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This blog post is part of a series called “CommScope Definitions” in which we will explain common terms in communications network infrastructure.
Broadband and cable operators need to evolve their network architectures to keep up with their subscribers’ data demands. One way to do that is to push fiber deeper into a network. However, the cost of building and/or reconstructing a network creates the biggest challenge for them.
How can operators meet today’s infrastructure needs, creating a path for new growth, while reducing construction costs down the road? Deploy microducts.
Microducts are small conduits for housing microcables. CommScope microduct sizes include 10 mm, 12.7 mm and 16 mm that can house up to 144 fiber counts. Microducts can be used in fiber-to-the-home (FTTH), fiber-to-the-business, FTTX, long-haul, backhaul, premise fiber deployments and nearly any location where traditional conduit installations occur.
The advantage they provide is that microducts can be pre-installed within a larger conduit, or simply pushed into existing conduits already in place. Microducts can also be configured in arrays or multiple units as well as single ducts. Operators may solve today’s needs without microducts by pulling standard cables into an existing conduit, but pulling additional cables later may be difficult or, in some cases, impossible.
One microduct allows the operators to deploy up to 144 fibers today, while deploying additional microducts will provide pathways for future expansion. Each microduct can be coupled, allowing operators to jet cables at distances of thousands of feet in a single operation, while also minimizing splice points.
In addition to the space savings and expansion advantages provided by microducts, using microcables will also provide unforeseen benefits. Microcables enable operators to change the method in which they are installing the cables. The new smaller cables can be jetted at speeds exceeding 200 feet per minute. This methodology saves time and money. These smaller cables also allow for smaller enclosures, enabling operators to place them in most existing vaults and pedestals, saving additional time and money. Microducts and microfibers afford the compromise of cost today versus need in the future.
Key Takeaway: Microducts are small conduits for housing microcables that help operators push fiber deeper into their networks. Microducts can be pre-installed within a larger conduit, or simply pushed into existing conduits already in place. One microduct allows the operators to deploy up to 144 fibers today, while deploying additional microducts will provide pathways for future expansion.