Nexans, a worldwide expert in the cable industry, has launched an innovative range of FTTA (Fiber to the Antenna) solutions developed specifically to provide the vital fast data connection between the base transmitter station (BTS) and the antennas or remote radio units (RRUs) as telecom operators roll out their new 4G/LTE mobile networks.
Optical fiber is ideally suited to providing the fast data connection link between the BTS and the antenna. Nexans has therefore built on its extensive experience in FTTH (Fiber to the Home) to develop a comprehensive range of FTTA cables and components, including both copper power supply and optical fiber data links, for use in both new build and upgrading projects. Typical installations will include pylons or masts, on buildings or on water towers.
The Nexans FTTA solutions are designed to ensure reliability and long service life in demanding outdoor conditions, including resistance to UV exposure and extreme temperatures from -40°C to +85°C. Depending on the specific application needs – such as creating a new site or upgrading an existing site – the FTTA range offers three main solutions: hybrid cable – incorporating the power and optical fiber elements in a single cable cross-section; separate optical fiber and power cables; reuseable feeder, which reuses coaxial cables that are already in place to carry the power while a new fiber optic data cable is fed through the existing central duct.
In designing the FTTA solutions, Nexans has paid particular attention to ease of use and installation, especially when working in restricted spaces to keep site work and interruptions to a minimum. They can also reduce the need for long and expensive civil works, such as the need to deploy specialised lifters.
For example, the reusable feeder solution is particularly cost-effective for the upgrading of an existing site, such as a water tower or building. The low friction design of the optical fiber means that the site engineer simply has to feed it in from the top connection of the antenna or RRU, usually at a height of 50 to 100 metres above ground. After a short length has been inserted, the cable will then continue to fall under its own weight.
From the very start of the development of the FTTA solutions, Nexans worked in close cooperation with the French telecoms company Gobé. This collaboration was particularly important in the field testing of the effectiveness of the reusable feeder solution.
“Optical fiber is ideally suited for fast data connections, and this innovative FTTA approach is a major development that is opening up an important new market for Nexans in the mobile telecoms sector, says Guillaume Philips of Nexans Interface. “We are attracting considerable interest from operators planning the roll out of their new generation networks and have already carried out some very successful field trials.”