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PPC blog

Dave Daly

Recent Posts

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 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 Improves 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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Think You're Ready for the FTTx Drop Installation?

Posted by Dave Daly

Take our quiz to find out.

When it comes to actually implementing an FTTx network, there are many details to pay attention to.

Choices have to be made based on landscape topography – there is a big difference between an FTTx drop installation in rural and urban landscapes. Regulatory issues need to be addressed. Technical factors must also be carefully weighed – techniques like cable blowing and pulling only work in certain situations.

It is also critical that customers are not inconvenienced at any point during an FTTx implementation. No customer wants their property to be at the center of a major civil engineering project..

Then there is the matter of cost.

Lastly, it's important to consider whether the solution needs to be future-proof. Some cable can be ripped and replaced. But there are other options, such as direct unducted cable, which, once installed, cannot easily be removed or replaced.

These are just some of the many decisions that have to be made before beginning an FTTx implementation.

Do you think you are ready? Take the quiz below to find out.

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

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Coaxial headend broadband connectivity – improving the performance

Posted by Dave Daly

The broadband headend environment evolves with the advance of technology and expands to satisfy consumer demand for data service. This poses challenges in many ways – space is at a premium, reliable power is essential, security has to be perfect, and the air has to be kept to specific parameters.

With respect to space, the headend environment has seen a transition from standard RG6 cable to high-quality mini-coaxial cable and connectors that have a smaller footprint, such as MCX-type connector products. So to accommodate technologies from video programming to 2-way digital service - the processing, receiving, and transmitting has to be better as the threshold of services such as DOCSIS 3.1 demands a more stringent network performance.

Topics: Headend, Broadband, Coax

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Building Residential Fiber Networks Faster at a Lower Cost

Posted by Dave Daly

The broadband FTTH market is in its infancy in North America and very little attention has been paid to the last 150’ drop necessary to bring a low fiber count connection into customers’ homes. Currently a broadband operator’s fast ROI lies in business and multi-dwelling unit (MDU) applications. To date, the ROI model for single family units (SFU) doesn’t measure up.

Topics: Fiber to the home, Pushable Fiber, Costs/ROI

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