Definition: An optical distribution framework, or ODF by its acronym in English, is used to provide cable connections between communications facilities, which can combine fiber splice, termination, adapters and connections in a single unit.
What is the innovation that CommScope or one of the companies that it acquired created first?
In 1995, ADC (now part of CommScope) introduced its main fiber distribution framework, which became known as the Next Generation Framework (NGF). The NGF was the first high-density fiber frame architecture and built for a specific purpose in the North American industry, and was the first true optical distribution framework that included an integral method of cable management. By taking advantage of sliding adapter pack technology and innovative cable management, NDF allowed customers to reduce the area occupied and improve accessibility. The NGF urged the industry to update its standard, Telcordia GR-449, to use the frame footprint and ribbed interfaces as a requirement in all high density optical distribution frame in china.
At the same time, Raychem presented in Europe the first high density fiber frame built for a specific purpose, to adapt to the needs of European industry. This Raychem product line was later acquired by CommScope. The European industry is based on a footprint conforming to the standards of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute ( ETSI ), with front access only and consecutive assembly in combination with splicing in the frame. The optical distribution framework with fiber infrastructure system technology (FIST-ODF) that incorporated single-circuit splicing and a single element in combination with tray patching became the de facto standard in most European countries.
What was happening in the market that this innovation was necessary?
In the early 1990s, central offices and Data Centers began using greater amounts of fiber as they switched from DS-1 and DS-3 copper connectivity to OC-3 and OC-12 fiber connectivity. . Because they needed to complete thousands of fiber connections instead of dozens, these customers needed a different way of managing fiber. The first fiber handling solutions involved the use of basic patch panels as a frame, none of which was designed for easy access. These first solutions took up a lot of space, and it was difficult for workers to get to the fiber if they had to clean it or make any changes. It was also difficult to manage loose cables, and route cables from one frame to another.
How did this innovation benefit customers and the industry?
With the NGF and FIST-ODF, customers who were limited to two or three fiber frames and some two hundred connections could now align 50-60 sections to manage thousands of connections and create a true interconnect to centralize fiber management in central offices and large data centers.
During the development process, the ADC team, now part of CommScope, had many meetings with key clients to review design concepts and receive comments that helped the team make sure to include the features and functions that customers wanted.
Did this innovation drive other innovations and, if so, how do they connect with each other?
This innovative product made ADC the clear market leader for ODF in North America and Raychem the leader in Europe.
CommScope acquired the BNS division of TE Connectivity (which included ADC and part of Raychem) in 2015. Since 1995, CommScope and its acquired companies have continuously innovated in ODF, and presented NG3 in 2003, NG4 in 2012 and FACT in 2016.
What is the importance of innovation for CommScope?
With their innovations in optical distribution frame, CommScope and its acquired companies created and standardized a way to manage fiber in central offices and data centers, and they continue to evolve the ODF family to be leaders in the industry and exceed the expectations of their customers as the market advances. Many of the basic building blocks of NGF and FIST-ODF products, such as slide adapter packs and tray patching, have been used in a wide variety of other CommScope fiber termination products.