Is Fiber Really More Costly Than Copper? An Update.
A newly-released cost model developed by the Fiber Optics LAN Section (FOLS) of the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) and Pearson Technologies shows all-fiber networks to be the most cost-effective network solution for many LAN scenarios. The results of the cost model debunk the prevailing myth that unshielded twisted pair (UTP) copper is a less expensive medium to install than fiber when evaluating installed first costs -- in all 12 of the scenarios featured, all-fiber networks offer the lowest cost solution when compared to vertical fiber/UTP horizontal networks. Read more about it.
A Web conference to review the cost model and its findings is scheduled for November 20, 2:00-3:30 p.m. EST. The Web conference is free and you can register online .
Fiber is Still "Hot" In Some Circles - Wireless Has Some Problems
An article on the Consulting-Specifying Engineer Web site on "smart" office buildings quoted Mathew Spathas of Sentre Partners, a building property management firm in San Diego, on the five building services that will become "must haves" over the next 10 years:
* building optical networks;
* broad bandwidth as a utility;
* automated IT systems;
* integrated building systems (IBS); and
* wireless capacity as an amenity.
Well, that's good news. Hopefully the Consulting and Specifying Engineers will spec more premises fiber.
An article in the LA Times, 11/4/03, points our a serious problem with the proliferation of wireless devices - interference. As the manufacturers of wireless devices sell more gadgets, especially in the home, interference between the devices is causing problems - with noise showing up on cordless phones, garage doors opening mysteriously, and one of the most serious - albeit humorous - an incident of a baby monitorswamping air traffic control frequencies at a London airport. Another famous incident occured in Dallas, where the first digital TV transmissions caused interference with about 60 wireless heart monitors at Baylor University Hospital. We're all familiar with the requirement to turn off cell phones on airplanes, since some do indeed interfere with navigation systems. And the latest problem is that WiFi wireless LANs are close to military radar frequencies.
Will the proliferation of wireless devices cause so many problems that their acceptance will be slowed or government regulation will make them less popular?
Ever Hear Of "Holey Fibers" ?
The idea of fibers that guide light through voids in the glass fiber was comes from MIT a few years ago, from a group that was working on thin film coatings to make perfect mirrors. The fibers work by the photonic bandgap principle, not simple optics. But they offer some unique characteristics. Empty holes will obviously have lower loss than glass cores and not cause as much dispersion. The rest of the fiber could be glass or plastic or maybe some grown crystal. Inserting materials in the holes that can change their optical characteristics under external influence (electrical, thermal, etc.) allows making switches, bragg gratings, and other devices. The holey fibers are also great for high power transmission, since the empty holes interact less (e.g. less heating) with very high power sources.
Want to know more? Here are some links from the MIT website. Another way to find articles is to Google "holey fibers."
New Tech Topics
Plastic Optical Fibers (POF)
Eric Pearson's Newsletters - with some tests on connectors.
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