Hybrid fiber, power cable system speeds small cell deployment

TE Connectivity notes that installing small cells is most complicated when power isn’t readily available at the site.

TE Connectivity (NYSE: TEL) has introduced a new cabling system designed to speed and simplify installation, powering, and communication with small cells and other network access devices. By combining power and optical fiber communications into one system, TE says its powered fiber cable system eliminates the complexity of small cell installation and allows small cell devices to be placed exactly where they are needed for maximum 4G wireless coverage.

According to the company, the system incorporates everything needed to power and communicate with a small cell -- including the power supply, a hybrid cable, and a remote powering unit that corrects for DC line loss to eliminate the need for electrical design calculations.

TE claims that the powered fiber cable system has a reach greater than 10x the distance of PoE+ cables. The ability to transport power farther makes it possible to place small cells exactly where they are needed to focus wireless capacity, adds the company. Further, by combining power and fiber communications into one system, local powering is no longer needed. This eliminates the complexity of determining how to obtain power from building owners, utility companies or municipalities. Negotiation of who pays for the small cell's powering and how power consumption is monitored thereby becomes obsolete.

Related: TE Connectivity focusing on smarter small cells

TE estimates that the powered fiber cabling system can reduce up-front planning and engineering time for many small cell deployments by 50% or more.The system is designed for low power DC transmission (NEC Class II), eliminating the need for highly-skilled electricians. For simplified installation, remote powering units can be factory-terminated onto the hybrid cable with exactly the correct connectors for a given small cell. To place a small cell exactly where it is needed, the customer simply plugs in the connector, mounts the remote powering unit, and installs the cable back to the power supply located up to 1km away.

Ultimately, says TE, the new system is designed to act as a “long extension cord."

“Our customers have told us that installing small cells is complicated because power isn’t often readily available where the small cell is needed,” comments Mark Hesling, vice president of global product management at TE Connectivity. “Coordinating electricians in and out of buildings is expensive, and negotiating with building owners is complex. TE’s powered fiber cable systems will speed up deployment and lower installation costs of small cells and other network access devices.”

TE’s Powered Fiber Cable Systems will be featured at the 2014 Mobile World Congress (February 24-27) in booth 6B52, and at OFC 2014 (March 11-13) in booth 1521.

See also: Paper investigates 'game changing economics' for small cell deployment

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