What you need to know about Passive Optical LAN and OCC’s new line of products


Passive Optical LAN (POL) isa new way to structure a telecommunications network, replacing traditional structured cabling, which consisted of multiple levels of switch and router aggregation.

Photo of Optical Network Terminal in celling

POL can be hidden in plural space, saving building resources

In the traditional model, data was transmitted and dispersed to the desktop through layers of switches, cables and routers. Expanding structured cabling over long distances requires installation of additional switches and routers to carry the signal. This means lots of expensive cable, support infrastructure and labor time.

POL is a more cost effective and energy efficient alternative. POL uses a different architecture with single-mode fiber extended closer to the user and electronic devices that flatten the Local Area Network, eliminating distance constraints and reducing the quantity of cable to the workstations.

To learn more about our line of products, and download the brochure, visit: www.occfiber.com/pol

A POL consists of an optical line terminal (OLT) and optical splitter and optical network terminals (ONTs) to transmit voice, video and data throughout the network. An optical splitter splits downstream signals and combines upstream signals to and from the connected devices, all on a single strand of singlemode fiber. . Additionally, since the ONTs can support multiple devices, passive optical lans require less cable (and the labor to install it) to support the network.

Photo of Passive Optical LAN Optical Network Terminal components.

Benefits of POL:

  • Cost savings
  • Energy efficient
  • Easy install and maintain
  • Eliminates need for telecommunications rooms
  • Simplifies network moves, adds and changes
  • Increased security

OCC has always been known for its tough components and rest assured, the POL Solutions are no different. OCC’s standard multi-fiber and simplex cables provide noteworthy mechanical and environmental performance with greater pull strength, greater impact and crush resistance and bend insensitive fibers. The POL connectivity components are the most resilient on the market

Specifically designed components for the POL easily integrate with all OCC structured cabling fiber optic components providing for a simple installation. OCC offers the best cabling in the industry coupled with service and tailored options, making your choice for a Passive Optical Lan simpler.

Getting Educated on Passive Optical LANs for Colleges and Universities

One of the biggest challenges that colleges and universities face is the ever-increasingUniversity pic 3 demand for bandwidth. With the BYOD mentality that most campuses face today, the ability to provide easy access to information and to communicate no matter where you are is essential. Campus life no longer dictates reliable Internet service just in the classroom. Now it is required everywhere. As the amount of data and file sizes increase, as well as the need for real-time video and OTA capabilities, the need for increased bandwidth becomes critical. Not to mention the growing need for network and campus security to protect people and property. These increased demands are driving the need for innovative copper and optical fiber cabling technologies that are able to ensure reliable performance and faster data rates.

By implementing a Passive Optical LAN system, higher education facilities can reap the benefits of a streamlined, high-bandwidth network architecture while saving both time and money. Universities cannot afford the downtime associated with rewiring in order to provide greater bandwidth to their students.  Passive optical LAN systems utilize single-mode fiber optic cable.  Single-mode fiber optic cable provides the greatest bandwidth compared to any other communications medium available on the market today.  At a very economical cost compared to a traditional network infrastructure, Optical LANs minimize the need for future cabling upgrades.

Not only can passive optical LANs support telephone, data and video services but they can also service security, building automation systems and wireless services.   Other structured cabling solutions necessitate more cables and/or electronics to support the services now required on a modern campus.   The added savings of not having to install the necessary plethora of cables to support these additional electronics, shows that passive optical LANs are a much more inexpensive solution (both in capital and operational costs), saving the college both up front and year over year costs. And because of the utilization of single-mode fiber, they can expect their investment to payoff for years to come.

Photo of Passive Optical LAN Optical Network Terminal components.OCC’s newly developed Passive Optical LAN takes all those benefits and amplifies them to provide a reliable system that allows for effortless installations. Easy to install and manage, OCC’s POL offers a versatile system that affords substantial improvements in overall CAPEX and OPEX savings as well as streamlines current and future upgrades.

To learn more about OCC’s Passive Optical LAN system, watch this short 2 minute video on all the unique benefits POL has to offer: Click here.

