Clearfield unveils FieldShield; pushable fiber delivery system installs to tough environments

March 8, 2013
Clearfield has introduced its FieldShield Fiber Delivery and Protection System, optimizedto flexibly support aerial, direct-bury and data center last-mile optical fiber needs.

Clearfield (NASDAQ: CLFD) has introduced its FieldShield Fiber Delivery and Protection System, optimized for use in difficult deployment environments to flexibly support aerial, direct-bury and data center last mile optical fiber needs. With a space-saving footprint that works with existing and exhausted conduit or new micro-trenching technologies, Clearfield says the minimally intrusive system speeds fiber installation to environments previously not viable.

"Fiber deployments have for a long time centered around large count fiber; however today's environment demands a smaller less intrusive solution that can scale," comments Cheri Beranek, Clearfield's president and CEO. "FieldShield is a new paradigm in the delivery and protection of fiber as it solves the challenges of how to immediately and cost effectively deploy fiber while leaving a path for future growth."

The company says its FieldShield components can be used stand-alone, with existing conduit equipment, or in collaboration with newer, less disruptive technologies to bring fiber wherever it's needed. The system's crush-resistant and flexible fiber jackets are designed to deliver maximum fiber protection. Components of the FieldShield system include: ruggedized microduct; pushable fiber and pushable fiber connectors; the FieldShield Assist, a proprietary, hand-held, drill-powered tool; and other fiber management options.

Related: Targeting FTTP, Clearfield intros 'PON in a PED'

FieldShield Microduct: By reducing duct size to 10 mm and smaller, Clearfield says the FieldShield microduct opens unlimited opportunities to deploying and protecting fiber within the network. Serving as the optical fiber raceway for all "last mile" needs, the FieldShield microduct is constructed in three tough polymer models depending on application requirements, including direct buried (toneable and non-toneable), aerial (Figure-8), and plenum. Installed as an empty microduct or pre-loaded with fiber, the microduct can easily be placed through existing conduit, buried in the ground or deployed in aerial environments (either strand-mount or up-the-tower). The microduct is suitable for withstanding the rigors of all types of ground implementations, such as open trenching, vibratory plowing, micro-trenching, directional boring, or slot cutting. A smooth inner wall and slip lining provide minimal resistance, allowing the FieldShield pushable optical fiber assemblies to be easily pushed or pulled through the transport duct.

FieldShield Pushable Optical Fiber: The FieldShield Microduct provides the pathway to quickly deliver the crush-resistant FieldShield optical fiber cable. Handled in much the same manner as a bend-insensitive patch cord, one to 24 fibers are housed in a rugged 3 mm or 4 mm jacket that is crush-resistant yet flexible -- without the risk of kinking or creating unacceptable light conditions. The flexible optical cable is made from crush resistant PBT. Manufactured with bend-insensitive fiber, the cable is strong enough to be stapled to walls; offers a built-in, bend-limiting function to prevent damage to fiber during installation; and is available in bulk reels, factory terminated, or pre-placed in the FieldShield microduct of choice. Terminated with a FieldShield pushable fiber connector, the polymer properties unique to the FieldShield pushable optical fiber allow the assembly to be pushed or pulled through the FieldShield microduct.

FieldShield Pushable Fiber Connectors:
Terminating a FieldShield pushable fiber connector onto the FieldShield fiber cable allows it to be pulled or pushed through the FieldShield microduct. Developed in collaboration with Senko, these SC and LC connectors are terminated and partially assembled at the factory. The connector easily passes through the Microduct's 6.0 mm bore with the outer housing quickly and easily assembled by the technician in the field. This factory pre-connectorized approach enables lower installation costs by reducing costly labor in the field and presents a reliable and consistent termination. All FieldShield assemblies are guaranteed to Clearfield's FiberDeep performance level.

FieldShield Assist: In environments where traditional pulling techniques are possible, Clearfield recommends the placement of fiber with the use of an integrated pull string that comes standard in all FieldShield microduct. In other environments, due to the Microduct's rugged but low coefficient of friction properties, the FieldShield fiber cable can simply be pushed into place by hand up to 100 feet. For longer distances, Clearfield has developed the FieldShield Assist, a hand-held, drill-powered tool used for pushing the cable into environments previously considered impassible, such as an occupied or congested duct. Eliminating potential catastrophic damage due to buckling or folding of the fiber-optic cable, the tool houses an integrated clutch that engages when resistance reaches a threshold that could damage the cable. A glare-resistant, integrated counter provides the installer with accurate and instant feedback on the distances pushed. As a result, fiber cable can be pushed 500 feet within OSP-rated duct; when pushing in plenum duct for an inside plant environment, fiber cable can be pushed as far as 300 feet.

FieldSmart Fiber Management and CraftSmart Fiber Enclosures: FieldShield fiber has been designed to push directly into the company's Clearview cassette. As a result, any element of the FieldSmart fiber management architecture and CraftSmart line of fiber enclosures can be used to complete the platform, allowing broadband providers to terminate, manage, and protect fiber assets wherever they are coming from or going to.

See more information on the FieldShield system, including data sheets and a demonstration video.

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