Note: we have been revealing in recent blog posts the top 40 innovations made by CommScope (or one of its acquired companies) as part of our 40th anniversary celebration. We continue today by revealing an innovation from the final grouping of innovations—the top 10—which are being announced in alphabetical order. These are our all-time greatest product and technology innovations. You can also review the complete list of innovations we’ve revealed so far and read more about the overall program and selection process in this November 4 post.
Top 40 Innovations—Grouping 1-10
The ODF Family
Definition: An ODF, or optical distribution frame, is used
to provide cable connections between communication facilities, which can
combine fiber splicing, termination, adapters and connections in a single unit.
Year of the Innovation: 1995
What is the
innovation that CommScope or one of its acquired companies was first in
In 1995, ADC (now part of CommScope) introduced
its Fiber Main Distributing Frame, which became known as the Next Generation
Frame (NGF). The NGF was the first purpose-built, high-density fiber frame architecture
in the North American industry, and it was the first true optical distribution
frame that included a comprehensive cable management approach. Leveraging new sliding
adapter pack technology and innovative cable management, the NGF allowed
customers to reduce floor space while improving accessibility. The NGF drove
the industry to update its standard, Telcordia GR-449, to call out the frame
footprint and trough interfaces as a requirement for all high-density ODFs. The
NGF also included innovations such as fiber terminal blocks, multiple rear troughs
and slack storage to provide easy access and fiber protection.
At the same time, Raychem introduced in Europe the
first purpose-built, high density fiber frame to accommodate European industry
needs. This Raychem product line later was acquired by CommScope. The European
industry is based on a European Telecommunications
Standards Institute (ETSI)
standards footprint, front access only, and back-to-back mounting in
combination with on-frame splicing. The Raychem Fiber Infrastructure System Technology optical distribution frame
(FIST-ODF) that incorporated single-circuit, single-element splicing in
combination with tray patching became in most European countries the de-facto
happening in the market that this innovation was needed?
In the early 1990s, central offices and data
centers began using greater quantities of fiber as they moved from copper DS-1
and DS-3 connectivity to fiber OC-3 and OC-12 connectivity. Because they needed
to terminate thousands of fiber connections instead of dozens, these customers
needed a different way of managing fiber. The earliest fiber-handling solutions
involved using basic patch panels into a frame, neither of which was designed
for easy access. These early solutions took up a lot of space, and it was
difficult for craft people to get their hands on a fiber if they needed to
clean it or make a change. It was also difficult to manage slack cable, and it
was difficult to route cables from one frame to another.
this innovation benefit customers and the industry?
With the NGF and FIST-ODF, customers who had been
limited to two or three fiber frames and a couple hundred connections could now
line up 50-60 bays to manage thousands of connections and create a true
cross-connect to centralize fiber management in large central offices and data
During the development processes, the ADC team,
now part of CommScope, had multiple meetings with key customers to review
design concepts and get feedback that helped the team ensure to include
features and functionality that they knew the customers wanted.
innovation act as the springboard for other innovations and, if so, how do they
all tie together?
This innovative product made ADC the clear ODF
market leader in North America and Raychem the leader in Europe.
CommScope acquired TE Connectivity’s BNS division
(which included ADC and part of Raychem) in 2015. Since 1995, CommScope and its
acquired companies have continually innovated in ODFs, introducing the NG3 in
2003, NG4 in 2012 and FACT in 2016.
What is the
significance of the innovation for CommScope?
With its ODF innovations, CommScope and its
acquired companies created and standardized a way to manage fiber in central
offices and data centers, and are continuing to evolve the ODF family to lead
the industry and exceed customer expectations as the market moves forward. Many
of the core building blocks of the NGF and FIST-ODF products, such as sliding
adapter packs and tray patching, have been leveraged across a broad range of
other CommScope fiber termination products.