The optical fiber network infrastructures
installed today will typically see four generations of transmission systems
over the network’s expected lifetime. As recent history has shown, the amount
of data traffic these networks will carry will increase dramatically and
In principle, optical
fibers offer a tremendous amount of potential transmission bandwidth or
capacity. Maximizing transmission capacity requires optimized fiber designs and
communication techniques, which have been developed during the past few decades
in multiple steps.
CLICK TO TWEET: FTTx is pushing what's possible. CommScope's James Donovan blogs about fiber connectors and the Infrastructure Academy's course.
are also built to last for decades and they need to support, without
interruption or failure, increasingly heavy traffic at higher bandwidths. Some
factors that contribute to the network’s reliability and longevity include the
need for good fiber/cable management and highly reliable connections throughout
the network. That’s why development of optimized fiber optic cabling and
connectivity directly impacts operators’ network considerations.
single-mode optical fibers are designed to operate with wavelengths ranging
from 1260 nanometers (nm) up to 1650 nm. Below 1260 nm, the fiber behaves as a
multi-mode fiber, while above 1675 nm, the fiber glass material starts to
absorb the light. Bends in the fiber cause an attenuation increase at the longer
wavelengths (above 1550 nm).
ITU-T G.657 bend
were introduced in fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) roll outs, attention to
installation quality and management of fibers and cables seemed to disappear.
At the time, it was assumed that using bend insensitive fibers in FTTH Passive
Optical Network architectures meant that relaxed patch cord specifications and
less fiber management were permissible.
“looser” specifications allowed operators to employ crews with lower technical
skills in building out their FTTH network. Less-skilled crews, however, meant
even greater attention must be given to selection of materials and to network
top of that, many FTTH network business cases were calculated to have pay-back
in shorter timeframes and focused primarily on initial costs. This resulted in
reduced specifications (at 1310 nm and 1550 nm only) of optical fiber cables
and optical connectors and reduced attention to installation practices
(uncontrolled bends in stored fibers).
pressure and expectations from both business and residential customers
increases, technology must evolve. In recent years, standards and technologies
have opened a wider portion of the fiber transmission spectrum to assure that networks
are built to last, even when new transmission equipment or systems are added to
that contribute to reliability and longevity include the need for reliable
connections and good fiber/cable management systems throughout the network. To
survive and grow, operators need to build networks with an eye to future
requirements – change will happen, that is certain. What form the change will
take is less clear, but future use of a wider spectrum of wavelengths is a
from the past such as training crews to handle fiber properly, using solutions
supporting correct cable management, using connectors with the right
performance specification, provide both short- and long-term benefits to
operators and customers alike.
learn more about fiber optic cables and connectors, consider taking the WR9422 FTTx Cables
and Connector Fundamentals course.
If you are involved in the design or installation of FTTx solutions and
wish to improve your knowledge and working practices, this course is for you.