I ’m sure you’re wondering where I got the number to that question. To find the answer, let’s take a step back and look at the world we live in. It is incredibly diverse and there are lots of big numbers to support that question. At this time, the planet Earth is home to:
- 196 countries
- More than 5,000 ethnic groups
- Approximately 4,200 religions
- 7,106 languages
With those numbers in mind, it seems that anyone wanting to become a polyglot (master of multiple languages) would be quite difficult, right? As a global company, CommScope is present in more than 150 countries and many of our people can be considered polyglots. This is good for our customers and partners. At the end of the day, a little more than five percent of the world speaks English as their native tongue (green map) and just six percent speak it as a second language. We should not forget that Mandarin Chinese and Spanish exceed those figures.
New technologies are being introduced at a rapid pace. It seems like PCs, mobile phones and tablets have been around forever. It seems like every couple of weeks, we see advertisements for a new computing/communication device that processes data at faster speeds than current models. Networks that, only a short time ago, bragged about being able to transmit at kilobit speeds are now testing at gigabit and terabit speeds for future networks.
Where will it end? It won’t. Refining processes and improving performance has been the driving force of research and development throughout the 21st century. If anything, the pace is likely to quicken.
Well, more than 25 years ago, the systems engineers in the cabling section of Bell Labs (now part of CommScope) proposed the use of existing unshielded twisted pair (UTP) cable plant for data applications and pioneered the BALUN, allowing many data applications requiring coaxial cable or shielded twisted pair (STP) to run over the telephone wires of the time. This concept became the basis for the SYSTIMAX cabling system.
Many people might feel that it is interesting to
see how breakthrough technologies get adopted and how some can become so valued
that they could be considered as vital as a home utility. There are compelling
applications driving them to become part of our everyday lives. In the case of
electricity, indoor lighting was the initial driver; however, when electricity
was brought to all buildings and home, all manner of new electrical appliances
were invented to take advantage of this new technology.
Some of the things I own seem to be especially capable of hiding in plain sight. Eyeglasses are notoriously good at this. Sometimes it’s just best to go to bed, trusting that I will find them the next morning in the most obvious place I was sure I had checked the night before. This also goes for any item (screwdriver, bottle cap, half-eaten cookie) I might set aside for just a moment while attending to something else.
An Interference Mitigation Filter (IMF) is pretty good at hiding, too. You may think of an IMF as simply a filter in a gray box with a connector on each end. When you insert it in the RF path, interference is attenuated – rejected, if you prefer – while the useful signal passes through with minimal attenuation. You are correct, of course – an IMF is a kind of filter. But it is also much more than just a gray box in the RF path.
This blog post is part of a new series called CommScope Definitions, in which common communication network industry terms are explained.
A Passive Optical Network (PON) is a versatile technology that it can be deployed by various network operators who want to deliver advanced voice, video and data services to their users / subscribers using fiber optic cables. PON is the most popular of the methods used to provide fiber-to-the-home (FTTH), fiber-to-the-desk (FTTD), fiber-to-the-MDU (FTTMdu), fiber-to-the-business (FTTB) and the host of other FTTx locations.
A PON fiber optic access network consists of three pieces as shown in the following diagram:
- an optical line terminal (OLT) at the service provider’s central office (headend/hub)
- a number of optical network units (ONU) located near end users. If you have fiber optics coming into your home, you probably have an ONU somewhere in your house. ONUs are frequently called ONT (optical network terminals)
- an optical distribution network (ODN) connecting the OLT and ONU together
As the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and other government agencies strive to reduce capital and operational expenses associated with new and existing network infrastructure, they are increasingly looking to Passive Optical Networks (PON) to meet those challenges. The DoD is researching the viability of PON for a triple-play architecture (data, video and voice) that will improve network performance and reduce the overall life-cycle cost to maintain and operate over the same fiber optic cable media using coarse wavelength division multiplexing (CWDM).
PON meets the demand for reducing capital expense in network switching equipment and supporting cabling infrastructure. Fewer active network components result in reduced operating expenses for the powering and cooling of those devices as well as a reduction in space requirements for housing distribution layer switches contributing to overall life-cycle cost savings. PON is a highly-scalable point-to-multipoint fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) network architecture that uses optical splitters allowing one strand of single-mode optical fiber to serve multiple users. The active equipment supporting a PON is the optical line terminal (OLT) and the optical network units (ONUs), also referred to as optical network terminals (ONTs), providing the end-user interface. Unlike traditional distributed Ethernet, PON uses single-mode fibers originating from OLT ports to passive optical splitters connecting to the ONUs. The fiber and passive components between the OLT and ONUs is often simply referred to as the optical distribution network (ODN). Splitters are most often deployed in telecommunications closets or distributed in a zone cabling system impacting the cable plant.
Do you know what your fiber is capable of? Cabling infrastructure is not only the foundation of your network and will continue being so, but it is also a key investment to serve your company’s needs for years to come. In the past, we thought of it as the pathway for voice, data and building administration systems. Today, we know it is capable of a lot more; such as providing an efficient nervous system for the indoor wireless network.
Whether you are assessing the requirements for a new fiber network or reconsidering what is within your reach with the existing one, do you know what would be your starting point? If it is already deployed, you could get a field tester and check its optical performance according to standards as well as the applications your fiber link or channel actually supports.
CommScope had an outstanding year in 2014, with financial and operational highlights throughout the organization. All that and more are covered in the company’s just-released 2014 annual report and Form 10-K, available for viewing and download.
The report, titled “Your Network Runs on CommScope,” contains a shareholder letter from President and Chief Executive Officer Eddie Edwards, a handy at-a-glance chart describing CommScope’s business segments, and insights from our three business segment leaders on some of the trends and issues they expect will impact the world’s network operators. And, of course, the Form 10-K provides extensive detail into the company’s overall business operations and financials.
Attending my first National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE) show this year, I appreciated the good turn-out and friendly atmosphere. In an industry noted for getting things done, I was impressed by the focus on safety. Many vendors were showcasing the latest harnesses, safety clamps, and hard-hats—all of which appeared to be protective, comfortable and cool-looking to wear.
The focus on safety had me thinking about how we promote safety at CommScope, particularly in my area of fiber-to-the-antenna (FTTA) and traditional feeder solutions. Our feeder products work as a whole solution, where it is as important to use the correct accessories as it is to use the best quality feeder cables. Make sure you are thinking about cabling from a “systems” perspective.
My dad loves to tell me stories of his days as a
traveling salesperson. Every Monday morning, he would leave the house with a
trunk full of brochures and product samples to make his rounds, shaking hands
with customers to introduce what he was selling that week.
Educating the customer was fairly simple and usually
involved a brief talk followed by a brochure that was left behind for customers
to read and keep on their desks for reference. When the afternoon would arrive,
my dad would call his office from a payphone to get his messages for the day.
No one expected an immediate call back; 24 hours was an impressive turn-around.
Sometime in the early 1980s, something changed. He got a pager.
Now, he was expected to respond to every message the same day. Soon afterward, cell
phones took the place of pagers and my dad was able to respond within a few
hours, and then minutes.