Last Mile to Conquer: Tatung's Bendable Optical Cables Cleverly Resolve Problems Related to Optical Fiber Establishment


After many years of construction, most developed nations now have fiber-to-the-building (FTTB). However, FTTB alone will not be enough to satisfy the bandwidth demands of the various types of cloud applications in the near future. Therefore, fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) is a must-have. Tatung has spent time and effort developing "bendable optical cables" in order to solve the last mile problem in optical fiber establishment.
With the development of 4G, demands for Triple-Play multimedia transmission of voice, data, and video will undoubtedly and rapidly increase. Fiber optic communication, which provides thousands times higher bandwidth than that of copper cables, is more capable of supporting such kind of massive transmissions, and will likely become the market mainstream.
It is worth mentioning that in last 10 years, the price of active equipment for fiber optic communications has dropped by two thirds. Such price decline not only allows the cost for construction and maintenance to be reasonable. It also makes the popularization of fiber optic communications easier. Therefore, from FTTB to FTTH, crossing the last-mile of fiber optics establishment - connecting fiber to the user end has become an inevitable approach.
M.Y. Hsieh, Senior General Manager of the Power Equipment Business Unit of Tatung's Power Business Group, explains the transmission status of cloud applications. Hsieh says, for uploading data to the cloud, the large amounts of data "produced" by front-end users are not transmitted to the base stationsimply via wireless or microwave mediums. These data are aggregated into fixed mediums and then transmitted to back-end data centers via fiber optic routes. This is why 4G service providers are all anxious to obtain control of physical construction, which allows them to lay more fiber optic cables.
Despite the fact that FTTH is a clear trend, we now still faces many challenges for solving the last mile problem of optical fiber establishment. Hsieh points out that the diameter of traditional G.652D fiber optic cables is 10-12mm, which requires at least 120 degrees of turning space. It is impossible for this type of cables to be laid in the narrow low-voltage electrical pipelines of traditional buildings. It is also difficult for such fiber optic cables to be laid in already decorated homes. While home decorations make interior space with many corners, traditional fiber optic cables are not capable of being bent to such extent. Besides, the stretch and stress resistance of traditional fiber optic cables are not sufficient for allowing them to be installed in crowded pipelines, or routed through walls or other obstacles, either.

Bendable optical cables have small external diameters, allowing them to be laid in crowded shared pipelines

In order to solve the aforementioned challenges, Tatung spent over two years developing bendable optical cables, which are not only compliant with international ITU G.657 standards in terms of fiber optic transmissions, but also have reduced diameters (3mm), small turning angles (90 degrees), as well as good G.652D connection compatibility (reducing the amount of loss at connection points). Therefore, this type of cable is capable of overcoming the issues caused by structures with many corners in decorated homes. It's suitable for being laid in existing pipelines. And, this type of cable is even capable of passing through the smallest pipelines and can withstand forces or pressure from other cables due to its strong stretch/stress resistance. To sum, it is clear that all of these features have been carefully designed to solve the problems happening in FTTH establishment.
It is also worth mentioning that in the past, there have been some concerns about FTTH. The outer layers of traditional fiber optic cables are made by various types of plastic materials such as PVC. In the case of a fire, these materials are easily flammable and would produce large amounts of smoke, which is extremely hazardous to the human body. Due to these considerations, Tatung's bendable optical cables do not contain any heavy metals and comply with the RoHS requirements of the European Union. Furthermore, Tatung adopts eco-friendly and fire-retardant material - Low Smoke Halogen Free - to produce the outer layer of cables; so, these cables would be unlikely flammable and would not produce hazardous smokes.
In addition, Tatung has also considerately incorporated copper cable alike installation methods into its bendable optical cable products. That is, the installation of Tatung's cables is just like what people do while installing coaxial cables. Without support of any professional tool, people can install Tatung's cables easily by connecting its end with connectors. This will not only boost the speed, but also the convenience of installation.
Hsieh adds that Tatung's bendable optical cables are suitable for all kinds of new and old buildings with many interior corners, as well as for homes and offices with shared cable pipelines. Furthermore, if cable ducts are not available in old buildings, the small dimensions and bendable properties of Tatung's cables can be easily laid on wall by tying them up or fixing them with U-shaped nails.
So far, Tatung's bendable optical cables have been installed in various commercial buildings, factories, as well as luxury homes. The number of installations continues increasing. In terms of promoting these cables, Tatung will do in via 3 approaches. First, Tatung will aggressively introduce and promote this product to the Electrical Engineers Association. Second, Tatung will work with 4G systems providers and promote FTTH applications together. Finally, to cooperate with government's policies for fiber optic-equipped buildings and architectures, Tatung will aggressively promote such kind of cables to construction and property development companies, which will help us realizing the vision of fiber-optic enabled homes as well as smart living.
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