Making Fiber Connections a Simple Operation

Wiring up a fiber/power junction box on a cell tower is like the game Operation, only there isn’t a buzzer that goes off when you’ve made a mistake. Instead, the remote radio units won’t work right or performance will be degraded in some manner. In today’s blog post, Chris Stockman introduces CommScope’s latest solution, HELIAX FiberFeed Direct, for making fiber connections a more simple operation.

HELIAX FiberFeed DirectDid you ever play the game Operation as a child? For those of you who are not familiar with it, Operation is a popular board game that allows kids to pretend to be surgeons. Using a tweezer, a player tries to remove a spleen or other organ from the “patient” whose image is drawn on the board. The board has a battery-powered buzzer connected to the openings around the organs. If the tweezer hits the opening, the buzzer goes off, startling everyone and causing the player to lose his/her turn. The buzzer causes no pain, but I remember how much anxiety was produced trying to keep your hand steady to avoid touching it off.

Operation reminds me a bit of what it can be like wiring up a fiber/power junction box on a cell tower. The junction box is where a hybrid fiber and power trunk cable terminates at the top of the tower. Each fiber run and power line gets wired into the junction box. From there, hybrid cabling travels out to the remote radio units (RRUs) that ultimately connect to the base station antennas. Sounds a little complicated, right? It is. And imagine doing the wiring of that junction box while tied to climbing and safety ropes on a tower with the wind blowing, in extreme temperatures or in any number of uncomfortable climate conditions.

That’s what makes me think of the game Operation. Only there is no buzzer that goes off when you don’t wire the junction box correctly. Instead, the RRUs won’t work right, or performance is degraded for subscribers, and you likely need to climb back up to fix the problem, costing more time and money. The ramifications are a little greater in real-life than in a board game.

The complexity of wiring junction boxes is part of the reason why CommScope is offering a new alternative to them—the breakout canister. Part of the new HELIAX FiberFeed Direct solution, the breakout canister comes pre-wired on the end of the hybrid trunk cable. The power and fiber tails can easily be plugged right into the RRUs, foregoing the need to wire up a junction box. The intended result is much easier installations with more reliable results.

HELIAX FiberFeed Direct will mate to any RRU model, reducing the number of overall connections and cutting fiber installation time by half. CommScope believes its FiberFeed Direct customers will also realize about a third less tower loading due to the canister’s physical size.

In the meantime, are there any questions about FiberFeed Direct that I can answer?