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PPC blog

Simplicity of Installation is the Key to Product Selection for FTTH

Posted by Dave Daly

If you are trying to decide on a product to include in your network design or installation and you have a choice between several products that meet your technical specifications  is price the only factor that will help you to make your decision?

While it can be tempting to prioritize price, it's also important to think ahead and look to your business' future. Therefore, an important factor to consider during your product selection for FTTH is the simplicity of your installation.

Simplicity

When it comes to fiber installation, it is commonly understood that you need specialized expertise (installing, splicing), and specialized equipment (splicers, blowers, trenching, etc.). The cost of these things is well known and considered to be part of doing business, and is often the decisive factor in how or if an FTTH installation goes forward.

What is the reason these factors are costly?

Basically, it comes down to time. You pay a cost per hour to a contractor or internally for fiber installation. The number of steps required to complete an installation determines how long the installation takes and, therefore, determines the cost. The more steps, the higher the cost.

Therefore, it would be wise to examine your own installation procedures to find steps you can eliminate. Some steps can be eliminated by choosing the right method and/ or the right product before you begin.

Topics: Fiber to the home, Pushable Fiber

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Bonding and Grounding for CATV – What's the Difference?

Posted by Dave Daly

Bonding is the electro-mechanical joining of two or more conductors, to form a conductive path that ensures electrical continuity. Grounding is connecting a circuit to the earth or to another conductor that is itself connected to earth. 

Broadband cable systems are usually connected to ground to limit the voltage potential between the cable sheath in the house and the other grounded items in the house, including water pipes, appliances and anything else connected to the utility.

A cable not properly grounded can have a high electric potential when compared to the utility ground in a house. Grounding the cable system to the same ground used by the utility minimizes voltage that could exist between them. 

Topics: Fiber to the home, Broadband

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Installing In-Building Fiber Broadband: First Stage and Connectors

Posted by Dave Daly

These days, operators are faced with an increasing requirement to deploy in-building fiber broadband networks. The rising demand from consumers for superfast broadband services, coupled with the growing urbanization of the marketplace, means that many operators need to focus on installation efficiencies and effectiveness.

Bringing fiber into the building

The first installation step is to get fiber cable into a multi-dwelling premise. It has to be routed from the point of presence (the outside distribution box in the example diagram below) into the building through the wall and plugged into a further distribution box or distribution frame in the basement or a comms room.

Topics: Design and Install, MDU, Broadband

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Overcoming Hidden Costs in the Broadband Network's Last 200 Feet

Posted by Rick Haube

Many people involved in broadband network deployments appreciate that there could be "hidden" costs down the line because less expensive products have been chosen upfront, for use in the critical transmission path close to the subscribers. The real issue is how to balance slightly higher capital costs for quality components and training, against true savings in operational costs. 

Substandard components are apt to need replacement sooner than those of higher quality - not to mention the costs resulting from the poorer performance profiles of low-quality products.

But what of the hidden costs associated with a poorly or improperly trained workforce? These costs appear in the form of more service calls and repeat service calls.

Topics: Design and Install, Costs/ROI, Broadband

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Tools To Get the Best Broadband Network Service Levels in the Home

Posted by Dave Daly

With increased bandwidth beyond 1 GHz, maintaining the correct carrier levels at a subscriber location is becoming more difficult. The challenge is not always widespread and may be limited to certain areas within the physical network, where limits to the system design have been reached. The addition of DOCSIS 3.1 and MoCA technologies has raised the threshold required for in-home equipment performance and also, therefore, for broadband and CATV signal quality.

All-digital broadband networks are also driving the need for correct signal levels; the tolerance for noise and distortion in these networks is much tighter. Older analog systems had a wider margin of error. Adding to this problem is the increased number of TVs and other devices used. Finally, most techs now have to ensure that each customer's home meets a certain level of performance and must pass a strict performance check before they can leave.

To measure up to these higher expectations, you will want these simple products for making delicate and critical adjustments to signals at the home: attenuators, cable simulators, equalizers, and high pass filters, to name a few.

