New fiber puts light on straight and narrow

NY cabling company claims to have solved one of fiber optic's biggest problems.

Corning Cabling Systems in New York is claiming to have cured one of the biggest problems with fiber optic cabling, namely the loss of signal when the cabling is bent around corners.

Corning has introduced a new type of fiber line called ClearCurve, which it claims is cheaper to use in apartment buildings because it doesn't lose signal strength when bent.

Fibre cables rely on light rather than electricity to transmit data, but when the cable is bent it can cause a loss of signal. This is a problem during the installation of fiber in apartment blocks, as the lines have to be bent 90 degrees at least 12 times to complete the installation.

Corning says that ClearCurve results in virtually no attenuation loss even when bent to a minimum bend radius of 5 mm. It says the 4.8 mm diameter cable is much more rugged than traditional fiber optic cabling, and offers significant protection of the optical fiber, with a self-bend-limiting feature that prevents the fiber from exceeding the 5 mm minimum bend radius no matter how the cable is bent.

Therefore, the cable can be handled in any way that copper cables are handled, such as pulling through wall studs and stapling to wood.

One user is Connexion Technologies, which is deploying fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) networks in the US.

"I cannot overstate the increase in efficiency of installation and quality of service for our partners due to the development of the ClearCurve products," said Glen Lang, CEO of Connexion Technologies. "This is a breakthrough product that will dramatically impact the economics of the FTTH industry."

Many carriers are considering replacing the "last mile" of mostly copper lines, with a fiber optic line. The last mile refers to the telephone line that runs from the telephone exchange to either the street cabinet (fiber to the node) or the home (fiber to the home, or FTTH).

Replacing copper lines with fiber will allow carriers to push much more data down the line, allowing them to offer services such as high definition television over a telephone line. The problem with DSL-over-copper is that the further away from a telephone exchange, the slower the broadband connection.

Another company, Verizon, is replacing its copper lines with fiber optic cabling in an effort to take on the cable operators, and is reportedly testing ClearCurve.

Pricing information on ClearCurve was not available.

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