OCC Works with U.S. Military to Solve a “Reel” Problem

OCC's Advanced Lightweight Reel Stand

OCC’s Advanced Lightweight Reel Stand



In the world of military product development, one thing is certain – no one knows more about what new products are needed than the soldiers themselves. When the U.S. Military asked us to take a look at the old RL-31, you can bet we were up to the task. The RL-31 (the military nomenclature for the older style steel reel stand) weighs in at around 60 pounds; they asked us, “Can you do something to make that lighter?”

The soldiers told the OCC team that they often have to carry the RL-31 up rugged terrain in Afghanistan and other places that are not vehicle friendly. Carrying the 60-pound RL-31, along with the extra weight of body armor, backpacks, and weapons is both challenging and risky. The task is hard to perform with much, if any, speed and exposure to enemy fire is always a concern in forward operating areas.

Using modern materials, the initial design prototype weighed in at just 19 pounds – an astounding sixty-six percent reduction in weight. The question was, would it be strong enough and durable enough to perform the mission day in and day out? OCC worked hard to develop realistic environmental and mechanical performance and test requirements that accurately reflected the needs of the modern warfighter. After some initial failures that required strengthening the design, the new reel stand withstood all the punishment that the OCC team could dish out. It was ready to test with the soldiers.

The evaluation team reported that the reel stands performed well in every mission scenario. The team requested a few minor design improvements, which were anticipated. Perhaps the most telling comment of all the feedback was when the team offered to take the evaluation units back with them. The NCO’s smiled and said, “No, we really want to continue training with these.” And of course, we agreed.


CASE STUDY: OCC’s Rugged Products Help With Central Valley School District Technology Infrastructure Upgrade

Central Valley School District case study School DistrictWhen Central Valley School District, a K-12 public school system in Spokane Valley, Washington, decided to upgrade their technology infrastructure, they knew they were taking on a large task.

After five years of relatively flat enrollment, the Central Valley schools began to feel the effects of the strengthening economy with back-to-back enrollment increases of more than 200 students for 2 years straight. With more than 12,000 students in 24 school locations across the district, a district-wide retrofit and new infrastructure was necessary to accommodate the growing school system and its technological demands.

The technology infrastructure update was part of a larger June 2012 Capital Facilities Plan initiated by the school district. Initial research for this plan determined that only 8 out of 24 school locations were considered “good with minimal concern” in relation to their Tech/Electrical/Data needs. The school system wanted to fully integrate all aspects of technology including communications, telephone, security and computing into a consistent and unified system across all facilities. These updates included a secure wireless environment with a minimum 10-gigabyte bandwidth to each classroom, a one-to-one ratio for computing devices to students in each building and server capacity to support these networks.

In addition, part of the Capital Facilities Plan required the district-wide installation of access-control and security camera systems to provide additional and increased security measures for students and staff. Cameras were installed at facilities that did not currently have cameras and all district facilities were upgraded with similar camera systems and configurations, for a total of one hundred IP cameras. Additional connect points were installed in anticipation of future camera placements.

Central Valley School District chose Northwest Information Services (NIS) as their engineering consultant. NIS provided the initial in-depth analysis of the physical infrastructure of all the facilities, determining the need for significant upgrades. The NIS team chose Electric Smith, of Spokane, as the contractor to install new copper and fiber cabling within each facility. Optical Cable Corporation’s rugged Cat 6A cabling was ideal for the project’s 850 wireless access points.

One of the challenges faced by the team was completing the installation of this new infrastructure beginning in December of 2013, while school was in session. One of the advantages of OCC’s cabling is its strength and component protection during difficult or tight pulls. Electric-Smith installers were able to navigate the cable pulls through existing areas with minor disruptions to the classrooms.

Once the infrastructure was in place, OCC’s pre-terminated MT cable assemblies and cassettes were used to ensure reliable performance with streamlined connectivity. Their sturdy constructions held up well during the installation around existing spaces and once installed, were easy to test. Additionally, a number of OCC’s other products were chosen for this project including rack mount fiber panels, Cat 6A patch panels, jacks, OM3 MT assemblies and cassettes. Using the easy to install, pre-terminated MT assemblies and cassettes allowed for significant labor cost savings.

Download the full document.




