivity, new homes are futureproofed from the beginning, real estate values increase, and new home owners can become immediate subscribers without the expense of additional installation time. .

Subscribers can be connected faster using preterminated cables installed to and into homes during construction. OFS offers EZ-Bend 3.0 mm and 4.8 mm cables that can be installed independently or in ducts using typical home wiring techniques, such as stapling or zip-tying of the cables, to a location or media panel where the ONT would be later placed. The home owner can later perform a “self install” by receiving an ONT from the service provider, and simply plugging in an EZ-Bend cable assembly and a power adapter to the ONT. OFS also provides a SlimBox Wall Plate that discretely blends into a home’s décor and facilitates ONT connections in the same way as a power outlet.

Existing Homes can pose a challenge to network installers, given the wide variety of possible building architectures. In addition, home designs and construction materials can vary greatly from country to country and even within countries. OFS solutions are purposefully designed and optimized to suit a variety of homes globally and offer maximum flexibility to on-site installers.
Depending on the target market, a provider can choose the terminals and drop cables for an aerial, underground or hybrid solution. The solutions described are the most popular options and feature a variety of products as building block components. This modular product design approach allows service providers to also create custom solutions to meet the specific needs of their target markets.

>> Download the Full Guide Now

When Optical Fiber Arrives

Using optical fiber networks, people can access and share information at an amazing level. They can communicate, work and learn from virtually anywhere there’s an Internet connection. For people in rural communities that lack wireless or broadband services, their ability to obtain information is clearly unequal. Even getting a signal for a cellphone or laptop can mean driving miles to a more populated area. Life is much easier with an available high-speed optical fiber network.

 

Leveling the Playing Field

Implementing optical fiber helps to “level the playing field” by providing more equal access to information and opportunities for rural residents. In reality, optical fiber and wireless services can transform rural communities.

 

When optical fiber arrives, one obvious plus is being able to access a cell signal from home. That wireless service requires optical fiber, which acts as the nervous system of a network. Fiber to the Tower and Fiber to the Building lay the actual groundwork for wireless communications including LTE and 4G, and soon to come 5G. The benefits of this connectivity can be seen in three distinct areas as follows.

 

Rural Healthcare

Digital revolution through high-speed optical fiber Internet helps medical facilities provide better treatment for patients in rural areas in a number of ways, including:

  • Physicians can search files, consult with specialists and use remote diagnostics and alternative healthcare delivery methods;
  • Healthcare professionals may use connected devices to directly monitor and care for patients;
  • Patients practice “self-care” by accessing health-related information on the Internet.

Education

Teachers need optical fiber connectivity for video lectures and e-learning that can be widely shared. Students also need access to home Internet to complete homework and expand their learning. Colleges and universities require high-speed optical fiber Internet access to stay competitive and ensure their degree programs stay relevant.

 

Growth in Rural Communities

With 25% of rural residents lacking Internet access, fiber optic infrastructure build-outs are still needed. More people move into rural areas when they can maintain their standard of living. When optical fiber connectivity is optimal, existing or new businesses can reach and attract highly-qualified employees no matter where they live.

 

In rural areas where high-speed Internet is available, even small businesses and farms can benefit. The Internet of Things (IoT), another product of this digital revolution, makes Smart Farming possible. By applying sensing technologies through Smart Farming, farmers can practice more precise and scientific agriculture that results in increasingly bountiful, high-quality harvests.

Need Premises Fiber Optic Cable? Go Small and Dense!

When you need a fiber-dense yet compact cabling solution for high-bandwidth, high-density applications, look to the R-Pack™ Rollable Ribbon (RR) Backbone Fiber Optic Cable. As the newest member of our award-winning Premises Rollable Ribbon cable portfolio, this cable marks a key step forward in premises building cable innovation.

