Air-blown fiber system aids National Library of Medicine

March 10, 2009--Sumitomo Electric Lightwave has deployed its FutureFLEX Air-Blown Fiber system at the National Library of Medicine (NLM)-- the world's largest medical library and the information and research arm of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in all areas of biomedicine and health care.

March 10, 2009--Sumitomo Electric Lightwave has deployed its FutureFLEX Air-Blown Fiber system at the National Library of Medicine (NLM)-- the world's largest medical library and the information and research arm of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in all areas of biomedicine and health care.

A growing collection of more 16 million MEDLINE articles and millions of other resources accessed through the Web by approximately 900 million searches per year by health professionals, scientists, librarians, and the public, has necessitated NLM to expand its two data centers and storage capacity. The NLM data centers also support the ongoing research and development of the National Center for Biomedical Communications and the National Center for Biotechnology Information, which use high-bandwidth video and virtual reality for projects including telemedicine, The Visible Human Project, and other initiatives.

Unlike conventional infrastructures where fiber-optic cables are pulled to provide sufficient bandwidth and capacity for network moves, adds, and changes, FutureFLEX Air-blown Fiber allows NLM to blow any type and amount of fiber in and out of the IT network between and within buildings on an as-needed basis. Sumitomo says this eliminates the need and expense of dark fiber and allows NLM to respond to bandwidth requirements and any network changes in real-time. The company says NLM can also turn around network projects in 70 to 90% less time and expense once the tube infrastructure is in place.

"I recommended blown fiber technology because it's a good infrastructure investment and it allows us to respond faster to the needs of the health community, researchers, and publics that NLM serves," says Vic Previll, Computer Science Corp. engineer. "It is also easy and fast to install, provides minimum or no network downtime, and eliminates disruption to the Library building, visitors, and researchers since network adds, moves and changes are completed behind the scenes, unlike conventional cabling systems that require re-entering ceilings and walls."

The FutureFLEX Air-blown Fiber system is RoHS-compliant and encompasses other green attributes. Unlike conventional fiber-optic cable, fiber bundles can be blown out of the fiber pathway undamaged and may be immediately recycled and reused in the network. Network upgrades, expansions, and reconfigurations require no construction work, thereby eliminating waste and debris, as well as hazardous abandoned cable, unused dark fiber, and other environmentally compromising materials. Sumitomo says its blown fiber infrastructure takes up less building space and provides greater capacity, thereby allowing HVAC and other energy systems to operate with unobstructed air flow.

"With the Obama administration's emphasis on green technology for federal buildings, the Air-blown Fiber system provides a means to continue further our commitment to environmental responsibility," comments Wesley Russell, section head of engineering at NLM. "We can also budget project to project with Air-Blown Fiber and save significant costs with network changes, thereby allowing us to be fiscally responsible, as well."

The targeted completion date for the data centers' expansion and upgrade, as well as the new Air-blown Fiber backbone infrastructure, is June or July.

On the Web: www.futureflex.com

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