Spring 2021 - Optical Connections Magazine



When most people think of 5G, their thoughts usually turn to the speed, capacity and remarkable advances in the radio access network (RAN) needed to bring the technology to fruition. But there are other advances being made which, more often than not, escape attention but are nonetheless vital to enable 5G to be deployed in the real world. Optical connector technology provides the vital links from the RAN, all the way back to the core fibre network, and manufacturers are meeting the challenges from the densification resulting from the high antenna count necessary to provide adequate 5G coverage. HUBER+SUHNER’s Fabian Huber , VP Market Management, Cell Sites, kindly took time out to mull over some of the issues with Optical Connections editor Peter Dykes .

What are the implications of supporting 5G, from the point of view of a company such as yours?

with minimal training needs to be able to handle such connectivity solutions without doing anything wrong with it: “First time right.” We will probably never get there 100%, but that is our aim.

for maintenance or other work. It should be always the same so the field technician knows exactly how to handle it.


What do you need to do if anything?

Does this need for simplicity and ease of use extend to things like enclosures and distribution


It’s not that easy, we are still trying to get a grasp on that. 5G, including IoT, is such a big topic,


Installation and test equipment has been getting smaller and easier to operate in order to


points, when it comes to 5G?

but in the end, we associate 5G with more capacity, and more capacity usually also requires more connectivity. We are talking here about 10 times more cell sites in the next 10 years. On the one hand, this means more connectors, and there will be a challenge in regard to cost. No carrier can afford 10 times the cost compared to today’s cost of the network. So I think we need to aim to produce connectivity solutions at a 10th of the cost. Obviously, we’re not there yet, but that’s the goal. On the other hand, there’s the whole installation process. I think that’s where the big focus needs to be; simple to install connectors, a faster and more reliable installation process requiring less post-installation site visits and less maintenance. In the end, anyone

speed installation in recent times. What is HUBER+SUHNER doing to reinforce this trend?

Absolutely. Let’s take the example of lamp posts. That’s an application we’ve seen recently,


and there are a few other examples out there where you need to be extremely space efficient. Also, you still want to be able to provide the usual solutions and everything else in there, plus it needs to be approved by the municipality. Obviously, it’s really important that 5G antennas should be hidden, as much as possible, and the same goes for the connectivity. The more you can hide it the better. It means less pain for approval due to the smaller size of the solution and ultimately, it makes it easier to deploy for a carrier, a contractor or whoever does it.

We are miniaturising. That’s one of the aspects that means you can use connectors anywhere and you


don’t need to always have a different one depending on the application. It’s not just fibre to the home, mobile and so on, but it means in the mobile environment where you have to provide infrastructure, for example on a lamp post, a kiosk or advertising board, you probably want to reuse the same type of connector every time. So, the smaller and the easier a solution is to install, the easier it will be whenever you send somebody to a site


Q1 2021


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