Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Microtechnology in America

Are we there yet?

As a result of the renewed interest in Microtechnology, Comstar Supply recently installed a 4-Way 18/14mm FuturePath raceway on our property where we plan to conduct demonstrations and training sessions. Contact us if you are interested in seeing the FuturePath solution up close and in person.

4-way Futurepath Microduct installation at Comstar Supply
You can also find more information on Microtechnology in the Underground Construction section of our Network Virtual Tour, Comstar City USA, which is found at www.ComstarCity.com.

While the product developments in MicroDuct fiber optic cable finally are breaking into the mainstream in the United States, these products are still new to many of you. I want to take a step back and replay much of the market spin from the last 15 or so years regarding Microtechnology. Before I fire up that hype train, I would like you to consider a couple of things.


 Industry Standards

Today our networks are built on the foundations set by Telcordia, ASTM, BICSI, ITU and many others. From keeping network performance high, protecting your outside plant from the elements or maintaining safety for your technicians and the public at large, standards are tremendously important. Since there are many new players in the microtechnology sector, you must consider your product options from a standards perspective.
  • Who does third party testing for the manufacturers, and what are they testing for?
  • What tests should they for your applications? 
Don't let price alone be your sole motivation, but insist on products that adhere to the standards and recommended practices.
Comstar Supply's Bob Hipp demonstrates Hubbell's EZ-Locate


Another great benefit to standards is interoperability. This allows multiple manufacturers to play in the same sandbox, which in turn helps drive down costs and minimizes lead times. If you want to explore a new micro cable or pathway solution, I encourage you to evaluate the impact of all the products associated with that change.
  • Will this cable require expensive, specialized fiber terminations?
  • Will I have to stock new microduct fittings or tools in addition to the ones I already use?
  • Does this product increase technician workload and training requirements, or decrease it?
At the end of the day, products used in your physical layer must work together from multiple suppliers to maintain the overall integrity of the network.
The concept of shrinking the size of your pathway and cable is easy to swallow, but the myriad of manufacturers and solutions can be the horse pill. At Comstar Supply, we can offer a complete microtechnology solution that maintains the standards of your network, and it would be supported across multiple vendors.
So what is the purpose behind the big micro push again? This value-added proposal is nothing new, but it is proven technology in the United States and around the globe. Utilizing a Multiple MicroDuct pathway system such as Dura-line’s FuturePath, you can realize the following benefits while expanding your network today.

More Cost Effective

FuturePath can provide up to 8 pathways for cables to be placed at roughly the same price of 4 individual 1-1/4” Conduits. Placing more pathways at one time also reduces the costs and headaches associated with permitting. Also placing more pathways at once allows for future growth at a significantly lower cost because you will not need to hire a contractor or place new conduits. You simply place another cable in the existing pathway.

Superior Deployment

Air Blown MicroDuct Cable through Dura-line’s FuturePath is a faster, easier and much less expensive installation method for fiber optic cable. Further distances can be installed at one time reducing the number of handholes required. The process of blowing fiber optic cable puts much less stress on the cable during installation, as well as requiring fewer consumable items on the job such as pull lines and lubricant.
4-Way Duraline Futurepath


Microtechnology is Green! FuturePath can provide more fiber capacity with less overall plastic. FuturePath also takes up less space during transit and storage, which translates to lower fuel consumption and reduced labor. Having multiple pathways already in the ground for future use reduces the need to dig up that pathway again, thus providing a positive impact on the environment as well.
These are only a few of the major benefits to a multiple MicroDuct pathway system. More could be realized in many other applications even inside the building.
You are probably aware of a few jobs where you wish at the end of the day you would have implemented Microtechnology. If you have not implemented a FuturePath solution yet, the key is to get your engineers and consultants in the loop now to plan this for your next project.

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