Optical connectivity shines

July 1, 2011
Two consecutive articles in this month's issue offer information on fiber-optic connectivity options.

Two consecutive articles in this month’s issue offer information on fiber-optic connectivity options. Their inclusion in this issue also is represenative of a slight but, I believe, emerging trend in the premises and enterprise cabling industry.

The article entitled “Mechanical fiber splicing gains acceptance in Asian markets,” beginning on page 15, is followed by the article entitled “Which field-termination method best fits your fiber-optic LAN?” beginning on page 23.

In the first article, 3M’s Jerry Jackson provides detail on how, in fiber-to-the-premises projects in countries including South Korea, Japan and China, mechanical rather than fusion optical connectivity has gained a foothold. As he describes, the actual connectors and in some cases the fiber-optic cables differ from country to country, but the means by which those fibers are terminated indicates it’s not just a fusion-splicing world in FTTP deployments.

In the second article, Corning Cable Systems’ Sara Chase takes a pragmatic look at fiber-connectivity options in enterprise networks, providing information that installers and end-user organizations should consider about the fiber-termination method that will be most-efficiently deployed in various settings. The decision, as she explains in detail, will be based on multiple considerations including installer experience, equipment-investment requirements, and the physical space in which the work will be conducted.

The fact that 13 consecutive pages in this month’s magazine deal with fiber-optic connectivity in outside-plant and premises/enterprise environments is not unintentional. For the past couple years some optical technologies that originally were developed for so-called public, or service-provider, networks have begun to pop up in private, enterprise and/or data center networks. As an example, recently I have begun to hear more about the deployment of passive optical LAN (POL) technology in customer-premises environments. Currently we are tracking down one or two users of such networks so we can share with you their firsthand experiences and what, if any, benefit they are gaining from using a POL topology.

The two fiber-connectivity articles in this issue suggest that the shift in adoption is going both ways. While Sara Chase discusses the feasibility of fusion-splicing pigtails in private networks, Jerry Jackson makes the case for, among other technologies, pluggable mechanical-splice connectors in service-provider networks. And the successes he describes in Asia back him up.

These trends suggest we’re getting closer to true end-to-end connectivity.

PATRICK McLAUGHLIN
Chief Editor
[email protected]

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