NSCA hosted its 2021 Pivot to Profit (P2P) conference in September, but the business transformation conversations continue. The articles in the Pivot to Profit+ section of the Q3 2021 edition of our quarterly trade journal, Integrate, keep the discussions going. This column by P2P sponsor Cleerline Technology Group discusses fiber optics.
The systems that your customers will demand over the next decade require significant broadband connectivity. Consider taking advantage of fiber optics.
By Cleerline Technology Group (sponsored content)
Early on, traditional fiber optic technology was no walk in the park. Fiber was fragile and difficult—and even dangerous to handle. Installing connectors was cumbersome and failure-prone, requiring hours of complicated training. Even though fiber’s high bandwidth potential was a strong selling point, related components were so expensive that cabling was often left dark in the wall. Fiber could be great—in the future.
The future is now here.
In the early 2010s, Cleerline Technology Group recognized that fiber was the best way to support increasing bandwidth demands. However, traditional fiber’s considerable drawbacks made it inaccessible to busy integrators and installers. Cleerline went to work on the problem, leading to the development of Cleerline SSF: Stronger, Safer, Faster-to-terminate optical fiber.
With the introduction of technology like Cleerline SSF™ optical fiber, terminating fiber is easy and safe. Fiber’s bandwidth potential is more accessible thanks to improved and cost-effective technology, and managing cabling is easier than ever. In fact, the many benefits of fiber optic cable mean that today’s fiber infrastructure is just as easy to manage as copper. The time for waiting is over.
Access Higher Bandwidth
Bandwidth demands increase constantly. Category cables have required constant updates to keep up. Just look at Category 8! In contrast, fiber optic cable has remained relatively consistent in terms of its available bandwidth. The main changes have been to hardware components, which continuously advance to access fiber’s native bandwidth potential.
Just how much bandwidth? Multimode fiber optic cables can transmit 10 Gb Ethernet up to 1,300 feet (396 meters), depending on the grade of multimode, or 100 Gb Ethernet as far as 500 feet (152 meters). Single mode fiber can send data even farther. In fact, the electronics are the only limiting factor on single mode’s bandwidth potential. Comparatively, Category 6A can transmit 10 Gb Ethernet a maximum of 100 meters, with potential for EMI/RFI interference. Even Category 8 has a channel limit of 100 feet (30 meters) for 25 Gb or 40 Gb Ethernet.
Fiber also offers low latency and resistance to electromagnetic and radio frequency interference. Interrupted signals and dropping downloads are less of an issue—a major asset for any business or home environment.
Most importantly, as data demands continue to balloon, fiber will be able to easily accommodate increases. Plus, related electronics like switches and converters are now widely available at budget-friendly price points. Designing a fiber network that will survive the next generations of data requirements is easier than ever.
Manage with Ease
Fiber is ideally suited for any network design. Depending on the cable construction, fiber cables (including internal strength members and outer jacketing) can be as small as 3 mm in diameter for up to 24 strands of fiber (less than half the size of a Category 6 cable). Cleerline SSF optical fibers are available in many cable configurations, from compact SSF Micro Distribution cables to robust armored cables. Fiber can be installed anywhere it is needed.
For those whose introduction to fiber termination involved complicated polishing procedures, there is good news: For most applications, the process has gotten significantly easier. Cleerline SSF offers improved mechanical splice connectors, which can be installed as quickly as an RJ45 connector and will hold up to long-term use.
Cables and connectors are easily available, but what about the rest of the system?
For common installations, like residential prewire and AV racks, fiber hardware and accessories now look very similar to those of copper. In-premises, keystone inserts that accept fiber optic connectors allow easy customization of wall plates. Rack- and wall-mount enclosures with fiber optic adapter plates fill the same role as Category patch panels, allowing multiple fiber terminations to be managed easily. For outdoor applications, fiber optic outdoor terminal boxes keep connectors securely protected, a must for applications like security cameras. Cleerline SSF End-to-End Solutions incorporate all of these items, simplifying specification and design.
In addition to having similar components, fiber infrastructures are very similar in layout to Category UTP networks, but without the concerns of proximity to high-voltage cabling. Designing a fiber optic system requires many of the same considerations, so knowledge is transferrable from one system to another. Plus, online resources like the Cleerline Training Academy are available to help!
Stronger, Safer, Faster
Cleerline SSF optical fiber incorporates a patented polymercoating at the glass level. This coating dramatically improves bendinsensitivity and strength of the glass. In fact, SSF polymer coatingmakes Cleerline SSF optical fiber up to 200 times stronger thantraditional, non-SSF fibers. The polymer also increases SSF fiber’sperformance compared to Category cable. While the averageCategory cable can only tolerate 25 pounds (11 kg) of pull tension,SSF can handle up to 225 pounds (over 100 kg).
SSF fiber’s greater durability makes it safer to handle. Traditional fiber lacks protective coating directly on the glass, so the glass is fragile and can easily shatter, creating hazardous microscopic shards.
Conversely, SSF polymer coating prevents skin punctures and protects the optical fibers from dust, contamination, and, most significantly, moisture ingress.
SSF fiber’s strength and flexibility make it extremely easy to terminate. With practice, connectors can be installed in less than one minute. The simplified SSF termination process requires far less training than traditional fiber. Training can be as simple as watching a 4-minute instructional video. No scheduling commitment required! With SSF, any integrator can add fiber termination to their skillset instead of relying on fiber-specific contractors.
With Cleerline SSF technology, fiber’s benefits become easily accessible. High bandwidth, low latency, and EMI/RFI resistance are within reach.
At Cleerline, we believe integrators and end users deserve the highest quality and most efficient products. That is why we designed Cleerline SSF fiber: to provide access to the best technology possible. With Cleerline SSF End-to-End Solutions, fiber network design, specification, installation, and management are simplified. Cleerline SSF is fiber optics redefined.
NSCA chooses its Pivot to Profit sponsors carefully. They not only provide solutions worthy of consideration by our integrator members, but also are well positioned to lead business transformation conversations. Click here to learn more about Cleerline or call 866-469-2487 to speak with a local representative.