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Blog posts of '2019' 'February'

Fiber Optics in Florida

Fiber optics in Florida grows as Fibertronics expands by 10,000 square feet at its Melbourne location and adds new division to build metal-box enclosures that house fiber optics.

Florida Skyline

The technology sector of the small-business market, especially, it seems, located in a hub around the North Drive area in Melbourne, is buzzing with growth. And some of these businesses have taken giant steps expanding their square footage, which means their employment base is growing, they are creating jobs, and their product is being well received by their customers. Existing small businesses and startups are the economic engine in America.

Fibertronics, which specializes in fiber-optic cable assemblies for the telecommunications industry as well as network products, is an example of a small business that has cut a path of success since it was started five years ago by area entrepreneurs Doug and Barbara Larson.

They saw a niche locally and created a company to fill it. Their business has grown from their two-car garage to 25,000 square feet at a facility on North Drive owned and managed by West Melbourne-based CIA Developers Inc. "We started in our garage and my wife was the 'terminator,' the person who terminates or builds the cables," said Doug Larson.

"Soon, our daughter started helping, as did our son. Then one of our daughter's friends came aboard the operation. The business was growing. We said 'this is not going to fit in the garage anymore.' We also had some personal belongings stored there, so we rented a 2,000 square-foot building." After one year in that building, Fibertronics needed more space and rented another 4,000 square feet. The business outgrew that space, too.

Doug Larson said he then contacted Aaron Anderson of CIA Developers. Anderson showed him a 15,000 square-foot building on North Drive. It's one of a number of facilities CIA Developers owns in that area. Fibertronics moved in and set up its operation.

Recently, the company leased another 10,000 square feet that is connected to the original unit that CIA Developers owns, bringing Fibertronics to 25,000 square feet at the North Drive facility. "We have doubled our business every year over the last five years and we're on track to do it again," said Doug Larson, whose company has grown from two to 27 people, including their son Mitchel Larson and their daughter Evelyn Vogt.

"We pride ourselves on quick turnaround, short lead times, and we are really pushing quality." He added that the company is growing at a "steady pace and we don't see any signs that it's going to slow down. Our growth is based on the Internet's growth. And the Internet is still growing at a radical rate. The Internet runs on fiber optics. So I would say the key to the success and growth of our company is the performance of the industry, which is fiber-optic communications."

According to the "Accenture Technology Vision 2015" report, in the rapidly growing "Internet of Things," companies are using "digital ecosystems" to offer new services, reshape experiences, and enter new markets. By 2020, there will be a "quarter billion" connected vehicles on the road, enabling new in-vehicle services and automated driving capabilities, according to Gartner Inc. During the next five years, the proportion of new vehicles equipped with this capability will increase dramatically, making connected cars a major element of the Internet of Things.

Gartner forecasts that 4.9 billion "connected things" will be in use in 2015, up 30 percent from 2014, and will reach 25 billion by 2020.

John Chambers, the president and chief executive officer of Cisco Systems, said in a speech at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that he sees the value of the evolving Internet of Things at $19 trillion, and gave a number of examples in support of his forecast.

Meanwhile, Fibertronics is well positioned to grow because its core customers include Fortune 200 companies that purchase in big volume from the company. "They tell us what they want, and we custom build it for them," Doug Larson said.

Doug Larson has owned a number of service-type businesses over the years. One day, he learned there were defense contractors in the region wanting to buy fiber-optic cables in a more timely fashion than what was currently available. Companies were having to wait a month or longer. "Coming from a service-business background, I couldn't imagine taking a month or so to do anything. So I started looking into what is involved in building fiber-optic cables." He continued, "Yes, it is kind of intense. But it takes hours to build a cable, not months. That's when I said, 'I think I have something.' Now we build cables for many defense contractors, though that is not our core customer."

Fibertronics, whose customers are mainly from out the state, builds small cables that have a lot of power because they contain fiber optics. "For example, we build 40 gigabyte and 100 gigabyte cable assemblies. We'll build as many as 1,000 cables a day. That's normal. We constantly strive to stay on the cutting edge of quality." Barbara Larson is a hands-on businesswoman with an eye on quality. "I like to build the cables in the back of the facility and work right among the employees to make sure everything flows smoothly." Fibertronics hired at least 10 people last year and three more recently. "We try to provide our employees with very good benefits because we want to retain them. They can grow along with company," she said. "We pay 100 percent of our employees' health insurance," added Doug Larson, "and that has nothing do with the mandated Affordable Care Act. We don't want turnover, which is costly to a business. We like to train new hires the company's way and give them the opportunity to advance up the ranks."

As it continues to grow, Fibertronics has expanded with a new division dedicated to building sheet-metal boxes - known in the industry as "enclosures"- that house the fiber optics. "A lot of the fiber-optics assemblies we build are installed in these metal boxes," he said. "So now, we are starting to make those cabinets for customers. We can now offer them a full network solution, including the fiber, all of the adapters, and so forth." He added, "When we ship the product and they receive it, all the customer has to do is plug it in." With the new division, Fibertronics has positioned itself to be a full-service firm. The company has made a significant investment in new machinery to build the enclosures and be able to offer a customized solution for its customers. "The customer can call one company - Fibertronics - and we're able to provide them with a whole solution. This new division fits perfectly with our core product and our market niche," Doug Larson said.

