Using FieldShield in the Cellular World

Clearfield Using FieldShield in the Cellular World

With the onset of LTE and other broadband hungry technologies, cell tower owners and operators have seen the need to not just bring fiber to the base of the tower, but to take fiber UP the tower as well. Radio and antenna manufacturers have begun to equip their product with fiber ready connections. The struggle today is what to do with the large coaxial cables that both weigh down the tower structure and add to wind loading. There are a number of towers that were not designed to take the extra loading that the LTE technology adds.

The answer to this is FieldShield.

FieldShield has such a small footprint, yet can provide nearly 100 times the capacity of broadband than a typical coaxial cable. By taking the FieldShield Microduct up the tower (using the traditional hardware), then breaking out the fiber into a distribution box on the tower deck and running the same style of microduct to each radio location, the tower crew can remove ALL the coaxial cables and replace it with one 10mm microduct. On a multi-carrier tower, this can remove in excess of 40,000 lbs from the tower and provide monumentally greater capacity. Since the FieldShield Microduct can house 24 fibers, there is no need to run multiple duct up the structure. Incidentally, the same microduct can also be used to provide service to the tower from the local carrier.

The cost associated with a typical tower installation crew of 4 people (2 climbers and 2 ground men) comes to an average cost of $75/hr/man.

A typical installation would involve taking 6 coax cables to the tower deck using a capstan or a crane. Crane costs are upwards of $3,000 per day. It would take an experienced crew 15 hours to run the cables up the tower and place them to their designated spot on the tower. This does not account for routing into a hut or other structure on the ground. If a crane is used, that cost alone is typically $6000.

In contrast, a typical microduct installation would consist of taking one microduct up the tower to a breakout box, then running microducts to each radio head. The structure is now ready for fiber. If the operator orders a fiber with a pre-connectorized Clearview Cassette, all the tower crew has to do is pass the tail down the microduct to the splice point at the base. After the tail reaches the bottom, the crew simply snaps the cassette into the breakout box. Each radio having a microduct can be turned up by simply pushing a FieldShield pre-connectorized jumper through the duct and simply plugging it in on each end. The work on the tower deck is now complete. Because of the small size of the FieldShield fiber, the climbers can take the fiber up the tower with them. Again, there’s no need for expensive cranes on site. The average time for this style of installation is between 2 and 3 hours.

For comparison let’s assume we have the same 4 men on a crew:

Traditional installation:
15 hours at $300/hr = $4500 +$6000/crane costs. Total: $10,500 for a typical installation of 6 Coax cables.

Microduct Installation:
3 hours at $300/hr = $900 +$0/crane costs. Total: $900 for a Microduct installation of 24 fibers.

As you can see, a typical deployment to upgrade a cell tower can be done without the use of a crane to haul heavy cables up the structure and can be done much faster using FieldShield.

Interested in learning more? Contact your Graybar representative,
call 1-800-GRAYBAR, or fill out the form below:

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