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How to understand price and value in broadband networks

Posted by Rick Haube

In managing the infrastructure of broadband networks, an often underacknowledged element is the coaxial cabling and connectors required to deliver the very services your customers pay for.

Research shows that possibly the most significant issue for service providers is service calls in "the last mile" (or "the last drop") - the connection from the end of the distribution network up to and including the customer premise equipment.

The research indicates that the leading cause of service calls, as much as 40 percent, is due not only to improper installation of coaxial cable and connectors, or simply loose connectors, but also that the connectors being employed are of sub-standard quality within the environment, affecting electrical and mechanical performance. This has historically been such a chronic issue that some operators have come to accept it as a cost of doing business.

Topics: Costs/ROI, Broadband

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How to Prepare the Drop for DOCSIS 3.1

Posted by Dave Daly

Delivering DOCSIS services, whether it is 64 QAM upstream (3.0) or orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) 1024 (3.1), is often possible with minimal investment and network changes. However, to maximize delivery quality with the highest data speeds requires an in-home network resilient against interference and noise contributors. Where is your performance for the next generation of services? 

There are several obstacles to delivering DOCSIS technologies, including the common effects of loose connectors, signal level discrepancies and ingress/ egress. In addition, the peripheral wireless technology, long term evolution (LTE), is present in homes within the same spectrum (regionally specific) as broadband cable systems.

The question that cannot be avoided today is: "How do we consistently reach the DOCSIS 3.1 performance required while meeting the growing capacity demands?"

Topics: Design and Install

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Broadband Subscribers' Self-Installations: Getting it Right First Time

Posted by Dave Daly

A growing number of broadband subscribers are being given the option of installing or reinstalling customer-premises equipment (CPEs) themselves, with the help of self-install kits (SIKs). For the subscriber, this can lead to flexibility, autonomy, and independence when setting up their information and entertainment environments. Sometimes, however, it can lead to problems - and expensive service calls. 

Compared to the first generation of SIKs some twenty years ago, today's options are much improved and standardized. The original SIKs often contained a bewildering array of cables, connectors, and passives, including composite video cables, component video cables, HDMI cable, coax cable, audio, category cable, RF splitters and others. 

The matrix of possibilities was endless and confusing but with the standardization of connection devices for CPEs, the list is now more specific and sophisticated, including usually only coax cable, HDMI and category cable, depending on the services purchased. 

So, how do you make sure self-installations are done properly?

Topics: Design and Install, Broadband

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How Terminating Unused Ports Will Improve Broadband Network Performance

Posted by Dave Daly

Terminators are simple devices that electrically terminate RF coaxial ports, both inside and outside of the home. The unused tap ports or wall plates in the home can actually create a path for ingress and egress, which affects the network performance.

Low cost terminators have a tendency to fail, due to broken center conductors, moisture / corrosion, or both. Just one of these small devices can actually affect the entire upstream data path for many subscribers within that given area and can create costly service calls and lower the quality of experience.

Case studies have shown that terminating all unused tap ports in an average size node can result in a signal to noise improvement of more than 5db in the return path. Inside the home, electrically terminating unused ports on wall plates or actives and passives blocks ingress in the return path as well. Poor electrical terminations caused by moisture migration create havoc on system performance.

Topics: Design and Install, Fiber to the home, Coax

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Do you know how far you can bend your microduct and fiber?

Posted by Dave Daly

There is a limit to the bending ratio or tight diameter in a microduct or fiber cable - after which, the fiber starts to exhibit failure. The failure can be a slight increase in insertion loss or a "kink" in the fiber that creates a catastrophic effect.  

One of the challenges of installing fiber in the last drop of an FTTH network is knowing the overall distance and the amount of 90 degree angles you can have in the path you will be using. Distance and 90 degree turns create additional friction and add to the cumulative friction.

Topics: Fiber to the premises, Design and Install, Fiber to the home, Pushable Fiber

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