Brevard Business News

Undersea Cable, The Internet's Backbone

You've used the internet, most of us have and in developed countries using it is just a part of peoples every day lives, with everything from searches to reading a friends latest social media posts.

Fish Under  Sea

Some countries such as Finland, Greece and France have gone so far as to ensure that broadly available internet access is written into their countries laws . FacebookTwitter and other hugely popular internet services are such as Google are available across the globe but have you ever given some thought as to how it is all possible? Undersea Cable!

How it Works

Rarely do we sit back a truly appreciate the tremendous effort that has been made in order to achieve what seems so simple on the surface. As we flick though the latest fashion posts on our tablets, read email reports on our laptops at the local coffee shop, we really don’t give much though to how that information got there and the daily challenges faced by many to bring us this convenience. Let’s dive in shall we?

Undersea or submarine cable is essentially the backbone of the internet and what allows countries and continents to share information between one another. While satellite communications are highly effective it is simply more reliable and cost effective to make use of fiber optic undersea cables. This is not to say that undersea cable is cheap by any stretch of the imagination.

Submarine cable is placed on the sea bed between land based stations in order to convey signals across the ocean. With the first communication cables being laid as early as the 1850’s for use in telegraphy. Later on these cables would advance in order to make use of modern fiber optic and carry digital data including telephony and the internet.

Typical modern undersea cables are far larger than fiber cable used in everyday land use. They are usually around 25 mm (0.98 in) in diameter and have a tremendous weight of around 1.4 kg per meter (0.4 lb/ft), although much larger and heavier ones are in use around shallower areas and nearer to shore.

Underseas Cable Diagram

 

  1. Polyethylene Jacket
  2. Mylar tape
  3. Stranded Steel Wires
  4. Aluminium Water barrier
  5. Poly-carbonate
  6. Copper or Aluminium Tuber
  7. Petroleum Jelly
  8. Optical Fibers

How is it Laid? 

The cables are laid gently on the ocean floor by specifically designed ships and in most cases remain submerged due to their weight. They are designed with an average life-span of 25 years, this however does not mean they are immune to breakages prior to this. There are a number of reasons a cable can fail including anything from simple degradation to shifts in the ocean floor. This of course means that repairs will be required and this in turn requires specialized equipment and specially trained personnel to carry out the work.

Repairing Undersea Cable

Should there be an issue with a submarine cable it must be raised to the water surface and worked on from there. It is a fairly complex operation in which a cable repair ship will be dispatched to the location and the deploy a marker buoy near the break. Once there the cable will be grappled off the ocean floor and raised in order to begin repairs, various types of grapples are used depending primarily on the conditions of the ocean floor. Cable repair can be both a lengthy and dangerous for all involved with work crews having to often postpone repairs due to inclement weather conditions, regardless of the state of repair they where currently in. Once splicing of the cable has taken place the repaired cable will be returned to the seabed , the repaired cable will be longer than the original, so the excess is deliberately laid in a ‘U’ shape on the ocean floor. This is done in the hopes of preventing future damage to the cable.

Final Thoughts

Connecting the world is far from simple and very, very expensive, so next time your cruising the internet super highway give some thought to the technologies that enable you to send that email, share that photo of your lunch or pay for that designer dress in Milan.

How to Fusion Splice Fiber Optic Cable

Fusion Splicing is simply joining two optical fibers together by making use of heat. The two optical fibers should be fused in such as way as to allow light to be passed through them without scattering or reflecting light back at the point of the splice.

Cable Stripping

 

The heat used to fuse the two fibers together is usually in the form of an electric arc, however it can also be achieved using a laser or even gas flame, but these methods are considered dated and inferior . This very simple Fusion Splicing guide should help to explain the process without getting too technical.

What You'll Need

  1. Fiber Strippers
  2. Kevlar Cutter
  3. Splice Sleeves
  4. Alcohol Wipes
  5. Fiber Optic Cleaver
  6. Microscope (Not mandatory, but very useful for checking fiber ends)
  7. Fusion Splicer

 


 

Step 1: Stripping the Fibers 

Stripping FiberIt sounds simple enough right? Unfortunately this is not quite as simple as stripping the simple coating of your average house-hold copper cable. In this case you will first be removing the polymer coating by making use of Fiber Strippers, which are specially designed for stripping the coating off the fiber. Ideally 1 and half inches (40 mm) should be removed from each end of the fiber you are joining. This should be done incrementally and gently while ensuring the stripper is held at a slight angle during the process.

With the coating stripped from the fibers it is now time to simply clip away any excess, exposed Kevlar with your Kevlar cutter. Once completed slide one of your Splice Sleeves onto one of your fiber, you may not be able to do this once you have spliced the two fibers together so it is best to do it now.

