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Making Technicians' Lives Easier: The Role of the Vendor

Technology in every industry has been evolving at an ever-faster rate to improve user interface compatibility, breaking down barriers between devices and the people using them. The same has been happening in the world of telecommunications, to make things easier for the service technicians who perform the ever-important and difficult tasks of maintaining fiber optic connections.


Subscriber convenience takes fisrt priority, but that can lead to less-than-perfect working conditions for technicians.
It's up to companies like Multilink to balance the needs of subscribers with the needs of technicians.

Due to the nature of their work, field specialists sometimes face challenges far greater than what they’ve been prepared to handle. That’s why it’s up to the vendors who create the items they service to make their work as easy as possible.

Telecommunications linemen and similar technicians are required to climb, maintain and perform work on tall poles and communications towers that can be up to 200 feet off the ground.

As such, the companies who create the equipment that service technicians work on have to be mindful of how they can make their products easy for technicians to access, both to make their positions safer and to decrease the time they spend in the field. This helps save technicians time and money while allowing techs to be more efficient, fulfilling more calls in the average day.

However, while ease of access and compatibility are two significant factors to make things simpler for technicians, the equipment they use needs to offer durability to withstand outside elements as well.

When it comes to telecommunications and communications specifically, there are several kinds of solutions that engineers have explored to balance these two competing needs for technicians.

Field installable connectors are one way that telecom vendors have simplified field techs’ jobs in recent years. Designed to be terminated with fewer tools or in difficult-to-access areas, field installables are also designed to work with existing infrastructure. That way, if connections fail, or if drop damage, or environmental damage occurs, technicians can repair them without having to impact the entire system.

Multilink’s Surelight® H IP (hardened ingress protection) connectors meet these needs and others, designed with flexibility and reliability in mind. Termination is streamlined thanks to an uncomplicated termination process.

A 3-step stripping template provides exact measurements to reduce installation times to 3-5 minutes, while Visual Fault Indicators show technicians if the connection has been terminated properly. These two features alone make it so that any fiber field technician can install one of our H IPs without prior training. We have also created training videos that show technicians how to install H IP connectors.

This animated video teaches technicians how to install H IP Field Installable Connectors in under 5 minutes.

Our H IPs are also engineered to withstand field conditions. They meet high safety standards like IP68 weather proofing, Telcordia GR-326-4 CORE, UL94 V-0, RoHS, and each is backed by a 20-year guarantee. There is almost a 0% chance of accidents occurring during installation, due to a robust and straightforward design.

Fiber splicing is another application that is time consuming to perform, especially in midair, which is where splice enclosures are often stored for convenience and fiber routing purposes. Whether a splice needs to take place on the side of a vertical tower or in a box hanging from a horizontal cable, technicians have to complete multiple-step processes, which can be difficult when you’re several feet above the ground.

Between prepping cable, routing fiber, installing the splice chip and then the splicing itself, tower climbers could be in the air for several minutes to hours at a time. Traditional splice closures, while offering high splice capacities, can make the process take even longer due to their size and weight. 

To this end, Multilink’s Fiber Drop Gel Splice Kit enclosure is a fantastic implement for reducing service time. Created with the intention of providing an enclosure for splicing small diameter, small count fiber optic cable, the kits can splice up to 2 cables or 6 fibers. The kit accepts several different small-diameter cable types, including round, dielectric, armored or flat drop with tone wire. Our gel splice kits also feature a fiber management bracket to secure fiber to the unit, which grants fibers additional protection while keeping them organized.

 

If you’re looking for a closure that can route a larger capacity of fibers, Multilink’s Fiber Tap® Plus (FTP) is available in variations with 4, 8 or 12 bulkhead adapters and either 1 or 2 feeder drop ports. The terminal housing is effortlessly re-enterable to allow technicians to quickly access fiber connectors, allowing for quick troubleshooting and connector replacement if necessary, regardless of how it’s mounted.

The FTP is compatible with a variety of brackets for aerial, surface, pedestal and below grade mounting applications, so it can be placed wherever is most convenient. The top of the enclosure lid features a numbered port layout diagram, which makes it easy to route each fiber to its corresponding port.

The Fiber Tap Plus pulls its weight as well with a central strength member clamp and slack management bracket that secure and route input fiber in the unit so that it stays in the proper location. Also, because they can be mounted virtually anywhere, FTPs can deliver runs to locations like SMU’s, MDU’s and businesses.

Featuring envionmentally-protected connectors and drop assemblies, the Fiber Tap® Plus allows for the fastest subscriber drop and maintenance speeds possible.

Service technicians play a vital role in the telecommunications and fiber optics industries, handling tough jobs that require specialized training as well as the improvisational knack and outside-the-box perspective required to solve unprecedented problems. Why shouldn’t we devote resources to taking some of the burden off their shoulders, especially if it helps everyone save labor hours and money in the long run?

Here we’ve only explored a few of the options that product developers and vendors can use to help linemen and other technicians stay safe while also saving time and money. Multilink’s investment in safety and our commitment to the industry ensures that we’ll be exploring further opportunities to improve technician safety and efficiency in the months and years to come.

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