Tag: AFL

Black Swans and Fiber Networks

A black swan event is defined as “an unpredictable event that is beyond what is normally expected of a situation and has potentially severe consequences.” The phrase originated because people assumed that black swans didn’t exist because nobody had recorded seeing one – until finally someone did. It turned out black swans existed but were extremely rare, and it was hard to predict when or where someone would encounter one. The COVID-19 pandemic in some ways has been a black swan event, and the communications sector has been no exception. One impact on our sector is that data traffic has shot up at an unprecedented rate, a result of schools closing and orders to shelter in place and work from home. This experience is one example of a fundamental truth of network design: patterns of demand in data traffic are hard to predict (other than that they will grow rapidly on average). The solution is to focus on building physical access networks that have the capacity to respond to changing demands, and the accessibility to make use of that capacity where and when it is needed.

New Does Not Equal Clean

Fiber Optic Connectors need to be pristine when they are connected for several reasons. First, dirty or damaged connectors are the number one cause of network outages. Second, if a dirty or damaged connector is plugged into another connector, your problem just doubled. Lastly, if test equipment, like an OTDR, or a network element, such as a receiver, is damaged it can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars to repair or replace them.

Challenges for Hyperscale Networks

Arguably the biggest challenge for hyperscalers is continuity and, by association, reliability. New findings generated by a survey from Uptime Institute revealed that over 10% of all respondents said their most recent reportable outage cost them more than $1m in direct and indirect costs. On March 13th, 2019, Facebook suffered its worst-ever outage, affecting the estimated 2.7 billion users of its core social network, Instagram and messaging applications, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp. By extrapolating the company’s 2018 revenue figures, CCN estimated that the blackout could have cost Facebook up to $90 million in lost revenue based on an income of $106,700 per minute. With so many businesses relying on hyperscale data centers to provide the IT backbone to their operations, any downtime can have a substantial impact and sometimes catastrophic ramifications.

Best Practices for Cleaning Fiber Optic Connectors

85% of network failures are caused by dirty connectors. The connectors entrusted to carry the critical information that passes through your network deserve far more than a wipe on a t-shirt. As data center bandwidth continues to increase, adherence to best practice fiber endface cleaning and inspection methods must improve. Download AFL’s best practices guide for cleaning.

AFL engineers 3D-printed face shields for COVID-19 frontline workers

AFL is supporting efforts in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic by creating face shields for the medical industry.Using 3D printing technology, more than 100 face shields engineered by the manufacturer have been sent to local hospitals in South Carolina, including the Spartanburg Medical Center, Pelham Medical Center and another upstate hospital, with more expected to be printed and dispersed.

AFL wins 2 new patents for Optical Connectivity and Apparatus (OCA) products

AFL has been awarded two new patents for technology and developments in OCA products. The first is for a rack mount panel that includes a unique fiber management guide region that pivots downward to allow full access to the module storage slots, allowing for flexibility in the field to combine various modules for xWDM applications. The second is for a unique process for creating a cable assembly furcation kit which drives an exceptionally high level of strength and protection of fibers under extreme environmental conditions. It also provides for scaling across a wide range of fibers.