How Enabling Premise Installers Saves Time, Money, and Reduces Inventory 

The Current Challenge

Not since the advent of the telephone network installation, which began in the late 1800s, or installation of the electrical grid as we know it, have we seen anything like the current fiber optic build-out that we are in today. The one commonality of these three unique and highly desired services is that each necessitates  homes, businesses, and living units to be connected to a network of significant size.

“We are now paying the price for not adopting these technologies sooner.”

As we look at end-user/subscriber connectivity to a Service Provider Network via fiber, what we see is the biggest pain point for most companies. 

In Greenfield installations (new construction), whether single-family homes or MDU’s (multi-dwelling units- apartments/condos etc.), the builders typically work with the service providers to plan out a cookie-cutter installation method.

In Brownfield installations (existing single family and MDU’S), each installation typically is unique due to the age of the building, the materials used in the construction, the layout of the building on the land, proximity to service lines and accessibility from the outside to the inside of the service location.

In both instances, the are 3 methodologies installers can use:

  • The industry accepted best way—using bulk fiber and field terminating a splice on connector to the exact length of fiber required.
  • Using a factory terminated drop cable which comes in pre-ordered lengths usually in 25-foot increments (25’/50’/75’ up to typically 300’).
  • Using a mechanical connector on a drop cable in lieu of fusion splicing. This method used to be the accepted methodology. As fusion splicer technology has evolved with the advent of UCL Swift’s All-In-One technology, and the splice on connector price has become more favorable than mechanical connectors, we are seeing a rapid shift to splice on connectors for both economic and performance reasons.

Each of these methods have their own Pros and Cons that affect the decision making at each organization.  

  • Pre-connectorized solutions require less skill to install, but are much more expensive. Using this methodology requires a significant inventory on each installer’s vehicle.The sudden demand increase, combined with the current fiber optic cable supply chain issues have left companies that favor this methodology scrambling due to lack of products. Using this method also forces each installation to waste 10-50% of the fiber that gets installed due to using fixed length cables. (Using a 75’ cable for a 52’ drop.) In many installations, service providers install a costly fiber slack storage box to hide the extra unsightly fiber at a subscriber’s location.
  • Mechanical connectors are installed without fusion splicers on field stripped fiber. They require an installation kit, and the fiber needs to be stripped and cleaved (cut using a cleaver) prior to installing the connector. This is a simpler method, but the technician has no way to see the quality of his work until it is completed causing a higher waste factor than splice on connectors. Although mechanical connectors can be reused a few times, technicians typically take a new connector if one fails during the installation process. Mechanical connectors also have a higher post installation failure rate than both pre-connectorized and field splice on connectors. This is due to the weather and extreme temperature swings that can cause the fiber to shrink or expand and compromise the joint between the connector and the fiber. 
  • Fusion splice on connectors are the gold standard for field termination connections. Splice-On connectors enable technicians to cut drop cables to the exact length needed on each installation eliminating fiber waste fiber slack storage boxes. The technicians require a fusion splicer and more advanced training than the other methodologies. Technicians are able to see the quality of their work as they progress via the fusion splicer metrics supplied during the installation. UCL Swift’s KF4A All-In-One fusion splicer enables a well-trained technician to install a connector in three minutes. Fusion splicing, or melting the glass, provide a secure and long-term connection providing up to 20 years or more of connectivity. Finally, UCL Swift offers incentives to offset, and in many cases, eliminate the cost of the fusion splicer.

Give us a call today and see how your company can improve installation metrics, reduce costs and eliminate inventory and supply chain issues to get your projects back on track.

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