Like With Real Estate, Protecting Cable Infrastructure is All About Location

Doug Wells_headshot Doug Wells February 6, 2013

Any broker will tell you the most important factor in real estate is location—the better the location, the better the value.

When you mention real estate in the broadband arena, location is just as important. In fact, choosing the right location might be one of the most important aspects in protectingyour infrastructure.

The devastation recently caused by Hurricane Sandy in the US demonstrated just how important it is to protect infrastructure. Parts of the New Jersey coastline were washed away and people lost power and communications for weeks. In today’s society, we remain in constant contact with friends and family by using mobile devices and the Internet; however, staying in touch with them becomes difficult when aerial cables and network infrastructures are destroyed because of storms like Sandy.

If you are a network service provider, fiber and coax is your lifeline. How do you protect that infrastructure from storms and other natural disasters?

Here’s a hint—it’s all about location.

One way to protect your infrastructure is to place it underground. Simply moving your coax and fiber plant underground and placing it in conduit is one of the easiest ways to protect that lifeline. Conduit makes your cable plant less vulnerable to the elements and can protect the valuable distribution and access portion of your network from various natural disasters including tornados, floods and blizzards, as well as man made damage from accidental dig ups and cuts.

Conduit only has to be between 36 and 48 inches below the surface. At that depth, you are well below the freeze line and conduit is resistant to water; however, there are other things you can do to protect your cables while it is in conduit.

Let’s say the conduit is breached because someone pierced it using heavy machinery. Armor jackets can be placed onto cables giving it additional protection. If there is a breach in the conduit and water does enter the pipe, water blocking tapes will absorb the moisture and swell up, preventing any further water migration while filling compounds in underground cable prevent water migration and act to seal small jacket cuts.

Conduit is not just for protecting cables from the elements. Placing your cables in conduit underground can also protect it from wildfires in rural areas (and we’ve seen enough of fires the past few years) and allows for quick and less expensive installation of replacement cables as networks grow and evolve.

Your infrastructure is so important—for your business as well as for your customers, especially in the case of emergencies. So, get your infrastructure in conduit and get it underground.

About the Author

Doug Wells_headshot

Doug Wells

Doug Wells is Vice President of Outside Plant (OSP) Solutions for CommScope Broadband Division. He has been with CommScope since 2007 in Product Management for Broadband cable products. Prior to joining CommScope, Doug held positions at Lucent Technologies and AT&T and focused on management of products, services and project delivery for telecommunications networks.