This is the third blog in our series on connecting a campus network. This entry assumes that you’ve selected fiber for your network, and you are employing outdoor fiber splicing. For more information on whether to use singlemode or multimode fiber, see our previous entry, Choosing a Campus Network Infrastructure: SMF vs MMF.
You have decided that you are going to take advantage of outdoor splicing to deploy your new campus network. The plans for the layout of the new campus are complete, but some of the buildings will be constructed in a second phase, and there is a possibility that their location may move. Outdoor splicing helps with that possibility. (See our previous blog, Outdoor Splicing for Campus Networks.)
The next question after you have decided to use outdoor splicing is: Should you deploy the campus network by placing the outdoor splice closure underground or above the ground?
Let’s look at what to consider when deciding where to locate the splices.
Type of Campus
The type of campus you are constructing may dictate whether you locate the splice closure below ground or above ground. If you are building a medical campus, or an educational campus, placing the splice closure below ground keeps the aesthetics and the grounds neat and clean. Above-ground splice closures are typically green, round, pedestal-looking devices. Using them in a campus deployment may make your campus look cluttered and industrial. If the use case is for an industrial campus or an office park, then above-ground splice closures can be an ideal solution.
Ease of Use
The advantage of using above-ground splice closures is that since they are above ground, it is easier to access the splice trays, thus making it easier to manage the existing splice and add new fiber. If below-ground splice closures are used, then the underground vault will need to be opened and the underground splice closure is pulled out to access the splices. Although it may not be difficult, it will almost certainly be messy. Underground vaults are notoriously dirty.
Reliability and Security
Above-ground splice closures have a risk of lower reliability and are less safe than below-ground splice closures. Above-ground splice closures are more prone to tampering as they are easier to access and are visible. Given that they are above ground, and if they are located near parking lots or roadbeds, they can be damaged by vehicles. Placing bollards near the above-ground splice closure provides some protection but makes the campus look even more cluttered. These are non-issues with underground closures.
Regardless of which splice closure you use, be mindful to provide adequate slack. A below-ground splice closure requires more slack than an above-ground splice closure. This allows for pulling the below-ground splice closure out of the vault and placing it on a platform to splice on additional fibers. Because splicing happens near the above-ground splice closure, less slack is needed for above ground fiber splicing.
And, regardless of which outdoor splice closure you choose, remember that the closures are pressurized. Many technicians have learned the hard way that when it is time to open the closure to add fiber, the first step is to depressurize!
If you need help with campus networks, let us know. Panduit has recently expanded our offering to include new fiber splicing closures and other solutions for connecting your campus.
For more information on Panduit’s new fiber closures, please reach out to Antonia Synowiec, product manager, at [email protected]