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How Broadband Networks Enable Applications Beyond the Home

Jul 2023
Broadband Beyond the Home

In my last post, I wrote about the race to democratize broadband in America, and the efforts of both the private and public sector to provide faster internet access and improved connectivity to individuals living in rural areas and Tribal lands. A key reason for wanting to connect the entire country is the fact that services such as streaming entertainment, gaming, voice assistants, connected appliances, and modern security systems all require broadband access.

However, there also myriad broadband use cases—both current and emerging—that benefit not just individuals in their homes, but society at large. From distance learning to remote working, broadband has already changed how we live, learn, and work. And thanks to the capabilities that broadband unlocks, we have an opportunity—and an obligation—to reimagine how we protect people and the planet we inhabit.

Some of the most intriguing use cases for broadband include:

Telemedicine: Broadband enables remote access to healthcare services, including teleconsultations, remote patient monitoring, and telemedicine applications. Patients can receive medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment from healthcare professionals without physically visiting a clinic or hospital.

Alert Systems: Broadband enables the collection, analysis, and dissemination of alerts and warnings to the public or relevant authorities. These warnings can be sent through various channels, including mobile apps, websites, SMS, email, or automated phone calls. Broadband connectivity ensures that these warnings reach the intended recipients quickly and efficiently.

Air Quality: Broadband connectivity allows for the collection of real-time data from various sources, including sensors, weather stations, satellites, and other monitoring devices. These devices continuously measure and transmit data related to air quality parameters, such as ozone levels, carbon monoxide (CO), and meteorological data like temperature, humidity, wind speed, and precipitation.

Smart Cities: Broadband enables the edge applications that can be utilized to make cities more efficient. For instance, intelligent traffic management systems can collect and process data from sensors and cameras at intersections to optimize traffic flow and reduce congestion in real-time. Additionally, smart street lighting systems can adjust lighting levels based on environmental conditions, reducing energy consumption.

Smart Grids: Broadband connectivity allows for the collection and transmission of vast amounts of data from smart grid devices. Smart meters and sensors installed throughout the grid capture data on electricity usage, voltage levels, power quality, and equipment performance. This data is then transmitted over broadband networks to utility companies for monitoring, analysis, and optimization of the grid's performance and efficiency.

The Role of the Network

Delivering on the promise of broadband begins at the network. While broadband networks have been around since the 1990s, they must evolve in order to enable new and emerging applications. For example, 5G—the fifth-generation mobile network—is designed to connect virtually everyone and everything together including machines, objects and devices. Much faster and more reliable than 4G networks, 5G has the potential to once again transform the way we use the internet.  In fact, many of the IoT use cases mentioned previously will further benefit from 5G, as well as others such as self-driving cars and cloud-connected traffic control.

ISPs who are or want to be leaders in the emerging broadband market must build a future-proof broadband network that can harness new technologies, support emerging use cases while also delivering operational efficiency.

Key components of a future-proof network include:

Low Latency: Many emerging applications—especially those at the edge—require real-time or near real-time processing of data. Fiber broadband can provide lower latency compared to other broadband technologies, enabling faster data transmission and reducing the time delay between edge devices and cloud servers. It’s also ideal for high-speed, long-distance data transmission.

Redundancy and Resilience: To ensure reliable operation, the network infrastructure should include redundant communication paths, backup power systems, and redundant network components to minimize downtime and enhance reliability.

Scalability: Use cases are expected to grow and accommodate additional devices and technologies over time. The network infrastructure should be designed with scalability in mind, allowing for easy expansion and integration of new devices, systems, and technologies. Fiber-optic networks allow for the expansion of network capacity to accommodate increasing data demands.

Cybersecurity: The network infrastructure should incorporate advanced security protocols, firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and encryption mechanisms to protect against cyber threats and ensure the integrity and confidentiality of data.

How Panduit Helps

As broadband development is soaring to meet demand, ISPs are looking at broadband infrastructure as the foundation to ensure reliability of service and support emerging broadband use cases.

Optical Splicing Facilities

Fiber optic fusion splicers are devices that use an electric arc to melt two optical fibers together to form a single long fiber. The resulting joint, or fusion splice, enables optical light signals to pass from one fiber into the other with very little loss.

The Panduit  HD Fusion Fiber Wall Mount Splice Enclosure houses, organizes, manages and protects cable to cable fusion splice connections. It accommodates large count fiber optic cables typically coming in from outside of a building.

Optical Distribution Frames

Optical distribution frames (ODFs) are rack-mounted enclosures that provide a structured and organized solution for managing fiber optic cables and a centralized location where fiber cables can be terminated, spliced, and interconnected.

Best-of-class ODFs offer modular configurations, allowing additional fiber capacity to be added or existing components to be replaced or upgraded without major disruptions to the overall network. This flexibility makes ODFs valuable for broadband networks that need to adapt to evolving demands.

The Panduit FlexCore™ Optical Distribution Frame solution offers the ultimate in flexibility, manageability, scalability and security. It has the ability to reduce data center floor space by 50%, features highly intuitive cable routing paths that remove the guesswork and prevent ‘rip and replace’ costs, and features an innovative cable management with a lockable vertical cable manager door that eliminates circuit risk and downtime.

Fiber Optic Pathways

Fiber optic pathways, or the physical routes that fiber optic cables take from one point to another, require careful planning and construction to prevent damage. The Panduit FiberRunner™ Cable Routing System is built to separate, route, and protect fiber optic cabling. It features a maintained minimum of a 2-inch bend radius and is constructed to withstand higher temperatures.

And, the Panduit Wire Basket Overhead Cable Pathway System is composed of pathways, splices, mounting brackets, and accessories that can be configured for a wide range of applications and are ideal for broadband providers.

Fiber Breakout and Assembly solutions

Fiber breakout cables contain multiple fibers within a single cable that can be broken out and connected to an individual device. Fiber cable assemblies have connectors already installed on one or both ends, which simplifies installation by eliminating the need for onsite termination.

Panduit provides fiber breakout and assembly solutions that deliver high performance, reliability, and scalability. Designed to enhance any fiber optic system, no matter the configuration or application, the assortment of Panduit fiber optic panels, cassettes, and enclosures meets virtually any need.

Learn More About the Benefits of Partnering with Panduit

ISPs who want to be leaders in enabling the emerging use cases that broadband enables need a network infrastructure partner who understands where the market is headed, and is committed to providing the solutions required to translate opportunity into reality. To learn more about how Panduit helps, visit the broadband solutions section of our website.


Michael Vermeer

Mike Vermeer is Manager of Broadband at Panduit. He has a Mechanical Engineering degree from Purdue University and an MBA from DePaul University. In his 15 years at Panduit, he has taken various roles as inventor, product line manager, services manager, and acquisition lead.