Microtrenching Speeds 4G Fiber Installation

April 2011 Vol. 66 No. 4

Smartphones, 3G and 4G networks are everywhere, offering wireless subscribers virtually instant access to data and electronic communications from anywhere at any time.

Thanks to the scores of recently developed mobile devices and applications -- as well as the introduction of new ones seemingly on a daily basis -- the demand for mobile data is skyrocketing.

One prominent wireless authority, RCR Wireless, projects that mobile data consumption will increase 700 percent by 2014. For their part, wireless service operators are upgrading existing infrastructure and adding new capacity to meet the current and future demands of a data-hungry world in which more and more subscribers are transferring their desktop broadband usage to mobile devices.

One of the underground utility companies helping the nation’s communications leaders grow their mobile broadband capacity is the Fishel Company, based in Columbus, OH. The 75-year-old utility contractor specializes in water, sewer, gas, telephone and fiber optic installation. With 20 offices in 11 states, “Team Fishel” employs more than 1,000 teammates. And, like its communications partners, the Fishel team embraces new technologies in an effort to deliver the best value and on-time solutions to meet its customers’ needs.

In an ongoing project to install conduit and fiber optic cable for distributed antenna systems in and around Scottsdale, AZ, Team Fishel is utilizing the newest technology in microtrenching. According to Kwigs Bowen, area manager of Team Fishel’s office in Chandler, AZ, the Vermeer MTR12 microtrencher attachment enables the installation crew to place more conduit, faster and with less cost and less site disturbance than other methods.

Project specifics
A distributed antenna system (DAS), Bowen explained, is a hybrid of fiber optics and radio sites that allows radio frequency engineers to pinpoint signals in densely populated neighborhoods or in areas that are difficult to cover. In each DAS, low profile antennas (AKA Nodes) are hidden on such objects as light poles or traffic signals and in Scottsdale, equipment was often placed inside artificial Saguaro Cacti no more than 24 feet tall.