Note: As part of its 40th anniversary observance, the CommScope team set out to identify the top 40 innovations that have come from CommScope (or one of its acquired companies) over the past 40 years. We are unveiling the innovations chosen for the Top 40 on CommScope Blogs through early January. Read more about the overall program and selection process in this November 4 post.
We continue today with our unveiling of innovations—in alphabetical order—that are ranked 11-20. You can see a list of the Top 40 innovations already revealed on our 40th anniversary page. As our 40th anniversary year draws to a close, we hope you enjoy looking back at what we think are our top innovations—ones that have helped build the world’s infrastructure of today and tomorrow.
Have an opinion about or connection to any of the innovations? Leave a comment below.
CommScope’s Top 40 Innovations—Grouping 11-20
Definition: Rapid Reel is a technology that stores fiber
cable on a spool to allow installers faster deployment, using as little or as
much cable as they need to connect between distribution points. This eliminates
the need to measure or special-order fixed-length micro cables.
Year of Innovation: 2007
What is the
innovation that CommScope or one of its acquired companies was first in
ADC created the Rapid Reel technology to use in wall boxes for
multi-dwelling units (MDUs), which was later adapted for patch panels in the
central office and data centers. In 2010, Rapid Reel was again re-engineered
for the Outside Plant.
Rapid Fiber Panel Series with patented Rapid Reel technology
stores up to 200 feet of fiber optic cable on an internal spool inside the
Rapid Fiber panel. This allows equipment installers to use as much or as little
cable as they need to connect the Rapid Fiber panel to a fiber frame or a piece
of active electronic equipment in a central office, data center or cell site. When
used with an external spool of cable, Rapid Reel technology can manage up to 1,000
feet of cable.
Rapid Reel technology eliminates the need to measure for and
order fixed-length intra facility cable (IFC) micro cables. It also solves the slack
storage problem because any unused cable is stored on the internal reel. Otherwise,
patch panels don’t have room for slack storage, and installers end up attaching
loops of slack cable to the backs of equipment racks.
What was happening in
the market that this innovation was needed?
Every network incorporates active electronic equipment that
must be connected through a series of frames and patch panels. Installation is
one of the biggest expenses for data centers, central offices or cell sites.
Network operators were looking for ways to streamline the installation process,
reduce installation costs and speed up installation activities.
How did this
innovation benefit customers and the industry?
With Rapid Reel technology, network technicians no longer
have to make multiple visits to a site to do an installation. Before Rapid Reel
technology, technicians had to visit a site to measure the distance between a
patch panel and the piece of equipment they wanted to connect. They then needed
to order the micro cables in the right sizes, and then return to the site to
make the installation. Sometimes, customers had to order multiple lengths of
micro cables to make sure they didn’t have a lot of slack that would need to be
stored. Rapid Reel technology eliminated the need to pre-measure for and order micro
cables, reducing installation time by 60 percent. The process also simplifies ordering and
inventory due to fewer SKUs.
Did this innovation
act as the springboard for other innovations, and if so, how do they all tie
Rapid Reel technology was first used in wall boxes, then the
1RU Rapid Fiber panels. There are now 3RU and 4RU versions of this product in
the market. Early versions of the Rapid Fiber panels used rear access for fiber,
but since panels are sometimes placed back-to-back in central offices or data
centers, the product was refined to offer all front access. Over time, Rapid
Reel technology has been made less expensive through the increased use of
plastic components and it has been incorporated into CommScope’s Flexible Fiber
Box for cell sites, as well as wall boxes for MDUs (multi-dwelling units).
What is the
significance of the innovation for CommScope?
Rapid Reel technology has been used in many CommScope
products, and these products have been strong sellers in the market because
they slash installation time and cost as no other products can. CommScope
continues to look for new ways to incorporate Rapid Reel technology into future