How Fiber Optic Cable Sales Impacts the U.S. Economy

Optical Cable Corporation Wins Presidential “E” Award for Export Contributions

According to a recent release by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the United States’ nominal GDP was estimated to be $16.8 trillion for 2013. Of that number, U.S. exports of goods and services accounted for $2.3 trillion, or nearly 14 percent, which is an all-time record.

Nationally, jobs supported by exports reached more than 11 million last year, up 1.6 million since 2009.

Every year, the Presidential “E” Award is presented to businesses that considerably contribute to exports, in recognition of the impact international sales has on the U.S. economy,

OCC-E-Award-Photo_webOn May 27, 2014, Optical Cable Corporation (OCC) was one of 66 companies selected as a winner of the “E” award.

“OCC is extremely proud of this award,” Neil Wilkin, OCC President and CEO said. “It takes an entire team from engineers, to production employees, to both inside and outside sales associates to continually work together to support our export business. Dealing with the language, business and cultural issues of doing business internationally is sometimes a challenge, but it’s a challenge our team happily takes on to help OCC succeed.”

History of the Award

In 1961, the President’s “E” Award was created by Executive Order in an effort to recognize outstanding U.S. businesses that greatly contribute to international export.

E Award Logo

The famous “E Pennant” presented during World War II

The idea for the award was born from something that occurred during World War II, when more than 4,000 “E Pennants” were presented to war plants in recognition of production excellence. The famous flag with the big “E” emblazoned on it became a badge of patriotism in action, and is now flown by those who win.

President Kennedy revived the World War II “E” symbol of excellence to honor and provide recognition to America’s exporters. Thus, the “E” Award Program was established by Executive Order 10978 on December 5, 1961.

From Humble Beginnings to International Leader

Although OCC has sold products internationally from the very beginning, having shipped their first product overseas in 1986, a more strategic focus on the export market began in 1996. Since then, the company developed a targeted global approach, which has led to progressive growth through international sales. Today, export sales account for about 30 percent of the company’s total revenues, and since 2002, export sales have grown from less than $10 million to more than $22 million.

When asked his thoughts on receiving the “E” Award, OCC Vice President of International Sales & Global Marketing, Michael Newman said, “Achieving success internationally is all about taking a mindful approach to targeted markets; rather than trying to be everywhere at once. Start by narrowing in on global regions that make the most sense for your company, and then refine that strategy as you grow.”

Encouraged by this achievement, OCC will strive to serve more customers internationally, bringing the most reliable, rugged, and innovative cable products to the rest of the world.

To learn more about OCC’s products visit, http://www.occfiber.com/products.



Why the need for High Density Fiber Optic Enclosures?

OCC’s new RTC/RTS-HD Series product allows customers to migrate from a standard RTC/RTS 2U fiber enclosure that will house 3 adapter panels for a maximum of 72 LC connectors to our new RTC\RTS-HD enclosures that will hold 4 adapter panels in a 1U space allowing a maximum of 96 LC connectors

OCC’s new RTC/RTS-HD Series product allows customers to migrate from a standard RTC/RTS 2U fiber enclosure that will house 3 adapter panels for a maximum of 72 LC connectors to our new RTC\RTS-HD enclosures that will hold 4 adapter panels in a 1U space allowing a maximum of 96 LC connectors

Increased demand for data to support streaming media and the increased usage of mobile broadband communications has resulted in dramatic advances in network switching infrastructure over the past 10 years. Furthermore, this demand is predicted to continue at a record pace. Technology development has seen two clear trends.

  1. The transition from copper to fiber as the defacto standard for high performance data communications has become evident.
  2. The number of fibers used to support emerging standards, such as 100GBit/s Ethernet, for the individual connection has increased.

Thus, the need for higher density fiber connectivity is certainly innate. Currently network switching products are available with port line cards that use more than 1,000 OM3/OM4 fibers per chassis switch for 10G duplex fiber applications. Future 40/100Gb switches are projected to use more than 4,000 fibers per chassis where parallel optics is used. These high fiber count requirements demand high-density cable and hardware solutions that will reduce the overall footprint and simplify cable management and connections to the electronics.

