Planning Aerial Deployment for FTTH. Tips from R&M.
FTTH is very difficult to realize in remote locations. Long distances make the underground cabling of FO cables expensive. Can aerial deployment be a solution? Lars Züllig, Product Manager Fiber Optics and LAN, provides tips on planning.
3 MIN READ
Obstacles in remote locations
In remote locations and sparsely populated areas, the long distances make broadband expansion pricey. It is difficult to bury FO cables in rocky areas. In some places, the protection of historic monuments or lack of permission can stop cables being laid underground. Does an isolated farmhouse really need a DSL connection? Is Fiber to the Home (FTTH) worth it for an attractive, but remote mountain village?
The more the market demands FTTH, the more often network operators are confronted with questions of this kind. They have to decide whether it makes sense to lay cables underground.
Alternative: aerial deployment
The alternative is called Aerial Deployment (outdoor cabling).
- Aerial deployment costs only a fraction of underground cabling. Due to its relatively favorable CAPEX/ OPEX ratio, aerial cabling remains attractive for rural areas. It is often the only solution for an FTTH rollout.
- Aerial cables are easy to suspend between masts and buildings – even over longish distances.
- The network can be expanded quickly, at short notice and with very little planning effort.
- Residents and traffic are not disturbed with civil engineering works.
- Masts used by existing electricity and telephone networks can be used.
- The risk of downtime is high. Storms, lightning, ice, accidents, birds and sabotage can break the cables.
- The environment is constantly changing. Network operators have to check the routes and keep them clear of vegetation.
- The cables age due to sunshine, temperature fluctuations and mechanical forces.
But the market offers highly stable and durable products, referred to as High Durability Cable. The flat self-supporting cables produced by R&M’s cable plant belong to this category.
First steps in planning
There are four aspects which are important for the careful and early planning of FTTH aerial deployment in remote locations:
- Familiarization with the location of the conduits and climatic conditions on site
- Specification of the span of the suspended cables and how much the cables might shrink or expand
- Selection of highly robust material for tension relief, insulation, mounting, distribution housing, splice and connection boxes, etc.
Standardization of the range to be able to build and carry out maintenance work efficiently