The time right to use fibre though the home says Cleerline

posted on Saturday, 23rd April 2016 by Geny Caloisi

Habitech  Networking  Cleerline  Fibre optics 

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Never mind fibre-to-the-home; fibre-through-the-home will inevitably be the norm according to cable manufacturer Cleerline Technology Group and its UK distributor Habitech.

CI cables have been reinvented or enhanced to accommodate the need for ever greater bandwidth. During the last decade, we have witnessed the transition from Coax, to Cat 5e, to Cat 6, to Cat 6a, to Cat 7, and now Cat 8 (scheduled for release this year).. By contrast, fibre optic cable has remained relatively consistent in terms of its huge available bandwidth.

What has changed is not the fibre cable but the ability of the hardware on each end to use it. Even so when customers are crying out for greater data speed there still exists a resistance within the CI community due to a number a factors including the need for training to install and terminate fibre cable; the cost of installation tools, and scepticism about the scale of future bandwidth and infrastructure requirements.

Cleerline SSF (1)

Cleerline claims that its SSF (Stronger Safer Faster) products have removed every one of these challenges. Mechanically, SSF fibre is a different proposition from standard fibre. It incorporates a patented polymeric coating as an integral part of the optical glass fibre. This makes the glass more pliable with a greater bend radius, easier and safer to handle, tougher in the wall and less prone to micro-fractures while meeting both multimode and singlemode fibre optic industry standards.

“In terms of durability, SSF fibre is stronger than standard fibre and much tougher than Category cable, having 102kg short-term pull load compared to Category's 11.3kg, Graham Nash of Cleerline distributor Habitech told Inside CI, “and its minimum bend radius is around 8mm during pulling, which is extraordinary for CAT let alone fibre”. But the real advantage of fibre according to Graham is that once it’s in the wall the only thing that will ever need to change is the termination boxes. “It’s become a cliché to say that the world’s most expensive cable is a retro-fit cable but it’s true all the same, and any termination costs are negligible compared with the time and effort involved in running new cable.”

“What’s more, says Graham, “there’s nothing alien about fibre infrastructure; wall plates, boxes, patch cables, and other fibre-specific accessories are all commonplace and the design is very similar to Category UTP infrastructures.”

Of course if you’re dead-against fibre you can engineer around it, but inevitably copper will sooner or later be overwhelmed by bandwidth demand. According to Graham “you’ll need 18Gps for 4k 60hz 4.4.4 and you can use two Cat 6 or 6a cables with distance limitations, but what happens when you need to transmit 40Gps? Cat 7 or Cat 8 perhaps, but at what practical cost and effort when all along the fibre can handle the payload without breaking sweat.”

Of course age-old ways of working don’t change overnight and there is much to commend the CAT workhorse: it’s reliable, compatible and trusted, but according to Cleerline - and anyone with an eye on the rising tide of data demand - the pressure to remove last few feet of copper from an entertainment delivery network that uses light all the way to the door will eventually tell. Cleerline’s SSF fibre is available now and it’s easy to work with, so for new builds and refurbs their question is what are you waiting for?

Cleerline is distributed by habitech. Fore more stories about Habitech's product portfolio and services, vsiit our partner page here.

Geny Caloisi

Geny Caloisi is an accomplished technology journalist who has worked in a variety of AV industry publications. 

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