Why Air Blown Fibre?

There are two ongoing truths in the world of communications the need for more bandwidth and the accelerating rate of change. Every network is contending with the need to carry voice, data and video content if not today it must be ready for tomorrow. Fibre is the ultimate bandwidth solution to carry high speed data with capacity to spare. So is it just a matter putting in fibre and lots of it?

If only it was that simple. Unfortunately, for network designers they must chose which fibre, a choice which ultimately will decide or limit which equipment can be used not only in the present but for years to come. For example, multi mode fibre (OM1? OM2? OM3? OM4?) is suitable for equipment purpose built for that fibre Or single mode fibre (G652? G652C? G652d? G655? etc) which uses a higher order equipment.

The challenge for network designers is to know which applications will be important in six months or six years time. One option is to buy the most expensive bandwidth solution you can, in the hope that the technology will be around for years to come. Of course with the continuous change in fibre technology taking place, who knows if today's fibre deployment will be obsolete in a few years?

The answer is simple: "Air Blown Fibre". This installs tubes rather than laying dark fibre. This is a great solution as it does not require network installer to purchase the fibre before they need it.

This allows the newtwork owner to avoid purchasing obsolete technology and overspend.

In addition, the installer doesn't need building permits or construction to lay new fibre. The solution uses empty tubes that are ready to be filled with fibre of any type and with a choice of how many fibres, instead of laying multiple cores of dark fibre which may never be used.

When the network installer wants to add more fibre they can blow out the old fibre and blow in new fibre at 50 metres per minute. This is done via distribution boxes which are located throughout a building and gives the owner the advantage of preserving their fibre investment.

What is Air Blown Fibre?

Air Blown Fibre refers to the use of compressed air or nitrogen to literally blow lightweight optical fibre cables through a tube cable at up to 50 metres per minute. Standard blowing distances are typically 800 to a 1000 metres. The technology is based on the installation of a tube cable before installing any fibre. A tube cable is composed of a flexible outer jacket containing individual flexible tubes, called primary tubes which are about the size of a drinking straw. The number of individual primary tubes (up to 24) depends on the diameter of the outer jacket. For example, the outer jacket of a seven tube bundle is similar to a 20mm diameter plastic conduit.

 An individual primary tube is similar to an inner duct, which is the standard conduit pathway usually used to hold optical fibre. By strategically designing the network and the location of junction boxes, most splicing situations normally required with standard fibre can be avoided. Spare fibre if required can be coiled within strategically location boxes without the need for large coils of wound fibre cable as in case of standard fibre cable.

On day one, only that fibre required immediately needs to be installed, additional fibre can be laid at later dates without disturbing the existing network within a couple of hours. Network reconfiguration can be done with minimal disruption from breakout boxes strategically placed.

Extending tubes from the nearest tube distribution box and blowing additional fibre through vacant primary tubes, or replacing exiting fibre unit count with a larger quantity (i.e. replacing a 4-fibre unit with a 12-fibre unit). The fibre can be removed replaced and re-routed to a new destination if needed the system is completely flexible and the installation is a push fit system and totally interchangeable.

Each primary tube accepts a single-fibre cable, with a fibre count of your choosing up to 12 cores. To change the fibre in the primary tube is easy as the fibre can be blown out of the tube very quickly and a new fibre unit installed. This eliminates the need for the network designer to predict on day one what future requirements will be in the months or years ahead.

Air Blown Fibre is the only real means to truly future-proof a network. To extract the best potential from your installation an Air Blown Fibre qualified engineer should prepare the system design and supervise the installation.


 Benefits of Air Blown Fibre

  • No need for additional electronics to compensate for a loss that numerous splices in a typical conventional fibre system can cause.
  • Creates cash flow savings by deferring the cost of additional fibers until you need them
  • Eliminates replacement of conventional fibre due to obsolescence
  • Less tendency to over-design by specifying a too-large count of fibre cable
  • Savings that come from being able to easily install new technology. For example, optical fibre with gigabit transmission speed will likely use OM3 and not an OM1 multi-mode fibre.

The Air Blown Fibre infrastructure makes it possible to bring on new capacity in hours or days, rather than weeks or months. It resolves many IT issues by providing immediate scalability and quick and easy fibre installations (without installation technicians disrupting operations or the facility) for a bandwidth-ready network backbone.

The Air Blown Fibre system also eases the planning and budget process for not only the immediate network use but can quickly meet any unexpected network expansions, moves, add-ons or changes.

Air Blown Fibre accommodates future technology and new projects or events, and is changing the way IT views the physical layer.