Clearfield Inc. (NASDAQ:CLFD) says its FieldShield Fiber Delivery and Protection System enables network operators to deploy fiber-optic cable into areas that had proved unreachable with conventional approaches. The FieldShield family, which includes such novel elements as pushable fiber, will address applications in both the outside plant as well as within enterprises and data centers.
FieldShield elements are designed to work together to provide a complete fiber deployment system or individually in concert with existing ductwork or alternative installation approaches, such as microtrenching. These elements include:
- FieldShield Ruggedized Microduct: Reducing duct requirements to 10 mm or less, the FieldShield microduct comes in three configurations -- direct buried (toneable and non-toneable) and aerial (Figure 8) for the outside plant, and plenum for indoor applications. The microduct features a smooth inner wall and slip lining to ease the deployment of fiber through them, either by pushing or pulling.
- FieldShield Pushable Fiber: Speaking of pulling, the FieldShield line includes rugged cables in fiber counts from 1 to 24 that indeed can be pushed through microduct when necessary. Depending on the number of bend-insensitive fiber it contains, the cable features a 3-mm or 4-mm crush-resistant jacket made of PBT. It is available in bulk reels, factory terminated with FieldShield Pushable Fiber Connectors, or packaged in a FieldShield microduct. Clearfield developed the SC and LC pushable fiber-optic connectors in collaboration with Senko, and they can come terminated and partially assembled at the factory.
- FieldShield Assist: Technicians can push the FieldShield Pushable Fiber up to 100 ft by hand. For applications that require greater lengths, Clearfield offers the FieldShield Assist tool. The hand-held, drill-powered tool can push fiber into tight spaces without crushing or buckling the cable, thanks to an integrated clutch that engages when resistance reaches a potentially damaging level. The tool supports fiber cable reaches 500 ft within OSP-rated duct and 300 ft in plenum duct.
The FieldShield line is compatible with Clearfield’s FieldSmart fiber management architecture and CraftSmart fiber enclosures.
The use of pushable fiber is a novel aspect of the FieldShield line. But the duct’s column strength also is a differentiator, Clearfield believes. “Column strength is a key characteristic of FieldShield Microduct. It was a primary objective within our design to provide a product that had the strength and flexibility to open up occupied duct to new fiber,” said Johnny Hill, chief operating officer for Clearfield, via a press release. “But equally important is the crush strength for direct bury applications. It’s the combination of the two that provides the flexibility for challenging route paths.”
The products are just now becoming generally available. The pushable fiber cable is initially available with either one or two fibers, with higher fiber counts available April 1. Similarly, the plenum version of the microduct will be available in April, Hill tells Lightwave.
However, select customers already have field tested FieldShield elements. "Our installation of Clearfield's FieldShield Microduct went smoothly,” says Nonda Harris general manager of GeoPath. “The FieldShield duct proved to be flexible and durable when deploying it into the streets of Chicago.”
“Clearfield really has remained true to their promise of keeping it simple,” asserts Mike Charles, vice president - Telecommunications Division for ElectriCom. “We connected the Assist directly to the power drills we were already using.”
For more information on fiber and cable products and suppliers, visit the Lightwave Buyer’s Guide.