OCC’s new RTC/RTS-HD Series product allows customers to migrate from a standard RTC/RTS 2U fiber enclosure that will house 3 adapter panels for a maximum of 72 LC connectors to our new RTC\RTS-HD enclosures that will hold 4 adapter panels in a 1U space allowing a maximum of 96 LC connectors! This gives users 33% (or 24 more) more LC connections in a 1U enclosure versus a 2U enclosure.

The Procyon product allows for even more density by utilizing our MPO/MTP to LC cassette module for maximum port density. Procyon can deploy 144 LC fibers in a 1U footprint.  And the Procyon 1U enclosures can be mounted vertically so you can match every blade in the switch to each enclosure.

With the rise in demand for higher bandwidth and faster download speeds, OCC’s high-density options were designed to keep pace with these requirements.  In addition, both of these unique product lines offer installers easy terminations, and performance-driven connectivity.  Couple that with OCC’s proven fiber optic cable, in particular our HD and HC cables, customers can expect an exceptional solution to fit their high-density needs.

Our new RTC and RTC fiber enclosure updates, and what they mean for you.

OCC recently debuted our newly redesigned fiber termination enclosures with a fresh look and features that make them easier to work with. The updated enclosures allow for easier terminations, greater capacity, and new ways to manage cable within the enclosure.

Designed with features that benefit both the end user and the installer, OCC’s enclosures feature the following:

  • Fixed (RTC) and sliding (RTS) versions
  • 1RU, 2RU, and 4RU configurations
  • Sliding (RTS) version can be accessed from the front or back of the enclosure
  • The RTS shelf can be removed entirely
  • Enclosures accept OCC standard 600 series adapter plates
  • RTC-HD and RTS-HD enclosures accept new HD adapter plates
  • New modular strain relief brackets reduce fiber stress and provides
  • Fiber hoops are stackable and allow for segregation of fiber cables
  • Fiber retention teeth on the hoops retain the fiber within the hoop
  • Slam latches on the front and rear of the enclosures
  • Transparent cover for inspection of ports and defined labeling field for TIA 606A compliance
  • Hardware for 19” or 23” rack mounting
  • Numerous internal locations to secure slack cable

The RTC and RTS enclosures will be on display at the 2014 BICSI Winter Conference and Exhibition in Orlando, FL in February._Y8A9492


For more information, contact OCC’s inside sales department at 540-265-0690, or view our product page by clicking here.

Making Category 6A Connections Simple

With the exceedingly prevalent use of data, the growth of wireless access points, IP-enabled devices and building automation systems has jumped exponentially.  Cameras and other security equipment are now being connected to the network as these devices move from analog to digital or Ethernet based.

This growth has created a need to change the way typical horizontal links and channels are configured for these applications. Devices such as wireless access points mounted in non-traditional locations (in the ceiling or high up on the wall) are not attached to the network using standard faceplate, jack and patch cord configurations.  The traditional method is being replaced with direct attachment where the horizontal cable is terminated with a field installable plug and then plugged directly into the equipment.

Currently, installers in the field are utilizing modular plugs that are intended for patch cord construction to terminate Cat5e and Cat6 horizontal cabling. This practice is difficult, time consuming, yields unpredictable performance results and is not recommended by the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) 568 standards. Also, these plugs do not accommodate the larger conductors utilized in Cat6A cabling. The increasing data rates of wireless access points and other devices now require a Cat6A cabling link to support 10G Ethernet.

While the TIA-568 communications cabling standard does not currently support direct attach links, the growing demand for field installable plugs has many industry standards such as TIA-862-A, Building Automation Systems Cabling Standard looking to recognize the direct attach method of termination.   However, the need for a robust, easy to install field terminable plug for this market segment that provides true performance is imperative.

OCC’s Cat6A Field Terminable Plug

OCC has addressed this need with the introduction of a Category 6A Field Terminable Plug.   With OCC’s new plug, terminations are simple and require no specialized tools.  They support high-performance 10 Gigabit networks and meet the TIA-568-C.2 Category 6A component performance requirements.  In addition, they are supported by OCC’s 25-year MDIS Direct Attach System Performance Warranty when used as an end-to-end OCC copper cabling solution.

For more information about OCC’s Field Terminable Plug, click on the links below:

The Future of Copper Cabling

A recent market report by the Building Services Research and Information Association (BSRIA) projects the global structured cabling market will exceed $8 billion by 2020, an increase of 38% between 2012 and 2020. These figures represent both copper and fiber systems and includes both data center and LAN segments.

