Contributed by Jay Borer, marketing development manager for 3M's Communication Markets Division
2014 was a big year for communication service providers and the manufacturers that support them, as we worked together to continue to look for ways to extend services and increase speed and bandwidth to the growing base of subscribers. As we move into 2015, whether a service provider is looking to upgrade to a fiber infrastructure or extend the life of an existing copper network, everyone is looking to balance bandwidth and cost.
Vendors in the telecom industry are always looking for ways to help customers deploy faster, through craft-friendly solutions and technologies that help drive down operating costs. With that in mind, we’ve identified a few trends we believe will continue to drive growth next year.
- Deployment techniques will evolve and become easier
In fiber access networks next year, we expect to see increased usage of optical ribbon cables or high-density micro-module cables. These cables contain the highest concentration of fibers in smaller cables. This tight configuration makes them ideal for high-density and aesthetic deployments. They’re also one of the more affordable solutions with regard to labor costs associated with fiber deployment.
Whichever cable is utilized, 3M works to provide craft-friendly tools, and even tool-less products, that make it easier to connect and splice fiber directly in the field, virtually eliminating the need for slack storage or inventory of customized cable lengths. These same tools and products will also make it increasingly easy for technicians to deploy fiber in more areas, making it faster, easier and less expensive.
- Deployment costs will continue to decrease
Because of the ongoing pressures from increasing subscriber demands, we expect service providers to continue taking fiber deeper into their networks by upgrading their copper access networks to provide service via an overlayed fiber network. This approach would allow providers to benefit from the operational advantages of a newly installed fiber deployment but without the higher cost typically associated with fiber deployment.
Additionally, as fiber proliferates in more segments of the market, technicians can take advantage of emerging technologies that help eliminate steps, tools or inventory in order to increase the speed of installation. Hence, carrier operating costs will continue to be optimized, deploying more for less, even as their network grows.
- G.fast will cover new ground
It’s no secret that costs to complete a full fiber overlay are higher than leveraging the copper network that’s already there. Upgrading the existing infrastructure helps service providers avoid unnecessary or excessive material and labor expenses. In turn, this reduces the resulting cost per living unit, making deployment much more feasible in a wider variety of high-density areas.
Therefore, G.fast (high speed DSL over a short loop) may become a relevant platform for 500 Mbps service in the MDU space from a volume, affordability and density point of view. G.fast not only lets operators bring the speed of fiber over the last meters of existing copper lines, but it also reduces CAPEX by deferring the cost of extending fiber to every MDU living unit.
So whether in the form of simplified tools and techniques, lowered deployment costs or an increased presence of G.fast, keep your eyes open for continued growth in more segments of the market as communication service providers and manufacturers alike ring in the New Year.
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