 


 

Step 2: Clean, Cleave and Clean Again 

Cleave CableKeeping the fibers clean is of the utmost importance when it comes to fusion splicing. It cannot be repeated enough, ensure that the fibers you are working with are cleaned after every major interaction with them. You do this by gently wiping them down with Alcohol Wipes.

Once clean it is time to cleave the fibers. The fiber should ideally be cleaved using what is know as the score-and -break method, this is done to ensure that the end face is perfectly flat and perpendicular to the axis of the fiber. This is best done by making use of a quality Fiber Optic Cleaver. The closer the cleave angle is to 90 degrees on both fibers the better, this will result in less optical loss from the splice. After cleaving both fibers it is time to once again clean the ends with the Alcohol Wipes.

 


 

Step 3: Fusion Splicing 

Fusion SplicingIt is now time to make use of your Fusion Splicer, begin by placing each fiber into the guides on the Fusion Splicer and clamp them into places securely. Close the lid of the splicer and be sure to select the correct settings on the monitor and program in the correct fiber types into the Fusion Splicer. The fiber ends will be automatically moved into position, at this point a profuse cycle will begin and any remaining dirt on the fiber ends will be removed as preheating begins. Next the fusion splicer will attempt to align the two fibers by inspecting the cleaves, bad cleaves will result in misalignment and will be rejected. If the cleaves are good the fibers will be fused by an automatic arc cycle that heats the ends and feeds the fibers together at a controlled rate.

Once fusion has been completed the Fusion Splicer will inspect the splice and estimate the total optical loss of the splice. Should it need to be remade it will inform you. If all goes according to plan it is now time to remove the fibers from the guides and move the splice protector over the splice and shrink it to fit (Most splicing machines have a heating device for heat shrinking protective sleeves).

 


 

As previously mentioned, this is a very simple guide. There are many variables that must be taken into account when you are splicing different types of fiber. So while it is difficult to get down to specifics hopefully this guide should give you a good idea of the process as a whole and get you started. Just remember to take your time while splicing in order ensure a good clean splice, it will save time in the long run.

Need a Fusion Splicer? Check out the FS-8993 Core Alignment Fusion Splicer Kit.

A Quick Guide to Fiber Optic Connectors

You're about to begin a brand new fiber optic installation, or perhaps you're working on an existing one? You'll need a a good idea of what type of connectors will work best.

Fiber Optic Connectors

This simple guide should help you in understanding the various fiber optic connectors on the market and get you up and running in no time. Please note that there are many, many types of connectors and variants available, we will only be covering the most commonly used ones here.

LC Connector
LC Connector 

LC connectors are licensed by Lucent Technologies, now known as Alcatel-Lucent. These connectors are ideal for use in high-density applications due to their small size and feature a pull-proof design. They are available in both simplex and duplex versions with a 1.25mm zirconia ferrule. Additionally LC connectors also make use of an specialized latch mechanism in order to provide stability within rack mounts.

 


 

SC Connector
SC Connector 

SC connectors, also known as Subscriber Connectors, Square Connectors or Standard Connectors are non-optical disconnect connectors with a 2.5mm pre-radius-ed zirconia ferrule. They are ideal for quick patching of cables into rack or wall mounts due to their push-pull design. Available in simplex and duplex with a reusable duplex holding clip to allow for duplex connections.

 


 

FC Connector
FC Connector 

FC connectors are known as both Ferrule Connectors and Fiber Channel Connectors. They feature a durable threaded coupling and are best suited for use within telecoms applications and make use of non-optical disconnect.

 

 


 

ST Connector
ST Connector 

ST connectors or Straight Tip connectors make use of a semi-unique bayonet connection with a 2.5mm ferrule. ST’s are great fiber optic connectors for field installation due to their reliability and durability. They are available in both simplex and and duplex

 

 


 

MTP Connector
MTP / MPO Connector 

MTP Fiber Connector or Multiple-Fiber Termination Push-On/Pull-off is a brand name for a connector developed by US CONEC® and is an improved high performance version of an MPO Connector. MTP connectors are compatible with MPO connectors. The most common MTP connectors contain 12 fibers but can go up to 24 fibers in newer designs.

MTP is specifically designed for multi-fiber ribbon cables and the typical insertion loss is 0.25db, which is inline with standard SC and ST connectors. The UPC design makes use of a flat surface and the APC variant has an 8° angle in order to minimize back reflection. The connectors are available in Male (Pins) and Female (No Pins) versions.

 


 

MTRJ Connector
MT-RJ Connector 

MT-RJ Connector stands for Mechanical Transfer Registered Jack or Media Termination – Recommended Jack. MT-RJ connectors are designed to snap into Ethernet ports of various devices such as computers and routers in order to supply networks with fiber optic data transfer speeds.They are typically designed for multimode optic fibers but are available for single-mode as well. They are 2.45mm x 4.4mm in size.

 

With some luck, this guide has helped clear up a few things. However if you’re still not sure which fiber optic connectors are right for you, or perhaps you’d like some more information you can always get in touch with Fibertronics either by phone (877) 320 3143 or email sales@fibertronics.com.