R&M FTTP

Aerial Deployment: FTTH through the Air by Reichle & De-Massari (R&M)

Reichle & De-Massari (R&M) seek to deploy FTTH in rural and suburban areas at 2.5x than normal. The Swiss company seeks to do that with overhead cables, or areal deployment. R&M are looking to help ensure that network operators also make rapid progress in this area. It seeks to do so with a development program for products and solutions for FO aerial deployment.

Thomas Ritz, R&M Market Manager Public Networks reiterated the commitment of R&M to expand FTTH faster in rural and suburban regions. Commenting on the pandemic’s effects, he noted that there was a “great need for fiber optic broadband Internet access”. Further, he pointed out the shortcomings of the current network architecture, deeming it not ready to “cope with an onslaught of spontaneous, parallel remote working, e-learning, streaming and gaming”. Mr. Ritz also noted the crucial nature of FO connections, saying, “end-to-end FO connections to the end user are one of the requirements for almost unlimited broadband data transmission right to the home.”

There are many rural regions which are greatly underserved by FTTH. That happened due to a lack of interest from telcos to make large investments in the said areas.

High Durability Fiber Optic Cables and Sturdy Distribution Boxes

Aboveground cable laying – also called “aerial deployment” – is becoming interesting again. Mr. Ritz commented on the familiarity of overhead cables, stating that they, “has been around as long as we have had electricity and telephone networks”. And FTTH can roll out at 2.5x speed by aerial deployment and by using existing telephone or electricity company poles than with underground cabling.

Furthermore, overhead cabling is more cost-effective than underground cabling. That is because it requires less people and also can use infrastructure already in place. The firm also produces fiber optic cables in the Czech Republic. Also, pre-terminated customer connection cables and distribution boxes are important components for aboveground cable laying.

The company offers an assembly technology that is simple and flexible. The company will achieve that with a new generation of FTTH distribution boxes, developed for the aerial deployment market. Thomas Ritz noted the ease of installation of these boxes, saying that these “can be assembled on any façade or pole without the need for special tools.” The design’s aim is to reduce assembly time, contributing to the pace stated above and gaining market advantage.

The newly designed aerial boxes are delivered pre-terminated, that is, with splitter modules and internal cabling. By that, these boxes fulfill a specific requirement of large telecom providers as it saved time and help add subscribers to the network with ease.

Furthermore, the new housings target challenging environment conditions, displaying great versatility and have been developed especially to appeal to emerging markets. R&M’s target is elementary, purpose-built FTTH distribution that can be organized flexibly to suit all residential areas. Incidentally, network operators from South America and the Middle East have already demonstrated great interest in R&M’s new development.

Years of Experience with Outdoor Cabling

R&M has been developing pioneering distribution platforms and splice closures for decades. Also, R&M develop distribution and termination boxes for end-to-end outdoor cabling in FTTH. The Venus Box launched in 1997 was designed with a fiber-optic future in mind. The company continues to expand their portfolio with a variety of ventures.

Successful developments include the modular and multifunctional Polaris box housing family for Fiber to the Home building connections. These boxes can double up as fiber optic distributors and serving area interfaces for fronthaul network connections of 5G. The 5G market is once again significantly boosting demand for fiber optic access in addition to traditional broadband expansion.

Thomas Ritz also noted the versatility of their broadband network in 5G, as “countless 5G access points, or ‘small cells’, have to be connected with the FO broadband network”. However, most of these fiber optic capacities have yet to be rolled out.

Of course, synergies must be exploited from planning and dimensioning to rollout scenarios between 5G FTTA and classic FTTH rollouts, as well as 5G options for broadband supply via fixed wireless access.

This creates an additional need for innovative FO connectivity solutions, which R&M develops and brings to market. The further development of the range will follow the well-known R&M principles of innovation, modularity, fast assembly and intuitive handling. Thomas Ritz stated that the company “want to make a major contribution to speeding up nationwide fiber optic broadband coverage. The underlying conditions are currently ideal to rely on aerial deployment.”

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