Ten reasons fiber is becoming more cost-effective in horizontal applications

Jan. 1, 2000

Perceived costs have been a significant hindrance to fiber-to-the-desk. But over the next two years, this hurdle will be lowered.

How soon will fiber make a significant move into the horizontal? Until recently, perceived costs have been the primary factor limiting fiber to building backbones. Over the next two years, however, 10 factors will converge that favor the growth of fiber-to-the-desk (FTTD) by helping to reduce costs. Individually, none of these 10 factors is sufficient to enable significant growth in FTTD. But collectively, they create a powerful force favoring increases in the use of fiber in the horizontal.

These 10 factors are: Gigabit Ethernet, vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs), 100Base-SX, small-form-factor (SFF) connectors, quick-cure adhesives, mechanical connectors, centralized cabling, reduced cost of ferrules, reduced cable costs, and preterminated cables.

What is impressive about this list is not, as stated earlier, one specific element, but rather that so many advances are being made simultaneously that support the use of fiber over copper. The greatest limiting factor is how quickly network planners can learn about and understand these important developments. For MIS managers faced with the challenge of installing robust, reliable, and cost-effective cabling infrastructure, these areas deserve their attention.

Eric R. Pearson, certified professional consultant, is president of Pearson Technologies Inc., a fiber-optic consultancy and training corporation. Elizabeth Goldsmith writes on behalf of the TIA Fiber Optics LAN Section. Member companies include: 3M, AMP, Allied Telesyn, Berk-Tek, Belden Wire & Cable, CommScope, Corning, LANCAST, Lucent Technologies, MicroLinear, Ortronics, Panduit, Siecor, Siemon Co., SpecTran, Sumitomo Electric Lightwave, and Transition Networks. For more information from the FOLS, please visit www.fols.org.