Expanded beam fibre optic cable braves toughest environments

Created August 21, 2017
Technologies and Products

Harting has developed an expanded beam fibre optic connector for providing high-bandwidth transmission in the harsh environments found in tunnel drilling and mining applications, where industrial Ethernet over fibre optic cable is becoming the transmission medium of choice.

As digitisation makes increasing inroads into these sectors, the demands placed on the communication and control cabling become particularly stringent. The long distances involved, together with the high bandwidths that are required, make the use of fibre optic cable essential, but since optical interfaces are very sensitive to contamination, a rugged and more reliable solution has had to be devised.

This solution for high data rates under these extreme conditions is the Expanded Beam Cable Assembly. Its high bandwidth allows the high-definition video signals used in the vision systems that control the boring machines and associated equipment to be safely and securely transmitted. The fibre is safely packed in a connector housing that cannot be affected by dust, water or other environmental factors.

In addition, the hermaphroditic mating design of the expanded beam connectors ensures that regular disconnection and re-connection of the cabling in these environments is easier than using standard fibre optic cabling.

Extending the length of the optical connection is as simple as connecting an additional cable, with no need to pay attention to the laying direction or any additional adaptors. As a result, the customer saves time and money, and eliminates the need to match different mating faces in the field.

In addition to applications in mining and tunnel boring machines, Harting’s Expanded Beam Cable Assembly can be used to link networks in other heavy-duty application areas, including outside broadcast events, concert and music festival stage installations and container ports.

The company’s launch release stated, “To get a sense of what a million routes represents, consider that the entire public Internet consists, at this writing, of around 671,000 IPv4 and 40,000 IPv6 routes. Thus, the Nexus 9516 could route traffic to every network reachable on the public Internet and still have plenty of headroom left.”

It added, “The Nexus 9516 delivers consistently low latency and jitter, across all packet sizes, while all the ports are loaded and running at line rate. This is what storage networks require so we are seeing more and more customers use the Nexus 9000 in storage networks for big data analytics, scale out NAS solutions, and other I/O intensive applications for private clouds.”

Matthew Peach

This article was written
by Matthew Peach

Matthew Peach is a freelance technology journalist specialising in photonics and communications. He has previously worked for several business-to-business publishers, editing a range of high-tech magazines and websites.