a month ago
Hurricane Matthew causes one in a million uFiber Tree Fade
Used Products
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Location
VA, USA
Description

By the time what was left of Hurricane Matthew sped through Virginia, all that was left was 50 mph winds and a lot of rain.

 

But rain soaked ground mixed with wind can mean toppled trees and power outages.  So I made sure batteries were charged and generators has the fuel topped off. 

 

Wasn't worried at all about the uFiber sections of my network since the fiber is all buried underground and OLT's had several days worth of battery backup. 

 

We had the usual customers drop off due to lack of grid power at their locations but those were quickly restored.  ,Near the end of the storm, I had a uFiber customer go down.   I of course assumed power, even though that house had a generator.  I told the customer the usual to unplug and plug back.  That didn't fix it.   I checked the SNMP data and the connection dropped clean at 3:44pm.   Then the customer mentioned that a huge old oak tree had fallen around 3pm.   Hmmm

 

IMG_2552.jpg

 

 

 

The fiber runs near there, but its buried and not near the upended roots.  But still, the timing was worrisome. 

 

When I got there, a tree crew was out with a forklift and chainsaws trying to deal with the tree.   After a while they found this,

IMG_2527.jpg

 

 

That's a one foot diameter branch stabbed several feet into the soft, rain soaked ground.  We couldn't pull it out.  Finally used a chain and a forklift and got it out.  But come on !  No way the fiber would be exactly there.  Right ??

 

Here's the end we pulled out of the ground.

 

IMG_2563.jpg

 

 

 

 

I couldn't see any fiber inside the hole, but it was pretty deep.  I grabbed by underground cable locator and followed the path and it led right to the hole.  Hmmm.

 

So I grabbed a shovel and started digging down.  

IMG_2530.jpg

 

 

 

The one deep branch that had stabbed into the ground hit the fiber dead on !!!   What are the chances of that ????

 

 

This was a 1,200 ft drop cable to a house.  So we decided to repair rather than replace. 

 

In order to fix the fiber, we had to dig up 12 feet of fiber.   We then used two of these underground splice enclosures.

 

IMG_2534.jpg

 

 

 

This was six strand fiber.  So I did a mass fusion splice of all six fibers at once.  We had to add a 10 foot section of new fiber inbetween to give us some work room.  I used 12 strand as the middle repair piece and only used the first six strands. 

 

 

 

IMG_2537.jpg

 

 

So now we had the new inbetween piece spliced to one end. 

 

 

 

IMG_2540.jpg

 

 

 

 

This was repeated at the other end of the break until we had two of these boxes, with the extra coiled around it.  The instant the fibers connected in the splicer, the NanoG reconnected and we were able to verify the RX signal with SNMP on my smart phone. It was only .04 dB less than before the break.

 

IMG_2543.jpg

 

 

 

Then everything was carefully buried.

 

IMG_2568.jpg

 

 

We always bury fiber away from trees to prevent root damage if the tree ever gets blown over.  But we never though we needed to worry about branches stabbing 3 feet into the ground !. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hurricane Matthew causes one in a million uFiber Tree Fade

by a month ago - last edited a month ago

By the time what was left of Hurricane Matthew sped through Virginia, all that was left was 50 mph winds and a lot of rain.

 

But rain soaked ground mixed with wind can mean toppled trees and power outages.  So I made sure batteries were charged and generators has the fuel topped off. 

 

Wasn't worried at all about the uFiber sections of my network since the fiber is all buried underground and OLT's had several days worth of battery backup. 

 

We had the usual customers drop off due to lack of grid power at their locations but those were quickly restored.  ,Near the end of the storm, I had a uFiber customer go down.   I of course assumed power, even though that house had a generator.  I told the customer the usual to unplug and plug back.  That didn't fix it.   I checked the SNMP data and the connection dropped clean at 3:44pm.   Then the customer mentioned that a huge old oak tree had fallen around 3pm.   Hmmm

 

IMG_2552.jpg

 

 

 

The fiber runs near there, but its buried and not near the upended roots.  But still, the timing was worrisome. 

