As the demand for high-bandwidth networks continues to proliferate on campuses of all types, many are struggling with how to implement a high-count fiber backbone that supports high-speed data requirements, and yet is reconfigurable to suit both current and future needs.
For many of these campuses – multi-building complexes such as hospitals, corporate centers, government facilities and universities – future needs are not currently known and incorporating a network system that offers both high-density and easy accessibility is a challenge. Thus, a reliable and reconfigurable system innately suited to increasing bandwidth-hungry users is needed for dynamic support of future applications.
“These types of fiber installations are becoming very popular because everyone is certain of two things. Firstly, supporting the typical user means accommodating higher bandwidth demands. Secondly, changes in the network configuration are inevitable,” says Dr. Ian Timmins, Vice President of Engineering, Enterprise Connectivity Products at Optical Cable Corporation (OCC).
Timmins explains that in most current situations these networks will be based on high-count fiber optic backbone cabling systems. Architectures with fiber counts of 144 and 288 are not uncommon, and installations with even higher numbers are emerging.
Unfortunately, many networks that are composed of high-count fiber optic cable ultimately experience disappointments and frustrations with the conventional type of cabling and connectivity. High fiber count cables with a large O.D. are inflexible and are hard to manage and install which can risk broken fibers and jeopardize the success of the system. This, combined with connectivity utilizing stacks of splice trays feeding adapter plates with extremely high fiber counts, can make for infrastructure that is very challenging to service or execute moves, adds, and changes.
Conventional implementations intended to enhance versatility and thereby overcome this challenge can easily lead to systems with too many connectors in the communications channel. This causes increased attenuation, decreased bandwidth results and general degradation in signal integrity. Stacks of splice trays that must be manipulated to access a single fiber can disrupt the entire network every time service is performed. Ultimately, conventional network architecture is prone to disruptions, increased financial costs due to maintenance, and premature system overhauls.