Optical Connections Magazine Summer 2023




FTTx in its various forms is a very substantial and growing global business. A Market Research Future projection is that the value of the FTTP market could increase at a CAGR of 14.32% to exceed US$60.95 billion by 2030. Literally and actually underpinning this expanding fibre access market is a diverse collection of Optical Distribution Network (ODN) and Outside Plant (OSP) systems, equipment and components. Regular contributor John Williamson takes a deep dive into these systems and how they can contribute to faster fibre rollout.

O DN and OSP systems need to be installed, verified, turned up, maintained and managed. In practice, the first install ODN expenditure constitutes a high percentage of the overall cost of making the fibre access network operational. Hence, much industry effort is devoted to improving the design of ODN elements and refining installation methodologies: the aim is to lower costs and increase the ease, speed and efficiency of FTTx rollouts. Thomas Ritz, Market Manager Public Networks at Reichle & De-Massari (R&M), describes how the design of ODN elements can encompass their size, robustness, ability to support multiple accesses and modularity. “All these aspects can have direct or indirect impact/ influence on roll-out speed, cost and easiness/complexity,” he states. André Engel, Managing Director of trans data elektronik GmbH (tde) expands on this theme arguing that design is a crucial factor when it comes to implementing FTTx applications successfully and quickly because network engineers and fibre optic specialists are often faced with the challenge of implementing connections in the smallest possible space.

“Here, in addition to the central requirements for high-speed cabling - such as flexibility and packing efficiency - there is also the aspect of limited and expensive space,” he says. “In addition, the solution should be very time-saving and ideally have an optimal price-performance ratio.” Engel says that one good option here is the Optical Distribution Frame (ODF). PROFUSION Fusion splicing of fibre represented a major development in fibre access network deployment practices. As acknowledged by John Lively, Principal Analyst with market research firm LightCounting, fusion splicing has become the established standard for making connections between two fibres. “It’s low loss and reliable,” he says. Yet, fusion technology has a couple of drawbacks. “The downside is that it’s expensive because you need the equipment and a trained technician and it’s permanent. So you can’t make a connection and then re-arrange that connection later,” observes Lively. Lack of field installation skills and trained personnel are placing much emphasis on automation and simplification of processes. “Due to a tight labour market and extreme competition, the

availability of experienced personnel continues to dwindle,” comments Erich Schlegel, President and CEO, TrueNet Communications (a Fujitsu company). “Training of new personnel entering the industry is costly and time-consuming, and most projects do not generate enough profit margin to recoup the cost.”


In this regard, Schlegel remarks that the development of prefabricated and pre-connectorised plant can dramatically reduce installation time and build costs. “In addition to saving deployment time, pre-connectorised facilities and similar installation shortcuts can result in huge savings in the costs to train personnel and procure splicing equipment,” elaborates Schlegel. “In fact, the time to deployment completion and network turn-up can be reduced by up to 50%, saving a considerable amount on deployment expenses.” “Yet, while these advancements are simple to use, they are not as easy to design,” he cautions. Ritz includes among the attractions of pre-connectorised fibre plant including: plug and play; easy; fast; requires no splicing; and is properly tested and packed clean out of factory. Still, he notes


| ISSUE 33 | Q2 2023


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