Fiber Optic Cabinets, Cables, Pedestals and Terminals

As climate change affects everyone everywhere with unpredictable weather extremes, service providers are taking a second look at the type and quality of equipment they are putting into place for their networks for today and tomorrow. The extreme temperatures recorded around the world aren’t likely to let up as summers get hotter, winters get colder, and new historic records are set every season.

If temperature challenges aren’t enough to concern network engineers and construction crews alike, let’s throw in wildfires, hurricanes, and unexpected rainfalls to further test the mettle of equipment, fiber, and the personnel building, operating, and maintaining existing and new-build networks.

At Fiber Connect 2023 in Orlando, Florida, this summer, Clearfield National Marketing Manager Michael Wood and others discussed the challenges being brought by climate change on the “Harsh Environments Dictate a Different Approach to Deployments” breakout panel with representatives from Google Fiber, Ditch Witch, 3-GIS, and Cyclomedia. Among the issues panelists discussed were the need for tested, quality products and equipment, the ability to easily install and replace them and to protect field crews as they worked in the outdoor extremes.

The best solution to preventing expensive truck rolls in the future starts on day one, by installing quality products and equipment into the network that have been tested and certified to work in extreme temperatures. Clearfield’s family of products are built and tested to Telcordia physical standards as appropriate and are certified to work in operating temperatures between minus 40 degrees F up to a near-boiling 185 degrees F.

We back our equipment testing with documentation and warranties because we’ve done the work to make sure our products will perform as specified, regardless of any temperature extremes we may experience in the next year or over the next decade.

Some service providers have chosen to purchase lower-cost parts not certified or warrantied to last and we believe that’s penny-wise and pound foolish, as Benjamin Franklin was known to say. Providers are betting that lesser quality parts, typically built offshore without rigorous testing, will hold up to temperature extremes without affecting broadband quality or just downright breaking.

Given a single product failure in the outside plant will cost, at minimum, several hundred dollars of technician time to replace, along with the cost of the replacement product and the impact on revenue and corporate reputation, purchasing lower quality products at the beginning of a network build is likely to cost more money down the road in terms of repair time, loss of revenue, and damage to the company’s image.

Trusted and reliable products also protect people. The “Harsh Environments” panel noted that hotter temperatures are altering field crew procedures for breaks and time outside. If you don’t have to send technicians out in the heat or cold to restore service, you aren’t putting them at risk for a weather-associated injury.

While using tested and certified parts won’t prevent all network outages, they can certainly reduce the probability and frequency of them over time. It’s better to spend a few more dollars up front on good parts, rather than to find out the lower-cost ones fail on the worst weather days of the year.

Kevin leads the marketing efforts for Clearfield as Chief Marketing Officer. He joined the fiber company in 2016, leveraging his extensive experience in advanced communications technology, fiber optic systems, and business product marketing. Prior to joining Clearfield, he spent two decades serving in various senior marketing positions at ADTRAN. Before that, he spent a decade at telephone operating company BellSouth, now a part of AT&T, where he worked as the lead broadband product evaluations resource in the Science & Technology department.

Morgan currently serves on the Fiber Broadband Association Senior Council Committee and has also held various leadership positions at the Fiber Broadband Association, including Board of Directors Chair for 2015, 2019, and 2022. Morgan holds an Electrical Engineering degree from Auburn University and an MBA from the University of Alabama.