Fiber Optic Cabinets, Cables, Pedestals and Terminals

For the last two decades, more bandwidth was always good bandwidth, regardless of how it was delivered. We got by with things like DSL, cable, and fixed wireless solutions that would deliver large download speeds and sometimes adequate upstream speeds, thinking it was “good enough” until the pandemic showed us the error of such beliefs. We had just started to scratch the surface of upstream bandwidth requirements.

Work-from-home and distance learning required sufficient upstream bandwidth to support multi-person, multi-party real time video conferencing. Few saw the plot twist of two person households BOTH working from home and families having to conduct business and education during normal business hours, making sufficient upstream bandwidth for one person very insufficient. 

Over the past two years, fiber networks continued to demonstrate their versatility and resilience to adverse circumstances. When communities and homes needed more bandwidth because everyone was staying home, fiber service providers were able to make it happen with a few keystrokes while other technologies were left scrambling to patch in, node split, and upgrade new equipment to meet demand.

Most importantly, more upstream bandwidth driven by pandemic requirements was yesterday’s picture. We need to address tomorrow’s reality of upward upstream bandwidth growth in terms of near-term and longer-term applications. For the near-term, home security and personal health monitoring are a couple of growth areas service providers need to start thinking about and planning for.  We’re all familiar with the simple use-case of home monitoring providing basic alarm and utility monitoring, things like glass breaking, windows opening, water leaking, and more often today a basic video camera feed.

Tomorrow’s home security system will incorporate multiple 4K HD video feeds because you, the insurance company, and the police want detailed images of who is trying to break into your home at a minimum. If you want to dial up the future to 11, there are multiple companies that have demonstrated a roving or flying – yes, flying – robot that will move around the house to see if the glass break is an intruder or just your large dog getting into something he shouldn’t. Down the road, the security robot will incorporate other sensors, such as heat, smoke, carbon monoxide, and gas leak detection.

Personal health monitoring ties into several advancements in health care and robotics. You’ll soon be able to get your blood pressure checked by putting your finger over your cell phone camera – no cuff required – and can get an EKG today in your home using a device the size of a credit card. Daily medical data from wearables will need to flow upstream to the cloud and to your doctor to review.

For the elderly, aging at home instead of being put into “the home” becomes a realistic option, with the health monitoring providing daily status updates. Wi-Fi routers are cleverly gaining additional functionality as in-home motion detectors with the ability to sense a fall or inactivity and send an alert to a family member or a call center for follow-up.

Current asymmetrical solutions may be adequate to support one or two applications along with others, but at some point, it’s like the old adage of boiling the frog starting with cold water. The total number of applications requiring upstream bandwidth will ultimately overwhelm asymmetrical broadband solutions, forcing an upgrade to symmetrical fiber services.

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 is currently the Fiber Broadband Association Chair of the Board of Directors. Morgan has also served in various leadership positions at the Fiber Broadband Association, including Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for 2021. Morgan holds an Electrical Engineering degree from Auburn University and an MBA from the University of Alabama.