Fiber Optic Cabinets, Cables, Pedestals and Terminals

By Jim Pilgrim

I’m a country boy at heart. Grew up on a farm where I baled more than my share of hay. So when I’m driving across the country and catch a whiff of an alfalfa field that has just been cut, memories of my childhood come rushing back in. Those memories are bittersweet.

Back then life was good, drove a 1971 Ford pickup, a 360 V8 with a supercharger. Gas was 58 cents a gallon and I could burn through a set of rear tires every summer. I’m not going to lie to you; baling hay back then was back-breaking work. 75-100 pound bales, stack on a hay wagon, haul to hay shed, unload and stack again. Hot, dirty work and blistered hands; this was old-school haying. Not like today with the large round bales that get baled, loaded, unloaded and fed all with machinery. Never touched with human hands, no sweat or flesh need be sacrificed. Hell, the tractors are air-conditioned now.

We’ve come a long way. Back then we had an 8 party line at our house. Now I have an Active Ethernet FTTH network serving my house up on the farm. I am reminded every day all that I don’t know, but a couple weeks ago I attended a technical seminar on new technologies on the horizon for FTTH networks. That was much more than a subtle reminder, it was more like a smack in the face. 10 giga-bit GPON, Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) with symmetrical 100 gb/s (up and downstream) with 100km reach. Are you kidding me, that is 62 miles! OFDMA allows Spectral overlap without interference. WDM PON with “colorless” ONTs, 8 port OLT cards with OTDR functionality built-in to the card. There are some amazing technologies just around the corner in our industry. Zero water peak fiber opening up the E-Band (Extended Band)(1360-1460nm wavelengths) ONTs that can go to sleep when idle to conserve on energy consumption, all brilliant stuff.

We have come a long way as an industry and it appears we have a long way to go. Thank God we will never get bored.

As I sneak up on the final chapter of my telecom career (33 years behind me, not than many in front), I am amazed every day on far our industry has come. Would I trade my carpel-tunnel for some blisters on my hands? I’m not so sure, but I still do love the smell of those alfalfa fields right after they’ve been cut.