Fiber installation is an important step to getting an area connected. However, this installation can face challenges at many levels: cost, existing infrastructure, terrain, and more. Every fiber installation job is unique, and there are often barriers to overcome before reaching connectivity.
The Proper Fiber for Outdoor Use
While fiber itself is constructed of thin, fragile filaments of glass, fiber cables that are laid outdoors are built for durability. With water and UV resistance in addition to being made of materials that will not be compromised in harsh environments, outdoor cables are specialized equipment that, while often costing more than normal fiber-optic cables, will perform better outdoors and underground.
The fiber itself will be safe inside these cables, but there are other areas of concern that can hinder the fiber laying process. Rough terrain can impede crews when trying to bore or dig trenches in which the fiber must be buried. Fiber-optic cable installation often requires digging trenches or boring to lay cables over long distances, which can be complicated when dealing with diverse terrains, such as urban areas with congested infrastructure, mountainous regions, or underwater installations.
Boring in Rough Terrain
When rough terrain is encountered, whether that is rocky soil, wet soil, or existing concrete and asphalt, fiber is best laid through boring, rather than trenching. Trenching is usually the cheaper option for fiber laying projects, but it is easily derailed by difficult terrain and often more destructive of the existing environment, making boring the best option.
Boring is adaptable to different terrain, but planning ahead will help ensure the most successful operation. Once the terrain has been identified, such as rock or clay, proper equipment needs to be carefully selected for the project. As Vermeer advises, after identifying the terrain conditions, “contactors need to modify their expectation on daily footage goals, and operators should modify their steering and how they manage the established bore path, such as planning several rods ahead of the current location for steering.”
In especially difficult terrain like rock, the conditions placed on the boring equipment will result in the wearing out of drill bits, though this is to be expected and can often not be avoided. Selecting equipment that can have easily replaceable parts when wear and tear occurs can speed up your boring and keep your fiber laying project on track.
Boring is also often the best choice when certain bodies of water, such as rivers, are encountered, since the drilling does not disrupt the environment in any major way and can simply go under the river.
Bluebird Network has recently expanded its own fiber routes in the Midwest through boring as we work to bring more connectivity to the Quad Cities and beyond. Laying fiber is often not an easy task, as the geography usually has the final say in what can be done, but this is a vital step to bringing fiber connections to more communities.
To learn more about Bluebird’s fiber network, contact one of our expert team members today.