The two biggest challenges that small cells face span economics and regulation. The challenges are how to cost effectively deploy hundreds of thousands of nodes across the nation and how to do so without creating a wall of public dissent. Corning Optical Communications has addressed both these barriers with an innovation to help operators meet the demand for bandwidth with miniaturized 5G-ready terminals and connectors.
“5G is creating some very unique network challenges, such as the need for far more radios and more access points,” Bob Whitman, vice president of market development for carrier networks at Corning. “Small cells will be placed in novel locations. And, there are all of the practical challenges of zoning and permitting and rights of way access. We are creating solutions that make it faster, easier and less expensive to build these networks.”
To meet these challenges, Corning has developed Evolv hardened connectivity solutions with Pushlok connector technology, which are designed to simplify fiber deployment where space is constrained. Half the size of existing offering, Pushlok connectors connect to terminals as much as four times smaller. The compact terminals can be deployed in the ground, on a pole or facade, or on a strand. Operators can save as much as $500 per terminal location by shrinking handhole and pedestal size, reusing existing infrastructure, reducing pole-attachment fees and streamlining permitting.
Corning designed the Pushlok technology for ease of installation, enabling one-handed drop installation, with tactile and audible feedback. Addditionally, the Evolv terminals streamline aerial and facade routing and improve the use of congested conduits and handholes.
“It is a simple plug-and-play technology, taking the place of splicing fiber optic cable, and so you don’t need skilled technicians,” Whitman said. “There are a variety of ways that money can be saved in the placement of these terminals and the following connection of the terminal to the device. The terminal allows multiple devices to access the fiber-optic cable at single point. A terminal can make four to 24 ports available to make connections.”
Operators can deploy terminals for any type of fiber-to-the-premises network with minimal visual effect, which can speed approval time by local and municipal governments.
“This terminal supports a converged network,” Whitman said. “You can use it in a wireless network, a fiber-to-the-home network. There are a lot of different companies to market it to.”