 

Doubling the Density

Combining plenum-rated materials with OFS rollable ribbons creates a very compact, yet robust and fiber-dense cable. By featuring rollable ribbons, the latest OFS optical fiber technology, the R-Pack RR Backbone Cable offers twice the fiber density when compared to a traditional flat ribbon premises cable. The result is a reduced diameter, fiber-dense cable that helps customers to substantially improve fiber routing and save on space in congested pathways.

 

What are Rollable Ribbons?

To form rollable ribbons, 250 micron fibers are partially bonded to each other at intermittent points. Rollable ribbon cables offer the advantages of both loose fibers and traditional flat fiber ribbons in one fiber optic cable. These ribbons can be rolled and routed similarly to individual bare fibers and can also be spliced like traditional fiber ribbons.  Rollable ribbons promote efficient and cost-effective mass fusion splicing while also offering easy breakout of individual fibers. These capabilities can help simplify cable installation, save on splicing time and costs and get a new data center or building deployment up and running quickly.

 

Versatile Cable

While the R-Pack RR Backbone Cable meets stringent Telcordia GR-409 standards for horizontal backbone applications, its plenum construction also meets NFPA 202 requirements for use in a number of demanding building applications, such as routing through ladder racking and raceways.  This fiber optic cable can also be used in numerous other application spaces or even to construct assemblies.

 

Featuring 24, 48 or 72 optical fibers in a versatile design, the R-Pack RR Backbone Fiber Optic Cable is a natural choice for use in Data Centers, Central Offices and Fiber-to-the-Business applications.

 

The Incredible Shrinking, Double-Density Fiber Optic Cable

As everyone uses more bandwidth than ever before, today’s networks require more optical fiber in less space. To help address this need, OFS introduced Fortex™ 2DT Fiber Optic Cable, the newest addition to the completely gel-free Fortex DT Cable product line.

 

Fiber Optic Cable: Getting Smaller and More Dense

Fortex 2DT Cable is the industry’s first fully Telcordia GR-20-rated, totally gel-free, loose tube fiber optic cable to feature 200 micron (µm) optical fiber. This fiber literally doubles the fiber count in the cable buffer tubes, significantly increasing fiber density. And, by using AllWave®+ 200 Micron ZWP Single-Mode Fiber, this fiber optic cable also offers more efficient use of network pathways.

 

Just as importantly, the Fortex 2DT Cable design reduces cable outer diameters by up to 18% and areas by up to 32%. This smaller outer cable diameter increases the efficient use of duct and subducts. Plus, cables with reduced outer diameters allow longer continuous cable reel lengths, which can result in fewer splices needed. In a deployment over long distances, less splicing can help create substantial cost savings.

 

Lighter is Better

The Fortex 2DT Cable is also lighter in weight. This lower weight can help to reduce cable pulling tensions which can increase cable pulling lengths. These increased pulling lengths can, in turn, help to save on installation time and costs. For aerial deployments, a lighter-weight cable can also decrease the loads on poles.

 

A Fiber Optic Cable Design for Your Application

The Fortex 2DT Cable product line features single jacket, light armor and armored cable options. These cables are available with up to 288 fibers in Telcordia GR-20 Issue 4 compliant cable designs. While the single jacket cable is an excellent choice for duct, lashed aerial and general outside plant (OSP) installations, the light armor and armored cables feature a layer of rugged electrolytically chrome-coated steel (ECCS) armor. The armored cable also includes an inner polyethylene (PE) jacket. With these added features, the light armor and armored cables offer extra durable crush resistance for more demanding OSP applications, including direct buried in challenging environments.

 

>> View our complete line of Fiber Optic Cable

 

Celebrating Women and Girls in Science

Today the United Nations, its partners and women and girls around the world are marking the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

 

Recent studies suggest that 65 per cent of children entering primary school today will have jobs that do not yet exist. While more girls are attending school than ever before, girls are significantly underrepresented in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) subjects in many settings. They also appear to lose interest in STEM subjects as they reach adolescence. In addition, less than 30 percent of researchers worldwide are women.

