Note: These FAQs are not a comprehensive description of any TRAXyL product or service. All statements regarding approved techniques should be verified by the installer with the appropriate Jurisdiction Having Authority (JHA) before specifying or installing any TRAXyL product.
TRAXyL is a Virginia based company that has developed a Minimally Disruptive Installation (MDI) capability to fill a need for “last mile” and hard-to-install fiber optic connectivity. Their flagship product, FiberTRAX is the first of many new connectivity capabilities.
FiberTRAX is a new and simple technique for installing fiber-optic cabling by essentially “painting” low-profile fiber cables directly onto hard-paved surfaces like concrete or asphalt.
FiberTRAX is installed at up to 1,000 feet per hour using a TRAXtor installation machine. Short FiberTRAX links can be installed manually using TRAXyL hand tools and techniques.
A TRAXtor is a self-propelled, ride-on, FiberTRAX installation machine that is about the size of a riding lawn mower.
The “paint” is actually durable fast-curing resins provided specifically for use in FiberTRAX. The “painted fiber” description is used to describe the final FiberTRAX installation because it resembles a road paint marking.
Factors that can affect performance include the quality of the underlying pavement, the FiberTRAX path location, and local traffic conditions. With a proper installation, periodic inspection, and limited Top Coat refreshment as needed, FiberTRAX connectivity can be maintained indefinitely.
FiberTRAX is designed to utilize existing hard-paved surfaces like asphalt and concrete that provide a solid base to make a fiber connection. The surfaces include bike or cart paths, sidewalks, driveways, parking lots, roads, bridges, and tunnels. FiberTRAX can be installed at airports, military bases, campuses, in residential or business communities, and even indoors at convention centers, garages, factories, and warehouses, among many other use cases.
FiberTRAX is not designed for use on surfaces that are not hard-paved such as dirt, grass, or gravel.
The typical height of a FiberTRAX installation is less than 8 millimeters (~3/8inches) at its peak and less than 100 millimeters (~4 inches) wide with gradually sloping sides down to the pavement surface.
No, FiberTRAX is installed on the surface without cutting into the surface.
FiberTRAX consists of multiple layers of protection that include resins, aramid yarns, and steel armor that provide robust sustained performance. FiberTRAX samples have been tested in thermal chambers and subjected to extreme temperatures with varying humidity. FiberTRAX has survived against heavy vehicular traffic and large aircraft tire pressures that exceed 250 pounds per square inch.
FiberTRAX resins can be melted and removed, and the cable can be removed using TRAXyL decommissioning methods, or the entire link can be removed from the surface using commercial scarifying equipment.
FiberTRAX installations have survived the passage of both snowplows and tracked vehicles. Snowplow blades that gouge into the asphalt road surface and tracked vehicles that pivot on top of the FiberTRAX installation can potentially damage a FiberTRAX installation and may break the fiber link. To reduce these risks, TRAXyL suggests:
- Avoiding the routes with the heaviest plow and tracked vehicle traffic, if possible.
- Placing FiberTRAX as close to the curb or the road edge as possible.
- Installing redundant links and mesh networks where possible.
- Using signage to protect the FiberTRAX links such as “Lift plow blade here”.
- Instructing plow drivers to not gouge the asphalt near a FiberTRAX installation.
- Instructing tracked vehicle operators not to pivot directly on top of a FiberTRAX installation.
FiberTRAX is an innovative fiber installation technique invented by TRAXyL. The technique is meant to provide installers a simple, cost-effective installation option for complex situations. FiberTRAX reduces project costs, shortens the planning and approval cycle, speeds up the installation time, and eliminates the need to restore a work site.
Currently, TRAXyL offers a 2-count, 6-count, and 12-count fiber cable with 250-micron fibers. TRAXyL is developing the technology to place 48 fibers in a single FiberTRAX installation. This higher fiber count ability will become available in 2022.
A new asphalt layer may be installed directly on top of an existing FiberTRAX link. If the top layer of a road surface is milled prior to the new asphalt installation, then an existing FiberTRAX link will need to be installed after the road is resurfaced. A redundant FiberTRAX link may be installed on an alternate path prior to the road surface replacement if the existing link connectivity is critical.
It is recommended that the surface, air, and material temperatures be between 40-105 degrees F, and at least 5 degrees F above the dew point, with relative humidity less than 75%. If operating outside of these conditions, consult with a TRAXyL representative to discuss options.
Standard colors include black, gray, white. And yellow. Other colors can be ordered by Pantone® identifying number.
The TRAXtor is currently installing fiber at speeds up to 1,000 feet per hour. TRAXyL is continuing to develop new procedures and equipment to install FiberTRAX at an even faster rate. The Bond Coat cures in two seconds and the Top Coat fully cures in roughly 30 to 60 minutes depending on ambient temperature.
The protective coatings that make up FiberTRAX hold up very well and are designed to be resistant to road surface chemicals.
FiberTRAX is no more or less secure than any other conventionally installed fiber cable such as an aerial cable coming down off a pole and into a junction box, or a buried cable that enters into a handhole.
FiberTRAX can be installed over C&EJ of varying widths. C&EJ up to ~ 1”have no appreciable effect. C&EJ that are ~1-2” can be spot filled with TRAXyL resins in anticipation of the FiberTRAX installation. Cracks exceeding 3” will utilize a TRAXyL defined method to span the crack or expansion joint.
A TRAXyL Certified Installer provides warranty coverage based on their assessment of any potential installation. TRAXyL provides a warranty against defects for all TRAXyL provided protective coatings and fiber.
Preventative maintenance procedures generally include periodic inspections and refreshing the Top Coat to repair small scuffs and gouges.
Speed bumps, cable protectors, or similar protection can be temporarily placed over FiberTRAX lines during installation while the resins are curing to avoid shutting down traffic. Consult your FiberTRAX provider for a detailed procedure.
Industry standard tools, equipment, and procedures are used to identify where damage has occurred. Once identified, the links can be rerun at speeds up to 1,000 feet per hour, or an in-situ FiberTRAX splice can be performed by a TRAXyL Certified Partner.
Both protective coatings are TRAXyL proprietary resins with formulas necessary to prolong performance of a FiberTRAX installation. The Bond Coat is an ultraviolet light- cured resin, and the Top Coat is a two-part resin with an added aggregate. Only TRAXyL provided materials can be installed by a TRAXtor.
FiberTRAX has been used for Fiber to the Home (FTTH) projects at both single homes and Multi-Dwelling Units (MDUs), on military bases and campuses to extend network connectivity, to connect devices and cameras, and across a bridge over a river. For more use cases visit www.elysianfiber.com.