Despite the fact that the number of outlets per desk and number of workstations will decline, the LAN segment is projected to grow 37%, driven primarily by increasing convergence that will utilize more structured cabling to wire access points, IP cameras, building management systems, access controls, etc.

Structured cabling is permanently installed in the building and like the electrical wiring; it is designed to be generic to support a wide range of applications. The most widely adopted application is IEEE 802.3 Ethernet, which has many flavors and data rates tailored to the needs of the IT system. One of the fastest data rates currently specified in IEEE 802.3 standards is 100Gbps (one hundred gigabits per second) and is only capable of operating over multiple strands of single mode or multimode fiber.

As data rates increase, fiber deployment will continue to gain greater market share. However, copper systems have the advantage of costing less, being able to support a wide variety of data rates including remote power delivery, and the installation process is simple and well understood by manufacturers, distributors and installers. Another advantage of copper is that it utilizes the RJ-45 interface and is capable of supporting electronics that auto negotiate network speeds between older, slower equipment and newer, faster devices. This allows the installation of new equipment without having to replace every device in the network.

Structured copper cabling also supports DC power delivery to network devices over the same copper data cable. The IEEE 802.3af (POE) and 802.3at (POE+) standards support delivery of 12.95 and 25.5 watts, respectively, over 100 meters of cabling. New developments will increase the power available to 50W per port and greater.

In addition to structured cabling, other applications utilize copper cables and RJ45 connectivity. The Industrial Ethernet market has been slowly adopting the RJ-45 as a standard interface, and special cables and connectors have been developed for the environmental and mechanical demands of this market. Even military applications have found an acceptance of the RJ-45 for use in the harshest environments.

The market for modular (RJ-45) connectivity products has matured into Category 5e, Category 6, and Category 6A products, which are backwards compatible and support data rates from 10Mbps to 10Gbps. Today, Category 6 is the most widely deployed solution. Until now, Category 6A solutions designed to support 10 Gigabit Ethernet have been deployed primarily in the data center, which represented 18% of the $6 billion global structured cabling market in 2012. These systems are now being deployed in the Enterprise space, including connections to wireless access points, which now require greater backhaul capability. The latest IEEE 802.11ac standards compliant wireless access points now exceed Gigabit Ethernet. The adoption of Category 6A copper solutions continue to expand due to the recommendations of the network electronics vendors and also due to the superior alien cross-talk performance and electromagnetic noise immunity.

The IEEE is currently developing the new 802.3bq 40GBASE-T standard to support 40 Gbps data transmission over four-pair copper cabling for use in data centers. This new protocol may require frequencies up to 2GHz (Giga Hertz) over the cable and connectors. This has led the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) and ISO cabling standards groups to develop a new set of cabling requirements to support this project. The new standards will be released as Category 8 (Cat8) or Class I and Class II in ISO standards. These standards will likely publish in the year 2015. There is lots of discussion in the cabling community regarding the progress of these new standards, as manufacturers anxiously prepare to gear up for production of the new connectors and cables required to meet these emerging requirements.

Both connectors and cables will need to meet strict new requirements measured up to 1.6 or 2 GHz (yet to be determined) and the total cabling length of installed cabling including equipment cords will be restricted to 32 meters. The cable will be similar to the Category 7A cables currently in use throughout Europe and Asia, with either individually shielded pairs or an overall cable shield. The connectors will also be shielded. Standards are designed to be compatible with the existing RJ-45 connector interface in order to support auto-negotiation necessary to maintain compatibility with currently installed equipment. The ability to support 40Gbps over 30 meters of cabling using connector technology that is both familiar and field installable is a major improvement over the current implementation of 40GBASE-CR4, which uses only proprietary cable assemblies and is limited to 7m in length. Cat8 will also support direct connections between server and switch, which is currently implemented with 40GBASE-CR4 cables in the data center. It remains to be seen whether Cat8 will be implemented in a traditional structured cabling environment in data centers or used predominately as pre-terminated or field-terminated direct attached cable assemblies.