 

As a step forward in reversing these trends, the April 2018 National Math and Science Initiative’s “Yes, She Did” campaign honored female STEM inventors. During the campaign, teachers, students, grandmothers and education enthusiasts voted fiber optic cable as the most impactful woman-influenced innovation.

 

One of the women highlighted in the campaign is Shirley Jackson, the first African-American woman to earn a doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the first African-American woman to be awarded the National Medal of Science. She is credited with scientific research that enabled the invention of such things as the portable fax, touch-tone telephone, solar cells and fiber optic cable.

 

“It’s madness that women aren’t always recognized for their STEM contributions,” the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) wrote in introducing its social media audiences to the women behind eight highly impactful innovations. In addition to fiber optic cable, NMSI highlighted the women behind the circular saw, Laserphaco probe, dishwasher, Kevlar® Fiber, modern home security system, computer programming and NASA’s space bumper.

 

“Fiber optic cable shrunk the global marketplace and now everything’s connected real-time to be faster, better, stronger,” said NMSI Chief Information Officer Rick Doucette.

 

On this International Day of Women and Girls in Science, let’s change the trends on women in science and technology. Join us in celebrating women and girls who are leading innovation and call for actions to remove all barriers that hold them back.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fiber to the Home Growth Keeps Exploding

Smart Home App ConnectivityThe growth in Fiber to the Home (FTTH) just keeps exploding. In fact, for the first time ever, optical fiber passed DSL in home usage during 2018. Fiber is now the second most-frequent connection for North American home Internet.

And FTTH is also the second most-often-used, fixed broadband connection medium in North America. A newly-issued report from the Fiber Broadband Association (FBA) and RVA, LLC featured these statistics.

Fiber Passes xDSL

As of September 2018, the report found that all-fiber access networks surpassed xDSL connections. Almost 60 million homes were FTTH service capable and 23.8 million homes were already connected. These totals represent an increase of 22% from 2017 in terms of “homes marketed.” According to RVA, “homes marketed” depicts market potential more meaningfully than “homes passed” by fiber.

Unsurprisingly, 40.8 million of these homes are in the United States. Another 5.6 million homes are in Canada, 13.1 million in Mexico and 350,000 in the Caribbean.

In terms of the United States, new homes marketed hit a record high of 5.9 million in 2018. Of the 40.8 million homes marketed, the report calls 39.2 million “unique.” This term refers to homes that do not have more than one all-fiber operator seeking their business. Overall. FTTH connects 18.4 million homes in the U.S. Tier 1 telco operators account for 72.6% of these connections. Tier 2 and 3 operators handle 10.3%, and cable operators account for 5.5% of U.S. FTTH connections.

Canada Picks up the Pace

Canadian operators may be rolling out optical fiber faster than U.S. companies, at least in terms of homes marketed compared to total homes. However, FTTH still has a way to go to threaten hybrid fiber/coax (HFC). HFC still delivers slightly more than 50% of broadband connections in North America and FTTH provides not quite 25%.

Fiber is on Fire

According to Lisa R. Youngers, president and CEO of FBA, “The fiber industry is on fire. Fiber holds the key for next-generation connectivity, from 5G to smart cities to the Internet of Things (IOT). This research and analysis helps keep the industry, consumers and policymakers informed about FBA’s progress toward a better-connected future.”

The “Wet Net” World of Underwater Fiber Optic Cables

You panic when even a few drops of water fall on your laptop. Everyone knows that water and electronics don’t “mix.” That’s why it seems so ironic that most of the Internet’s “hard” infrastructure lies underwater on the ocean floor.

Virtually all global data travels through millions of miles of submarine fiber optic cables beneath the ocean’s surface. More than 350 submarine cable lines stretch from the U.S. West Coast to the East Coast, with many more being deployed around the world.

Installing submarine fiber optic cables deep on the ocean floor is time consuming and expensive. While special ships deploy the cable, ocean divers repair and maintain the network. And even with thick, protective jackets, there are many ways to damage a cable. Some destructive forces include ship anchors, commercial fishing equipment, earthquakes, hurricanes and even sinister interference. (more…)