 

When I got there, a tree crew was out with a forklift and chainsaws trying to deal with the tree.   After a while they found this,

IMG_2527.jpg

 

 

That's a one foot diameter branch stabbed several feet into the soft, rain soaked ground.  We couldn't pull it out.  Finally used a chain and a forklift and got it out.  But come on !  No way the fiber would be exactly there.  Right ??

 

Here's the end we pulled out of the ground.

 

IMG_2563.jpg

 

 

 

 

I couldn't see any fiber inside the hole, but it was pretty deep.  I grabbed by underground cable locator and followed the path and it led right to the hole.  Hmmm.

 

So I grabbed a shovel and started digging down.  

IMG_2530.jpg

 

 

 

The one deep branch that had stabbed into the ground hit the fiber dead on !!!   What are the chances of that ????

 

 

This was a 1,200 ft drop cable to a house.  So we decided to repair rather than replace. 

 

In order to fix the fiber, we had to dig up 12 feet of fiber.   We then used two of these underground splice enclosures.

 

IMG_2534.jpg

 

 

 

This was six strand fiber.  So I did a mass fusion splice of all six fibers at once.  We had to add a 10 foot section of new fiber inbetween to give us some work room.  I used 12 strand as the middle repair piece and only used the first six strands. 

 

 

 

IMG_2537.jpg

 

 

So now we had the new inbetween piece spliced to one end. 

 

 

 

IMG_2540.jpg

 

 

 

 

This was repeated at the other end of the break until we had two of these boxes, with the extra coiled around it.  The instant the fibers connected in the splicer, the NanoG reconnected and we were able to verify the RX signal with SNMP on my smart phone. It was only .04 dB less than before the break.

 

IMG_2543.jpg

 

 

 

Then everything was carefully buried.

 

IMG_2568.jpg

 

 

We always bury fiber away from trees to prevent root damage if the tree ever gets blown over.  But we never though we needed to worry about branches stabbing 3 feet into the ground !. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ubiquiti certified trainer :: ubwa | uewa
Comments
by
a month ago

Sorry to hear you had the worst luck in the world! Its like that branch had a mission to destroy that one fiber cable. Go figure! 

 

Great job getting it fixed ASAP and with a very minimal loss!

by
4 weeks ago

Nice work.  And proof that TLID-LA would have been a helpful network protocol, had it been implemented here.

 

For those unaware, that's " tree limb intrusion detection/location algorithm".  At least you have good manual procedures. Man Wink

by Ubiquiti Employee
4 weeks ago

Wow! There's a spanning tree joke here somewhere, but glad you got this running again.

by
4 weeks ago

@UBNT-SNK touche!

by
4 weeks ago

Thats crazy, such a freak incident...

by
4 weeks ago

@UBNT-SNK  The funniest comment I heard was from @flipper who quickly explained that my fiber " had been shafted". 

by
3 weeks ago

dang, how unlucky i that?

great work!

 

by
3 weeks ago

wow, what a bummer. why the extra cable? you couldn't set up a table to splice using an extra lets say 1 foot?

by
3 weeks ago

@phiber - the extra length lets you move the splice up out of the hole to work on it.

by
3 weeks ago

@phiber

 

@shockerengr is correct.  Also when something like this happens, the first couple inches of fiber is often damaged near the break.  

 

If you bury using tubes or ducts, its common practice to leave a loop or two of extra fiber at each handhole along the way.  That allows you to pull spare back towards the break area so you can do a single splice without adding a piece inbetween.    But with direct bury you can't do that.   For shorter lengths, its usually easier to run a new fiber the whole path.  Even with copper phone lines, often an entire new line is run after a break.  In the end, the decision to replace or repair depends on the length of the run, the season and circumstances, 

 

I keep wishing someone would design some close quarters splicing scheme for instances like this.  But the preparation and cleaving of the fiber always requires fiber length.  Maybe someone will design a robot one day that can take two mangled ends, and do a very close quarter prep and cleave while the fiber is in the hole.  But these breaks don't happen every day.