As previously noted, more devices will become part of the data network and will be connected and powered by copper cabling. As a result, direct attach connections to the device using field terminable plugs will replace many outlet jacks and patch cords used in traditional structured cabling installations. Even though Cat8/40GBASE-T is being developed primarily for the data center market, it is likely that this technology may ultimately be implemented in short link environments and fiber to copper zoned deployments. The departure from the requirement to support lengths up to 100 meters for the new Category 8 standard may be interpreted by some that the end is in sight for copper structured cabling; however it is apparent that fiber and copper solutions will co-exist for years to come.

OCC Harsh Environment Solutions

Typical applications for harsh environment fiber optic cable assemblies in the Oil and Gas market include above-surface (or “top-side”) monitoring and controls for oil and gas rigs, both land and sea based, as well as Geo-seismic exploration equipment. In all cases, the user needs a strong and dependable fiber connection that can be deployed quickly and reliably. Multi-pin hermaphroditic connectors, along with flexible and durable deployable cables manufactured by OCC can be deployed in the most extreme environments where rig operators or exploration teams are working, and all fiber connections can be mated and re-mated with relative ease because of the connectors’ design.

COTS-83526 fiber optic assemblies are widely utilized in the market because multiple manufacturers produce various versions. Often used in deployable military applications, they offer up to 12-channel connectivity with robust and reliable connections in the field for multiple mating cycles. OCC’s COTS-83526 connectors are easily mated to competitor versions, but they offer superior Kevlar retention for better strain relief. OCC’s COTS-83526 connectors can also capture ground wires and cable braids, which are often used by drilling companies for cut resistance, at the receptacle.

EZ-Mate fiber optic cable assemblies offer users up to 24-channel connectivity, and because of their unique design, they can be “blind-mated,” meaning the user can simply twist each end together until they feel the plug mate.  Mini Hermaphroditic (MHC-II) fiber optic assemblies offer a similar ease of deployment, but because of their smaller footprint, they can be used in higher-density applications.

Each OCC harsh environment connector utilizes a “physical contact” method of mating fiber channels between termini, and is environmentally sealed for superior mechanical and environmental performance. Their IP-68 rating gives these systems the ability to operate in dirty and wet environments for extended periods of time, and they can easily be cleaned and prepared for re-use if the termini become contaminated in the field. In fact, just like OCC tight-buffered cables, these connectors are designed for use specifically in the dirtiest and wettest of environments and to perform consistently for their users as expected. These connectors are designed to be exposed and survive the oils and chemicals that are likely to be found in oil and gas extraction sites.

Many competitor’s offer expanded beam connectors that mate fiber channels without using a physical contact between termini. Instead, a lens inside the connector expands the light from each fiber channel and sends it over to the corresponding channel on the mated plug or receptacle, where it is refocused and sent into the fiber core. Competitors typically claim these connector systems are better to use in the oil and gas industry because they are easier to clean when they become contaminated. While expanded beam connections are perhaps somewhat easier to clean, they are not very tolerant of dirt or water, including vapor from condensation, rain or fog, being present during operation. In addition, they must be completely dried prior to being placed back in service. In fact, the presence of dirt on a typical expanded beam connection can cause much higher attenuation than similar amounts of dirt on “physical contact” connections like EZ-Mate or COTS-83526. Oily films, constantly present in oil and gas areas, are often difficult to remove from expanded beam lenses. Even fingerprints on lenses can have a negative impact on expanded beam performance. Finally, we have found that expanded beam connectors may not hold up to physical abuse as well as other “physical contact” connectors and are much more susceptible to loss due to shock and vibration, a likely occurrence in seismic exploration applications. Also to note, higher channel counts that allow many fiber links to be connected in one operation generally become very expensive when attempting to use expanded beam.

OCC’s line of hermaphroditic, environmentally sealed connectors and rugged fiber optic cable are ideal for the harsh rigors that fiber optic cable assemblies will experience in the oil and gas industry. Perhaps most important is the fact that OCC offers a vertically integrated solution of cable and connector assemblies for these applications, which means the entire solution can be tailored particularly to an operator’s specific needs.

For more information about OCC harsh environment cable and connectors specifically designed for the Oil & Gas market, contact an OCC Sales Team member – click here.