Fiber-Plus-Power Distribution Cabinet

By Contributed Article | October 14, 2013

Fiber-Plus-Power Distribution Cabinet

Combination fiber-plus-power distribution cabinets, developed to simplify fiber and power connections, can significantly reduce fiber to the antenna (FTTA) installation and maintenance costs. Pre-terminated fiber-plus-power distribution cabinets are safer and easier for technicians to mount because they eliminate the need for splicing and connection while hundreds of feet in the air on the tower.

NEMA 4X-rated combination fiber-plus-power distribution cabinets are constructed from high-impact, UV-resistant polycarbonate material with an impact resistance (tested in accordance to UL-746) of more than 900 inches/pound (as compared to 220 inches/pound for fiberglass). Polycarbonate is also more than 40% lighter than fiberglass, steel, or aluminum. Unlike metal cabinets, FiberSource polycarbonate cabinets feature a high dielectric strength to minimize shock hazards.

The versatile wall- or pole-mountable junction box is available with single-mode, multimode 50 micron OM3, multimode 62.5 OM1, or a combination of fiber types. Rated to NEMA 4X, the UL-746 impact-resistant polycarbonate distribution enclosure features a gasketed cabinet door with lockable stainless steel latches. The fiber-plus-power distribution cabinet has a UL94 V-2 flame rating, a UL F1 outdoor UV exposure rating, and provides up to 60V/120A DC input and 10A breaker-protected Schottky diode-isolated DC outputs.

Rugged Connectors for a Reliable System

The fiber-plus-power distribution cabinet relies on robust components to maximize uptime and significantly reduce maintenance and repair costs. The system features IP67-rated connectors from CONEC that are designed specifically for harsh environment applications.

The International Electrotechnical Committee (IEC) developed the IEC-61300-3-35 standard to ensure proper connectivity and to “describe methods for quantitatively assessing the endface quality of a polished fiber optic connector. The information is intended for use with other standards, which set requirements for allowable surface defects such as scratches, pits, and debris, which may affect optical performance.”

The rugged Fiber+Power-to-the-Antenna system utilizes ODVA fiber optic connectors that meet the IEC-61300-3-35 standard. Furthermore, because the ODVA fiber optic connectors are based on an industry-standard design and are compatible with multiple manufacturers’ ODVA products, supply and cost issues associated with proprietary or controlled-market products are avoided.

The ODVA-compliant fiber optic duplex LC connectors are designed to handle harsh weather conditions, making them ideal for radioheads requiring FTTA connectivity. The water-resistant fiber optic connectors provide ease of installation with one hand, as well as increased protection from contamination and moisture, while delivering mechanical stability, temperature resistance, and immunity to vibration.

The IP67-rated LC Series connectors ensure a continuously secure connection and are dustproof and weatherproof, with a silicone ring seal that makes a watertight connection to the panel. To ensure chemical resistance, UV resistance, and tolerance to physical abuse, connectors are available in two different housing materials: black plastic and nickel-plated, zinc die-cast. All connectors are duplex LC type, in single-mode, multi-mode, and APC types.

The connectors use optical-fiber, nonconductive riser (OFNR) breakout cables rated for outdoor usage and/or direct burial. The IP67-rated LC Series connectors feature a 1/6-turn bayonet coupling for a fast and secure mate/unmate, even with gloved hands. The 1/6-turn mating provides positive engagement and eliminates the problem with over- or under-tightening of threaded connectors. The compact LC Series connectors are also compatible with industry standard cables and interconnect products.

For enhanced performance, a multimode 50/125μm (300 meter 10GbE – OM3) cable option can be used.

In addition to the rugged, IP67-rated ODVA fiber optic connectors, circular power connector products offer significant design flexibility for cellular tower box manufacturers. Typically, a 7/8 Series circular connector is used on the distribution cabinet for DC output, utilizing a rugged metal housing with threaded-connect features for easy in-field cable connections. The 7/8 Series connector is IP67-rated, features output currents of 10A maximum, and offers ease of installation by minimizing typical hard-wire operations at the installation site. The mating cable-side connector can be field-attached or supplied as an overmolded cable assembly.

The IP67-rated connectors also ensure a continuously secure connection and are dustproof and weatherproof, with a silicone ring seal that makes a watertight connection to the panel.

Telecommunications technology is rapidly advancing, due to increased user demand. Smartphones, tablets, gaming systems, and commercial wireless applications are all driving networks to adopt FTTA systems to meet cost structures, as well as to support bandwidth requirements.

The fiber-plus-power distribution cabinet not only saves significant installation time, it also maximizes the integrity of the installation, provides high performance, and reduces future maintenance and repair costs. Utilizing powerful, rugged components, the streamlined NEMA 4X-rated fiber-plus-power distribution box and IP67-rated application-specific connectors are built for harsh environments and available in a one-stop shop package to help customers design and easily connect the whole tower, from conception through installation to operation.

Brian DiMarco is the president of FiberSource. He can be reached at [email protected].

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