For most of 2008, my monthly columns in Electrical Contractor have been about fiber optic network design. The goal is to educate you on the process of designing fiber optic networks, and now it’s time for a pop quiz. The correct answers and explanations are in red.
Documentation of the cable plant is a necessary part of the design and installation process for a fiber optic network. Documenting the installation properly during the planning process will save time and material.
Just as we have seen new technologies in optical fibers, new choices of cables are available for fiber optics. With fiber finding more applications, choosing the right cable requires knowing about all the new types as well as the old. Correct answers and explanations are in red text.
The choice of outside plant (OSP) fiber optics components begins with last month’s work: developing the route the cable plant will follow. Once the route is set, it is certain where cables will be run, where splices are located and where the cables will be terminated.
Having decided to use fiber optics and chosen equipment appropriate for the application, it is time to determine exactly where the cable plant and hardware will be located. One thing to remember: Every installation is unique.
Choosing transmission equipment is the next step in designing a fiber optic network. This step usually will be a cooperative venture involving the customer, who knows which types of data they need to communicate; the designer and installer; and the manufacturers of transmission equipment.
While the debate over which is better—copper, fiber or wireless—has enlivened cabling discussions for decades, it is becoming moot. Communications technology and the end-user market, it seems, already have made decisions that generally dictate the media.
Many years ago, people complained that the most dangerous part of fiber optic work was the chance you might get your eyeballs burned by laser light in the fiber. They had confused optical fibers to the output of high-powered lasers used in labs.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Comcast will begin upgrading its networks by midyear for new DOCSIS 3.0 technology that will dramatically increase Internet connection speeds, and the success of the initiative will determine how aggressive Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications and Charter Commu
Many columns have focused on components and installation issues specific to fiber optics. Component selection and installation all must be preceded by the design process, where the overall network is configured.
I know I have said enough about industry standards, so this will not be another column on that topic. However, I’m going to recruit you and your customers to create a new standard using a time-proven technique—just doing what makes sense! You see, standards come in two very distinctive varieties.
Often at this time, we look back at the past year to see what happened and look forward to the new year, wondering what comes next. While we do that, we promise ourselves to break old, bad habits and adopt new, better ones.
Recent events have lead me to carefully consider the meaning of standards. I spent more than a dozen hours helping an end-user and a cabling contractor understand what TIA-568 required (and/or allowed) for fiber optic testing.