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It'sadirtyjob…

Mon, 11/20/2000 - 7:00pm
Karen Kessler-Tanaka

…make the robot do it. Yet another plus of modern technology: when it comes time to lay fiber-optic cable in big city sewers, send in a machine without a nose, nor enhanced by iSmell.

Canadian-based Stream Intelligent Networks has developed a specialized robotic technology, called STAR, (Sewage Telecommunications Access by Robot), to install high-speed fiber-optic networks in both storm sewers and "other" sewers.

"The robot is versatile and compatible for all kinds of sewers," Ken Chiu of National Public Relations, representing Stream Intelligent Networks, told CED. Not wanting to dwell too much on that imagery, Chiu moved on to tell CED about the advantages of laying fiber-optic cable in the existing city infrastructure.

"The robot lets you have your cake and eat it too," Chiu said. "The traditional method of laying fiber-optic cable involves digging up the streets, and disturbing traffic and store fronts on those streets. This method allows you to just drop the robot in and control and monitor its progress from a command center-like truck."

The robot is efficient too. It can lay approximately 800 meters of cable a day, compared to 100 meters the traditional way.

The robot was designed in Europe and has laid cabling systems in Berlin and Tokyo.

"The increasing demand for broadband by businesses has increased the need for cable in North America. Businesses are using up more bandwidth for networking, video and IP telephony," Chiu said. "Given the projected increase for demand in the future, fiber-optic cable is the natural choice. It has more bandwidth - it's faster. But the traditional method of setting up the telecom infrastructure is problematic."

"Stream Intelligent Networks is using its STAR technology in Mississauga, Ontario now, and anticipates moving into other North American cities, including the U.S. Stream Intelligent has rights to use this technology everywhere in North America," said Chiu.

Phew.

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