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Cable Technology Feature Article

September 11, 2009

DSM Desotech, Telcordia to Standardize Microbending Specification for Optic Fibers

By Shamila Janakiraman, TMCnet Contributor

DSM Desotech, a company that specializes in the development and supply of UV-curable fiber optic materials, and Telcordia Technologies have reportedly entered into an agreement for standardizing characterization of microbending performance in optical fiber and cable products.
During the installation of optic fibers, microbending occurs due to random microscopic bends along the fiber axis. These small fiber axis perturbations when combined lead to greater attenuation and loss of signal transmission. This type of microbending-induced attenuation is caused by non-uniform external loads like fiber being forced into cabling materials, fiber-to-fiber contacting points or in cases where the fiber is pressed on a rough surface.
Optical fibers are affected by microbending-induced attenuation at low temperatures. Currently, Telcordia (News - Alert) generic requirements for optical fiber and optical fiber cable, or GR-20, does not deal with low-temperature microbending performance or test methods. Because of this. DSM Desotech and Telcordia plan to define performance specifications and promote standards development and adoption, the companies said in a statement.
“As FTTx networks continue to expand at greater investment costs than ever before, we believe there is a benefit to adding requirements to GR-20 to more fully characterize and address the issue of microbending-induced transmission loss in optical fiber and cable,” said Dr. Osman Gebizlioglu, principal consultant, Telcordia, said in a statement. “We hope to drive a more in-depth assessment, measurement and understanding of this issue and, ultimately, to arrive at specifications for low-temperature microbending performance that will enhance the performance and reliability of optical fiber networks being built for the future.”
Vice President Fiber Optic Materials at DSM Desotech Rob Crowell said that DSM is desirous of improving microbending performance by innovating in fiber coatings. These efforts will not affect production line speeds and will also minimize signal attenuation over wider temperature ranges. He also said that optimizing microbending performance will help reduce energy requirements needed for operating optical fiber networks helping in the production of environment friendly greener systems with lower carbon footprints.
Under the agreement, Telcordia will document the effects of low-temperature microbending on performance and the test methods that can be adopted to characterize microbending performance in optical fibers and cable products. The information gathered will be included in the new Issues List or ILR for GR-20-CORE besides other issues not included in the existing GR-20-CORE.

Shamila Janakiraman is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Shamila’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Amy Tierney