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PODCAST: Why Air-Blown Fiber? All about Air-Blown Fiber Solution

Oct. 20, 2022

Sumitomo Electric Lightwave is the first company that brought the Air Blown Fiber (ABF) technology to the United States over 30 years ago and since then, we are the market’s leading company to provide the best ABF solution. For an environment where operation downtime must be minimal, Air Blown Solution brings a great advantage. Sumitomo’s Future FLEX Air Blown Fiber provides innovative way to create a network path with easy 3 steps by using 5 components.

FutureFLEX’s 5 components are

  1. Tube Cable
  2. Fiber Bundle
  3. Tube Distribution Equipment
  4. Fiber Termination Equipment
  5. Blowing Equipment

Step 1: Create an End-to-End Tube Cable Pathway

Tube Cables have its own ratings to use in appropriate spaces such as Plenum, riser and regular outdoor. ABF tube cables contain inner tubes of up to 24 tubes and all or some inner tubes will be filled with fiber bundles.

Tube Distribution Equipment is the switch point to change tube cable type or re-route fiber bundle to different path so that the blown fiber bundle travels to the designed direction.

The beauty of FutureFLEX ABF is when an environment changes like outdoor to indoor or riser to plenum, the tube distribution unit (TDU) becomes a tube cable splice point to create one continuous pathway that covers multiple environments.

Step 2: Install Fiber Bundle

ABF Fiber Bundles are available up to 72f and all strands of fiber bundles fit to any Future FLEX tube cables and they are all removable even installed once. By having an ABF system with removable fiber bundle and able to replace with any fiber strands, the network owner can save money for not purchasing dark fiber and upgrade or add more fibers to existing tube cable in the future.

Our blowing equipment is portable and electricity free design that allows blowing activity hassle free especially where hard to bring generator to obtain power. Even without using electricity, the blowing pressure is powerful enough to install 3000ft. of fiber bundle in 30 minutes. In addition to the short installation time, the FutureFLEX ABF only requires 2 installers, at the start of blowing and the end of blowing point to catch the fiber. With FutureFLEX, fiber installation in the high security area or highly sanitized area with restricted access can be accomplished without interrupting the space and obtaining security clearance.

The advantage of FutureFLEX ABF is not only the minimum labor and fast installation. FutureFLEX’s rating system is based on tube cable rating. FutureFLEX fiber bundle has no rating unless it blow in our rated tube cable. The fiber bundle travel inside outdoor tube cable carries outdoor rating, and fiber bundle travel inside plenum cable carries plenum rating. Because of this unique rating, a fiber bundle can travel through multiple environments without fusion splicing and also carries multiple ratings in one blow. Of course, fiber installation can be done without disrupting ongoing business.

Step 3: Terminate the Fiber Bundles at Fiber Termination Units

Sumitomo Electric Lightwave provides variety of fiber termination products such as Lynx2 connectors, FOX cassetts, Fusion splicers and many kind of termination boxes to provide end to end solution to our customers.


Yuko Agano, Product Manager, FutureFLEX ABF solution

Yuko was born and raised in Japan, moved to the United States when she was 19 years old to receive a higher education. Upon completion of her Bachelor of Science from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and Master of Business Administration from University of Phoenix, she returned to Japan and worked as a U.S. government contractor and Japanese government employee at a U.S. military installation in Japan for over five years supporting military operations. Yuko returned to U.S. in 2014 to work for Sumitomo subsidiary, Innovation Core SEI in Silicon Valley to research into next generation technologies. In 2018, Yuko relocated to North Carolina and joined SEL in her current role.

About Sumitomo Electric Lightwave (SEL)

Sumitomo Electric Lightwave (SEL) foresaw the migration to an all optical fiber network as early as 1983 when it first opened its doors in Research Triangle Park, NC. Our sole dedication to the advancement of optical fiber technology and exceptional service to the customer has positioned Sumitomo Electric Lightwave as a major industry leader in the innovation, design, development, and manufacturing of optical fiber and connectivity solutions for fiber optic communication, wireless, residential broadband, CATV, FTTx, data center, and enterprise networks.

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