James Donovan, Director of Channel Development and Training for CommScope Enterprise Solutions (www.commscope.com), says:

In previous posts, I have discussed the role of infrastructure in IP convergence, the importance of infrastructure in supporting all types of applications and the coverage and capacity of networks that will continue to put demands on your infrastructure selection.
One technology in particular is common in catering for these trends, that of optical fiber. As the network requirements in both the wired and wireless world fuel the need for high reliability, low delay, high bandwidth and extended distances, fiber optic solutions reach deeper and deeper into the network.
For those that only know ‘fiber’ possibly as a marketing term to sell you the latest broadband service, an optical fiber is a solid strand of glass as thin as a human hair. It is designed to carry information, using pulses of light emitted by a light source (LED or Laser). There are increasingly compelling reasons to use optical fiber.
Increased bandwidth allows fiber to deliver data rates spanning across the full range from kilobits to megabits to multiple gigabits per second. No other media provides the same cable plant longevity. Installing fiber today should support your network infrastructure needs far into the future.
Optical fiber provides broad applications coverage. Fiber is a media to support virtually all applications, from Enterprise LAN to Service Provider WAN, from Data Centers to Head Ends, from Broadband FTTx (Fiber to the Location) to Cellular Wireless networks. Products are available for a large variety of environments. The image shows an example of a new application that optical fiber is addressing. The cable is designed to feed antenna stations replacing the traditional coax with optical fiber strand to support the increasing bandwidth requirements and high gauge wires for the power.
Historically, fiber technology had the image of being difficult to deploy and install but advances in fiber components now provide easy installation. Advances in connector and fiber coating technologies have dramatically reduced fiber termination time. The video shows how some of the new ‘Qwik’ connectors can speed up termination times.

Fiber solutions are available that are optimized for the computer room or data center…. an aerial or underground run between buildings…. a run through high temperatures…. or a run through a rodent infested or corrosive environment. Fiber solutions can be configured with various combinations of multimode and/or singlemode fibers. Usually a few key issues guide the choice including the intended applications support, distance, and data (baud) rate.

What are Enterprise Network Preferences?

Multimode fiber has the capability to meet both the distance and data rate demands of most LAN networks today. Generally, multimode systems cost less than singlemode systems, since the optoelectronics that can be used with multimode fiber are less costly than those used with singlemode fiber.

What are Broadband and Wireless Network Preferences?

In contrast to enterprise networks, singlemode fiber is virtually the only fiber used by wireless and cable television companies. These industries require the long distance capability and high information carrying capacity of singlemode fiber. The advent of RFoG (Radio Frequency over Glass) technologies means fiber optic infrastructures are becoming common place for feeds to base station antenna, deployments of active DAS (Distributed Antenna Systems) and FTTx deployments.

It is a really exciting time for fiber solutions in general. I certainly look forward to it, as CommScope is a market leader in fiber optic infrastructure solutions addressing all aspects with innovative, flexible and customer focused solutions.