University blows network into shape

The installation of a fibre-optic infrastructure at Canterbury University will be the largest one in Australasia to use a "leading-edge" system called Blolite. The project, costing about $1 million, will see the infrastructure linking the halls of residence and the university's PABX, library and computer network. It will give 960 halls of residence students high-speed access to the university's computer system, and to the Internet from their rooms. The installation's backbone is a series of underground plastic tubes through which the fibre is literally blown. That means that additional fibre-optic cable may be added in future merely by having it blown by compressed air - avoiding excavation, recabling and computer down-time.

The installation of a fibre-optic infrastructure at Canterbury University will be the largest one in Australasia to use a “leading-edge” system called Blolite.

The project, costing about $1 million, will see the infrastructure linking the halls of residence and the university’s PABX, library and computer network.

It will give 960 halls of residence students high-speed access to the university’s computer system, and to the Internet from their rooms.

The installation’s backbone is a series of underground plastic tubes through which the fibre is literally blown.

That means that additional fibre-optic cable may be added in future merely by having it blown by compressed air — avoiding excavation, recabling and computer down-time.

University telecommunications administrator Ted Beer says the project is going well apart from minor hiccups, and is expected to be finished at the end of this month.

Using Blolite, fibres can be blown 1000 metres horizontally or 300 metres vertically and around bends with a radius of as little as 25mm. Four fibres can be blown through each tube — each with the capacity to carry the equivalent of 12,000 simultaneous phone calls.

When finished, the installation will be the largest in Australasia, with 60 fibre kilometres.

Blolite was selected so the university would not be tied into any one type of fibre.

“Because it’s a tube, you can blow fibre in. If there’s a change in fibre technology in years to come, those fibres can be blown out and the new type of fibre blown in — so we’re not restricted in any way.”

Beer says there is also spare capacity in the tubes. “If we need more in a year’s time we’ve got the capacity to blow it in without disturbing the ground, and at very, very little additional expense.”

Christchurch-based Teltrac Com--munications is managing the project and will be blowing the fibre with guidance from MM Cables. The installation is part of an extensive communications upgrade which will be completed by this month.

Blolite has been used in other educational institutions, undergone a successful trial by Clear Communications and has been installed in high-rise buildings in Auckland and Wellington.

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