In this research project, researchers will, in collaboration with the regional fiber industry, develop new installation techniques and tools to improve the efficiency of fiber connections.

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Background

The global expansion of fiber connections is going on all over the world and access to fiber is crucial for economic growth and contributes to innovation. Only in Sweden is estimated to do fiber investments for 10 billion SEK in 2016. These major investments will create opportunities for new products and innovations.

Regional actors that is driving the technology development, deployment, training and expansion of fiber is; Servanet, Skanova, Iftac, IKT Networks, Hexatronics, Fiber Optic Valley, IP-only and various village associations. They have a great need for efficient installation methods and new products. If the cost of fiber installation can be reduced it is possible to installation fiber where it today is not economically justifiable, which in turn contributes to a vibrant countryside.

Research focus

The project is based on the regional companies need of; new knowledge, new working methods and equipment in order to improve the efficiency of installation and maintenance of fiber. The project has chosen to focus on four areas with great potential for efficiency improvements and new products.

Automatic detection and characterization of sponges

The objective of this sub-activity is to streamline the fiber installation and maintenance by developing a new method for splicing of fiber ducts with the help of welding. Splicing fiber ducts is done in difficult environments and involves large workload.

Optical fibers are places by blowing into already buried tubes, called ducts. Existing joint technology fiber dukts are based on the same principle as for compressed air hoses and are not designed for buried fiber installations. To improve the technology, a product based on welding will be developed and evaluated within the project. The new product will give better mechanical properties, smaller workload, higher reliability and shorten the splice time for the installer. The new product will be tested and evaluated together project partners to quickly get feedback on how the solution affects the workload and efficiency of the installation work. It will develop a new generation of fittings, equipment, tools, welding them by remelting of the surface layer. Different types of joints will be evaluated.

Partners within in this activity: Eltel, Servanet, Fiber Optic Valley, Mittuniversitetet

Duct Characterization

The purpose of duct characterization is to predict how the duct is placed in the ground when the number of sharp bends reduce the maximum length of how long the fiber can be blown into the tube. The objective of this activity is to streamline the fiber installation and maintenance through duct characterization.

The companies has a great need to be able to characterize how the ducts are buried in the ground for future digging works. It can be done by various methods, for example by radio loop or ground radar. Both methods require manual work by following the ducts with an instrument above ground, which does not provide reliable information about individual bends and radius. To estimate blow ability now a pressure test is done that shows if the pipe leaks and blow a radio probe that might get stuck if a bend is to sharp. This method does not measure the cumulative effect of several bends in a row. By using a new type of probe there will be a better accuracy of categorization. Data from the sensors are filtered inside the probe with a microprocessor and then stored in an embedded memory. When the probe is reached the end the data is read out and processed so that an accurate as possible image of the installation is shown. Within this project a model that estimates the blow distance depending on the length and bends of the installation will be developed.

Partners: Eltel, Servanet, Fiber Optic Valley, Mittuniversitetet

Small radiotransmitters

The purpose of this activity is to streamline the fiber installation and maintenance by using small radio transmitters. The activity will develop cost miniaturized radio transmitters.

Before switching on the buried ducts a quality control is done which ensures that the product is intact and has no sharp bends or gaps in the joints that stops the fiber blowing. One technique to assure the quality of a product is to blow a radio probe through the duct immediately after the directly after it has been buried. This radio probe diameter and length is proportional to the diameter of the duct which allows it to get stuck in the duct radius is too tight somewhere if the tube has been squeezed during the burial. If the radio probe gets stuck it sends out a constant signal and the position can be determine manually by holding a receiver unit above ground, which indicates when the receiver unit is located above the probe. This is a standardized procedure that works well on traditional products.  Through development the fiber ducts has gotten smaller and smaller and today there are no radio probes for the smallest duct sizes that also becoming the most common duct to place at the end customer.

Partners: ICT network, Fiber Optic Valley, Mittuniversitetet

Welding of fiber ducts

The objective of this activity is to streamline the fiber installation and maintenance by developing a new method for splicing fiber ducts with welding. Joining fiber ducts is done in difficult environments and involves large workload.

Optical fibers are installed by blowing the fiber into already buried tubes, called ducts. Today fiber ducts are joint together with a technology based on the same principle as for compressed air hoses and are not designed for buried fiber installations. To improve the technology, a product based on welding will be developed and evaluated within the project. The new product will give better mechanical properties, smaller workload, higher reliability and shorten the joint time for the installer. The new product will be tested and evaluated together project partners to get fast feedback on how the solution affects the workload and efficiency of the installation work. It will develop a new generation of joints and equipment to weld them by remelting of the surface layer. Different types of joints will be evaluated.

Partners: Eltel, Servanet, Fiber Optic Valley, Mittuniversitetet

Project leader

Kent Bertilsson

Studierektor|Studierektor

010-142 89 15

Project members

Johan Sidén

Universitetslektor

010-142 84 88