We discuss the following topics in this blog:
- What Makes the Internet Run?
- STL Academy operations and trainings.
- STL Academy’s long-term goal.
In addition to these topics, we shall also be answering the following FAQs:
- What is WiFi?
- What is an Optical Fibre Cable?
Performing the vital function of training people to correctly lay the fibre that carries internet signals, STL Academy has managed to train and certify 1500 professionals in the last 10 months and is planning a tenfold increase in 2019.
What Makes the Internet Run?
If you’re reading this, you have access to the internet. As do about half a billion other Indians. If memes and pop culture references are anything to go by, people today can’t imagine their lives without it. And for good reason – the internet makes our lives so much easier and faster.
Deploying the fibre that makes it possible for this non-essential necessity to reach us is, on the other hand, anything but easy or fast. In fact, the task of planning, deploying and maintaining an Optical Fibre Network is highly complex, specialised and in some cases downright dangerous, which is a far cry from the ‘digging job’ it has been regarded as in the past.
Those tasked with training or field work need to navigate tricky terrain, government regulations and at times even serious geo-political issues. The techniques employed vary with (among other factors) location, terrain, soil type and fibre type. Given the high level of skill, expertise and strategic nous required, there is a growing consensus in the industry that fibre should only be deployed by experts.
This is where STL Academy comes in.
Founded in 2015 with a vision to streamline training activities, the Academy aims to train professionals to correctly deploy Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) and develop the Right Skills in them, in order to build a skilled workforce across India in the Optical Fibre Network domain.
The last 10 months or so (from mid 2018 to early 2019) have seen the Academy’s operations kick into high gear with contributions from trainers Indranil Ghoshal and Avadh Gupta, who have managed to train an impressive 1,500 professionals, including over 400 Defence personnel in that short period of time. Assisting them have been Master Trainers from the Telecom Sector Skill Council (TSSC).
The trainers were even presented with an award for their accomplishments in the recently held STL Townhall meeting. Here’s how Indranil said it felt to have their efforts recognised:
“We are absolutely thrilled and excited. This shows that with clear focus and hard work one is bound to be recognised in this industry. This recognition has motivated us to move at lightning speed. That said, what drives us even more is the knowledge that we are in the privileged position of being able to positively impact the lives of thousands of people with the work we do.”
And the Academy aren’t resting on their laurels just yet. Setting their sights high again, they aim to increase the number of people trained 10x in 2019!
Add to this the endorsement the ‘STL Training Program’ has recently received from FTTH Council APAC, and it’s clear to see that the Academy really is firing on all cylinders.
What is STL Academy’s Goal?
As a company, STL is committed to serving the greater good. This spirit permeates STL Academy’s mission also. All the Academy’s efforts ultimately culminate in their pursuit for a larger, public-spirited goal, which is to build a robust and reliable network for the nation and to create talent development and employment opportunities for the Indian youth.\
What is WiFi?
Put simply, WiFi is a technology that uses radio waves to create a wireless network through which devices like mobile phones, computers, printers, etc., connect to the internet. A wireless router is needed to establish a WiFi hotspot that people in its vicinity may use to access internet services. You’re sure to have encountered such a WiFi hotspot in houses, offices, restaurants, etc.
To get a little more technical, WiFi works by enabling a Wireless Local Area Network or WLAN that allows devices connected to it to exchange signals with the internet via a router. The frequencies of these signals are either 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz bandwidths. These frequencies are much higher than those transmitted to or by radios, mobile phones, and televisions since WiFi signals need to carry significantly higher amounts of data. The networking standards are variants of 802.11, of which there are several (802.11a, 802.11b, 801.11g, etc.).
What is an Optical Fibre Cable?
An optical fibre cable is a cable type that has a few to hundreds of optical fibres bundled together within a protective plastic coating. They help carry digital data in the form of light pulses across large distances at faster speeds. For this, they need to be installed or deployed either underground or aerially. Standalone fibres cannot be buried or hanged so fibres are bunched together as cables for the transmission of data.
This is done to protect the fibre from stress, moisture, temperature changes and other externalities. There are three main components of a optical fibre cable, core (It carries the light and is made of pure silicon dioxide (SiO2) with dopants such as germania, phosphorous pentoxide, or alumina to raise the refractive index; Typical glass cores range from as small as 3.7um up to 200um), Cladding (Cladding surrounds the core and has a lower refractive index than the core, it is also made from the same material as the core; 1% refractive index difference is maintained between the core and cladding; Two commonly used diameters are 125µm and 140µm) and Coating (Protective layer that absorbs shocks, physical damage and moisture; The outside diameter of the coating is typically either 250µm or 500µm; Commonly used material for coatings are acrylate,Silicone, carbon, and polyimide).
An optical fibre cable is made up of the following components: Optical fibres – ranging from one to many. Buffer tubes (with different settings), for protection and cushioning of the fibre. Water protection in the tubes – wet or dry. A central strength member (CSM) is the backbone of all cables. Armoured tapes for stranding to bunch the buffer tubes and strength members together. Sheathing or final covering to provide further protection.
The five main reasons that make this technology innovation disruptive are fast communication speed, infinite bandwidth & capacity, low interference, high tensile strength and secure communication. The major usescases of optical fibre cables include intenet connectivity, computer networking, surgery & dentistry, automotive industry, telephony, lighting & decorations, mechanical inspections, cable television, military applications and space.