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Mechanical fiber splicing becoming more popular in Asia FTTH

By Max Burkhalter
August 1, 2011
As fiber deployment accelerates across North America, Asia and Europe, there is a need for field-installed drop cable connectivity solutions that are simple, low in cost and meet high service standards. While mechanical splices have traditionally been restricted to restoration and temporary-service applications in the United States, mechanical splicing at the drop has become a common element of current fiber to the home deployment in Japan, Korea and China.

According to a report by Interconnection world, millions of mechanically spliced FTTH cable drops have been installed in Asian countries in the past year. The users in Asia have been reporting that these splices are meeting performance standards, are less complex and faster than fusion splicing. They also require substantially lower capital investments.

The drop cable connection is a key component in FTTH, and dependable broadband service requires that subscriber drops be stable, efficiently installed, operationally flexible and inexpensive. These conflicting objectives call for innovative drop cable solutions that can satisfy the growing global demand for high speed services. Apparently, mechanically spliced FTTH cable drops have been fitting the bill in some of the world’s fastest growing new fiber markets the report said.

Fusion splicing has been the de facto standard for fiber feeder and distribution construction projects, so handheld fusion splicers are considered to be the standard for FTTH drop splicing. However, initial capital costs, maintenance costs, and installation speed are key points to consider according to the report.

Factory-terminated patch cords have gained acceptance in the United States because they eliminate the need for specialized equipment, and they are quick and easy to install. However, mechanical splicing can customize the cable installation to the need, similar to the copper drop installation. In addition, the tools for mechanical splicing have no power or environmental requirements, need no maintenance or calibration, and can be set up quickly the report said.

Fiber deployment in Asia is moving quickly as the region gears up to compete globally. A report from The Next Web says that China Telecom, the country’s state-owned telecommunications operator, plans to reach 30 million users for its fiber optic broadband service this year, and have the entire nation run on fiberoptic infrastructure in three years.

Under the Five-Year Plan, the Chinese government will focus heavily on developing the telecommunications infrastructure, with total investments reaching 2 trillion yuan (roughly $300 billion), about 80 percent of which is allocated for broadband development. The plan is to cover every city in China with the fiber broadband service in three years and convert all copper lines to fiber, China Daily reported.


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