Corning develops bendable FTTH fiber

Corning has developed a new optical fiber-based technology that solves historic technical challenges fortelecommunications carriers installing fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) networks.

CORNING,NY—Corning has developed a new optical fiber-based technology that solves historic technical challenges fortelecommunications carriers installing fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) networks.Corning’s breakthrough is based on an optical fiber design called “nanoStructures” that allows the cabledfiber to be bent around very tight cornersand under staples with virtually no signalloss.While other technologies can bendaround corners, they are either limited in performance or not backwards-compatible with standard single-mode fibers and field practices

These improved attributes will enable telecommunications carriers to economically offer true high-speed Internet, voice,and high-density television services to virtually all commercial and residential(apartment and condominium) buildings.Current optical fiber installations lose signal strength and effectiveness when bent around corners and routed through a building, making it difficult and expensive to run fiber all the way to customers’ homes.

“This is a game-changing technology for telecommunications applications,”said Peter Volanakis, president and chief operating officer at Corning. “We have developed an optical fiber cable that is as rugged as copper cable but with all of the bandwidth benefits of fiber. By making fundamental changes in the way light travels in the fiber, we were able to cre-ate a new optical fiber that is over 100 times more bendable than standard fibers. ”Corning’s newest fiber technology retains compatibility with industry performance standards, existing manufacturing processes, and installation procedures so customers don’t have to sacrifice one benefit to get another, he added.

“There are more than 680 million apartment homes worldwide, including more than 25 million in the United States, ”Volanakis said.“ The high cost of installation and difficulty in delivering fiber to the home made this market unappealing to most providers.We have been working closely with these carriers to create a solution that will make this more economically viable for them and for their customers.”

One of the early proponents of this emerging technology is Verizon Communications. In February of this year, Corning and Verizon commissioned a joint working team to solve the problems of multiple-dwelling unit installation using this new fiber solution. According to the companies, installation of the flexible fiber in high-rise apartment buildings will enable Verizon to provide fiber-optic service (FiOS) on a mass scale in the United States and, with its faster Internet speeds, more high-definition content, and more interactive capabilities than other platforms.

The new fiber also enables simpler and more aesthetically pleasing designs for the cable, hardware, and equipment used in the deployment, according to Volanakis. Further technical details of the fiber will remain shrouded in mystery until this fall, however, when Corning will introduce a full suite of optical fiber, cable, hardware, and equipment solutions based on its nano Structures technology platform at the Fiber-to-the-Home Conference in Orlando, FL, Sept.30–Oct.4.

—Valerie Coffey

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