wiredinUSA August 2020

Fiber taking a power line route M A K I N G T H E NEWS

A team of Facebook engineers has developed a new robot to wind fiber optic cable around existing medium- voltage power lines, enabling a cost- effective expansion of high-speed Internet infrastructure. The robot holds specially designed cables that are thinner and lighter than traditional cables, allowing it to lay up to one kilometer of cable by wrapping it around existing lines. Thecablehasa“specially tailoredaramid configuration and a high strength, high temperature, track-resistant polymer jacket,” with an articulated design that allows it to move over insulators and other obstacles on the line.

As of 2019, over 70 percent of the world’s population was living over 10km from a fiber connection, resulting in lower Internet speeds and higher latency. Facebook believes the robot will allow fiber to be deployed “within a few hundred metres of much of the world’s population,” within a relatively short time frame and at low cost. The robot includes a vision system to identify obstacles and appropriately adjust its movements to clear them, while maintaining the clearances required to prevent an electrical hazard.

Facebook believes each robot will lay between 1.5kmand 2kmof fiber per day.


wiredInUSA - August 2020

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