Fibre Optic Adventure

After 6.5 hours, Verison FIOS is now up!

There were several challenges:

  1. Fiber terminal on the nearest pole was not active
  2. Contractor buried fiber did not have a fiber end (splice required)
  3. Terminal was activated on wrong port

After port activation and fiber splicing at the pole, 5/2 MB internet connection was up and running. A router was installed that included several interfaces:

  1. 10/100 Base-T Ethernet
  2. Phone
  3. Video

The phone and video are not currently active. The fiber itself is single mode, so it's about 8-10 microns thick. A human hair is about 50-100 microns, so it's really small. There's a strength member surounding the fragile bits, so it's fairly robust. Even still, you can easily break it with one hand.

The fiber splicing was quite interesting. Apparently only a few field personnel have the training and equipment needed to perform this exacting task. There's a field kit that comes in a silver box, slightly smaller than a brief case. Once the sheathing and strength member are stripped, the fiber ends are aligned in a jig. Then they are brought close together and an electic arc fires, fusing the glass into one continuous strand.

I remember reading about "fiber to the curb" ten years ago. Many believed it would never happen due to lack of financial return. They never expected the Internet and on demand video to show up. Now there is a good economic incentive to lay fiber every where. I was told Verizon hopes to drastically reduce copper in five years. That's a huge investment, but apparently, they ran the numbers. Copper also suffers from maintainence problems during heavy rains. Fiber connections are much tighter, so they are not as susceptible. I was also told that if Verizon could sell they copper infrastructure, they would. Of course, who wants to buy low bandwidth twisted pairs?