Who invented telephone poles

Above-ground fiber optic cables to the customer even faster

Telekom also lays fiber optics to remote courtyards and difficult terrain. Sometimes she runs the cable over wooden poles - and that's exactly why there is a new, exciting technology.

When Telekom lays its fiber optic lines for fast Internet, it works like this, according to old fathers' tradition: Tear open the road, put the cables in, fill the road, put everything back in order. This has proven itself, but it takes a long time, is time-consuming, expensive and often annoys people on site. But: "If nothing helps, it has to be" - one would think.

But now there are excellent alternatives to classic civil engineering at Telekom. When cables are plowed, a slot just a few centimeters wide is milled into which the cables are laid. This makes it much easier, faster and cheaper to restore the surface.

And instead of civil engineering, "building construction" is a solution that is becoming more and more interesting - that is, laying fiber optics over above-ground lines. We reveal how it works, what advantages it has, and what the inventor of the iPhone screen had to do with it.

Advantage 1 - no civil engineering work

The biggest plus of above-ground fiber optic cables is obvious. Because no civil engineering work is required. Instead, the fiber optic cables are routed over the wooden masts, of which Deutsche Telekom already has around three million in use nationwide with a cable length of over 100,000 kilometers. It works quickly and cheaply.

In addition, according to Mario Zerson, who is responsible for international standardization at Telekom, it is an excellent solution, for example in rural areas, "to connect somewhat remote courtyards".

And if at some point the neighboring farm also wants to use the fiber optic network? "Then", says Zerson, "you just go out with a ladder and infect the customer. That way you can finish the compression relatively quickly". But also in other regions where civil engineering work is difficult or too expensive, for example in the mountains, this solution can be used as a "mast-have".

Advantage 2 - a lot of experience

Telekom developed the new technology for laying above ground together with the inventor of modern fiber optics, the US company Corning.

Short flashback: After copper cables slowly came to the end of their possibilities in the 1960s, the specialists from the state of New York invented the first low-loss optical glass fiber - in which a large part of the light signal still arrives at the end of the cable.

A newly developed multiport box from Corning is now used for the above-ground installation, into which the cables are plugged in almost the same way as at home in a multiple socket. "It is specially designed for outdoor use," explains Rebecca Miller from Corning's sales department, explaining the plug-and-play system, "and then you can take the cable to the house."

This is again one of the ingenious solutions from the glass specialists at Corning - who became world famous with the development of the extremely hard "Gorilla Glass" for the screens of iPhones and other smartphones.

Advantage 3 - maximum security

So far, the system has mainly been used in the USA, Canada and Australia, where fiber optic cables above ground have to bridge large distances. The requirements for security and reliability are correspondingly high. Dust, dirt or rain cannot harm the glass fiber or its connecting elements.

"A mast like this is five to seven meters high," explains Telekom expert Mario Zerson, "you can't easily get there. And the plug-in connector used could even be submerged under water, and that would still be safe". Another advantage: because, unlike copper, glass fiber is a non-metallic medium, lightning strikes are practically irrelevant. This also makes the technology less maintenance and less prone to malfunctions.

Advantage 4 - great potential

In 2018 alone, Telekom plans to lay 60,000 kilometers of fiber optic cables across Germany - still predominantly in traditional civil engineering. But in order to close supply gaps, to shorten waiting times, and in order to still be able to realize projects that are actually unprofitable, alternative laying methods are becoming increasingly important. Plowing is just as much a part of this as is the above-ground fiber optic expansion.

Mario Zerson from Telekom looks confidently to the future: "I assume that we have some of our currently three million wooden masts where we will attach this system."

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