Fiber Optic Cabinets, Cables, Pedestals and Terminals

One of the interesting temptations being offered by cellular carriers is the ability for organizations to run their own private LTE or 5G network. After all, who wouldn’t want to have their own private wireless “party line” for a factory or office complex that guarantees your calls will have priority for everything from simple voice communications to controlling industrial processes? Sounds cool, but don’t forget about fiber if you decide to go that route.

These non-public mobile networks can use a combination of licensed, unlicensed, or shared spectrum. Private LTE networks have been in use for more than a decade, providing dedicated and secured connectivity wherever coverage and reliability are needed. Depending on the power of the radios and radio bands being used, private 5G networks can provide coverage from a few thousand square feet to dozens of square kilometers. Data speeds can range from 300 Mbps in lower bands to high-gigabit rates using millimeter wave technologies.

Business applications for private networks include manufacturing to control robotics and VR, support for logistics and warehousing operations, large hospitality and venues’ operational and security needs, and hard-core industrial applications such as energy production and mining. For some applications where you have moving devices, such as trucks or flying drones, a private cellular network is just the ticket. In cases without so many moving parts, fiber is a better solution for simplicity, and total cost of ownership. 

Regardless, supporting private cellular networks requires fiber at the core to support connecting radios together on a campus and connecting the larger private network to the internet as appropriate.  Promotors of private cellular networks tend to focus more on the wireless aspects and less so on supporting speeds and feeds from the network into a large cloud where data can be stored and analyzed as needed. There’s also the security aspect involved in keeping a private wireless network, well, private (secure), with fiber - the best network medium to connect things to each other.

As much as I’d like to tell you everything can be solved with enough fiber, that’s not the truth. However, any solution without wires does require fiber, regardless of the marketing narrative that would let you believe you can have one without the other.

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.