Deploying long-distance hybrid fiber optical networks with pipelines provides great utility in distributed fiber optic sensing/monitoring as well as a variety of other operational and data networking-based applications. However, there are a number complexities that must be acknowledged during the construction and planning process.
The applications supported with hybrid fiber networking on pipelines are very appealing. These include high fidelity distributed sensing for leak detection, intrusion detection, slope stability monitoring, thermal anomalies, pig detection/tracking/analysis, and flow monitoring. Beyond sensing, other applications include gigabit backbones for next-generation SCADA networks, multiplexing PLC’s, voice/video over IP as well as provision of bandwidth for remote communities.
Some of the deployment challenges presented with long-distance hybrid fiber networks on pipelines include the non sequential construction of various pipeline sections (spreads), telecom fiber installation and splicing considerations, as well as specialized sensing fiber configurations. With trench-based methods, attention is needed for the placement and protection of the cable including use of conduit or armoured cables, as well as how to address injection distances of cable in conduit, minimizing optical loss, determining hand hole/splice junction placement, and open trench water crossings with required buoyancy control. With trenchless deployment methods, there are a number of best practices to ensure successful fiber optic cable deployment including redundancy for HDD’s, direct pipe, micro tunneling, etc.
Finally, once the hybrid fiber optic cables are deployed, optical transport and system hardware placed along a long-distance right-of-way also have multiple complexities to address. These include larger centralized vs smaller decentralized system architecture, remote location access at pump stations and valve/PLC facilities, UPS power and HVAC, redundancy and security.
Hifi’s paper and presentation will address the high utility generated by the enabled applications as well as how to address the deployment challenges. A number of field-based case studies with pipeline operators will be highlighted.