Myth 1: Microduct Is A New Technology
People generally regard microduct as new technology, but it has been around for decades. Duraline introduced microducts in 1998 and bundled microducts, called FuturePath, in 1999. The technology flourished for years in Europe before it took off in the United States. It did take some time for cable manufacturers to catch up and adopt the technology and follow suit with fiber cables accommodated to perform in it. Still, today several manufacturers are producing various types of microcable from 6 fiber to 576 count microcable.
Myth 2: Microduct’s Are Expensive
One of the biggest myths about microduct is that it’s too expensive, and when comparing the price per foot of a standard 1 ¼” HDPE innerduct to a 7-way 18/14 Futurepath, it would appear that way, but you’ve got to be able to see the big picture. First off, with the rising cost of products in recent months, the gap between the price per foot is quickly narrowing. Even still, there’s more. A common mistake that I see is that construction costs are rarely figured into the equation. Time and time again, we see people putting in spare ducts. It’s becoming almost standard practice to install two 1 ¼” ducts, and it’s not uncommon to see even more than that. Why? Preparing for the future. With microduct, that’s built right into the name, Futurepath.
Contractors will charge approximately an extra dollar per foot for every additional duct they install, and if you install more than three ducts, it’s even more because of the cost of back reaming. Back reaming charges alone are more than the cost of the Futurepath. With microduct, you can install one bundle with several ducts inside a single sheath in a fraction of the space, eliminating the extra charges for additional ducts. In addition, future fiber installs are efficient and straightforward as the fiber is blown in, and no further digging is necessary.
Myth 3: Microduct Installation Is Difficult
Standard construction practices are used during installation, including direct bury, open trench, and horizontal drilling. The main difference is how the fiber is installed. Rather than pulling cable in, the thread is blown in using a jetting tool at incredible speeds, up to 300 ft/minute. Once you see fiber installed at such speed and ease, you’ll understand the difference. If you have not had a chance to see fiber being blown in, I highly recommend you find an opportunity to attend a demo or training. It’s worth it.
Splicing the microduct is as simple as measuring, making clean cuts, and pushing each end into the push-lok couplers. These couplers are air-tight, water-tight, and are removable/reusable. Locating is simple, as individual microducts are offered with an oversheathed tone wire, and Futurepath bundles come standard with a 20ga tone wire. Although the 20ga wire is proven to locate to extreme depths, some skeptics prefer a larger tone wire, and up to a 14ga wire is available on request. In addition, water-tight connectors keep the wire connections protected for years to come.
So often, we find that the genuine reluctance to microduct is a lack of comfort. Even though the technology has been around for decades, let’s face it. It is still new to many. So don’t continue doing the same thing year after year and resist change. Instead, start building your networks in the most innovative way possible. Please keep an open mind, educate yourself by scheduling a demo or training, and give it a shot.