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PPC blog

Rich Contreras

Recent Posts

The importance of testing in fiber network deployments

Posted by Rich Contreras


Connecting a building to a fiber or coax network can be extremely complex. When planning the deployment, you need to take into account the environmental and topographical conditions, select the best installation methodology, and choose the right equipment for the job.

Then you have to implement the plan, essentially carrying out a civil engineering project to ensure the cable successfully reaches its destination. This can involve re-using existing ducts or creating completely new paths into, and then around, buildings.

However, this is not the end of the job, and perhaps the most vital part is yet to come – testing. This not only enables you to check that the connection works correctly, but, most importantly, that it is reliable, meets relevant industry standards, and is acceptable to the network owner. This should be required on all installs, even if the network owner hasn’t mandated it.

Topics: Design and Install, Fiber to the home

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4 questions to ask when installing fiber in multiple dwelling units

Posted by Rich Contreras


As the pace of fiber to the premises (FTTP) deployments increases, operators face a different challenge – successfully installing fiber within multiple dwelling units (MDUs), such as apartment buildings, offices, and hotels.

What makes this task difficult is that MDU is a whole new concept for many operators – particularly when installing fiber in existing buildings, with congested ducts. Most older buildings didn’t plan for future upgrades to technology such as fiber, limiting the space even more in these scenarios.

Every implementation is different, so to help planners and crews, here are four questions you should ask before beginning the process: 

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

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8 questions to ask before installing fiber in your building

Posted by Rich Contreras


Across the world, people are increasingly demanding faster broadband - and it is often one of the factors they take into account when choosing where to live. As well as attracting tenants, being able to offer fiber broadband has other benefits for building owners and operators.

A study by the FTTH Council Americas found that access to fiber boosted real estate prices by an average of 3.1 per cent across the United States. These findings build on research that communities with gigabit broadband have a higher per capita GDP.

Consequently, landlords are looking at how they can fiber up their buildings, to attract and retain tenants. But for many this is a new area, so what are the pitfalls they need to avoid and the questions they should ask of any contractor? Based on my experience, here are the eight areas to focus on if you want your project to be successful:

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

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5 key skills for successful, safe fiber installations

Posted by Rich Contreras


While there are some similarities between copper and fiber last drop deployments there are also some major differences. If you don’t take these into account, or fail to train your teams properly, you could end up with a project that runs over time, over budget or simply cannot be completed.

So what are the key skills you need to ensure your crews have before starting a fiber installation project? From our experience, there are at least five – although I’m sure there are others, so feel free to add more in the comments below.

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

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The importance of field trials to fiber installations

Posted by Rich Contreras


The equipment you choose for your fiber deployment is crucial to whether it succeeds or fails. This is particularly true when it comes to the fiber cable and microduct you use for your fiber to the home (FTTH) installations. What can look perfect in the catalogue and at the planning stage can turn out to be difficult to work with, not up to specification, or to be prone to breakages.

All of this adds to time and labor costs. Multiply the expense by the potentially hundreds of last drop FTTH deployments you are making and it can dramatically impact the profitability and return on investment of your network.
 
Therefore, for major fiber installations it is good practice to only select a cable and/or microduct after having carried out a field trial, where you see how it works under real conditions. Just like test driving a car, this provides your technicians with the chance to try before committing to purchase. This may seem like adding an extra step (and time) to your process, but the fact is that field trials, run properly, will reduce costs in the long term by providing you with the best product fit for your needs.
 
So how should you best organize a trial and what are the benefits you’ll receive?

Topics: Design and Install, Fiber to the home, Costs/ROI

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Delivering in-building fiber - without disruption

Posted by Rich Contreras


Whether through streaming HD content from the internet or accessing "traditional"’ TV programmes online, consumers are widening the ways in which they watch films and TV shows.

Fiber provides the perfect network to transport even the most bandwidth-intensive content into subscribers' living rooms, providing the ability for it to be watched on TVs, tablets, phones or computers.

Consumers understand this, which is why fiber networks are becoming more and more popular around the world.

Real estate companies are increasingly reflecting this demand by ensuring that their apartment buildings and condominiums can support the latest technology through fiber networks.

Installing a state of the art in-building fiber network helps attract and retain tenants and can differentiate against similar properties in the area.

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

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The seven deadly sins of fiber cable installations

Posted by Rich Contreras

When planning, installing or updating a fiber network there are multiple issues that can push up cost and complexity. Many of these only manifest themselves when you actually visit the deployment site, see what existing infrastructure is in place and how you need to work with it. Whether it is completely congested ducts, rat’s nests of existing cables or poorly protected fiber connections, here are the top seven issues that we’ve come across when helping carry out implementations across the world.

1. Poor quality fiber cable protection

Fiber is inherently fragile, and many lower cost/poorer quality cables don’t provide much additional protection. This is particularly true when deployed in outside environments, where factors such as wind, rain and ultraviolet radiation from the sun can all cause protection tubing to fail, exposing cables to the elements. At the same time some cheaper protection tubes cannot be handled easily, as minimal force will cause them to break. In contrast higher quality versions can be clipped directly to walls such is their inherent strength.

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

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Six fiber deployment nightmares – and how they were solved

Posted by Rich Contreras

Every fiber network installation is unique, with its own set of challenges to be overcome. Whether it is a topographical problem that needs to be factored into planning or an issue that comes up while on-site, everyone that has been involved with fiber deployments has their own particular war stories which have been solved with a combination of ingenuity, experience and technology. Here is a selection of our own favorites – in the case of our experiences we’ve changed names to protect everyone involved.

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

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Making rural fiber deployments cost effective

Posted by Rich Contreras

High speed fiber broadband networks enable businesses to be more productive, open up new services to citizens, students and patients as well as letting households do more with their leisure time, wherever they are located.

Rural fiber deployment - the benefits

The positive impact of fiber networks can make a particular difference in living standards in rural areas: 

  • Better connections mean that people and businesses don’t need to migrate to bigger cities to live and work, and local economies are boosted by incomers who move into the area or tourists that visit.
  • Fiber is also important as cellphone coverage in rural areas can be patchy, due to the cost of installing towers and masts across sparsely populated countryside.
  • Students can access college or high school courses over the internet, cutting out disruption caused by snow days.
  • Traditional rural businesses, such as farmers, also benefit. They can access the latest commodities prices and decide when and where to send their crops or livestock to get the best price.
  • Tourism also benefits as visitors increasingly expect to be able to instantly post photos and video of unspoilt national parks on social media from their tablets, smartphones and computers.

Topics: Design and Install, Fiber to the home

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Solving last mile complexity in Fiber to the Premises deployments

Posted by Rich Contreras

Planning the last 1,000 feet of fiber deployments can resemble a logic puzzle. How do you get a connection from the main network to the premises in a cost-effective way, taking the minimal time, while still protecting fiber, and without disrupting the local environment?

Multiply this by the number of premises in a FTTx rollout and you can easily see how costs and time snowball, making it a complex exercise to plan and implement. This is why the last mile is normally the most expensive and time consuming part of any overall fiber rollout. Cables and ducts have to be strong, flexible, lightweight, and simple to implement if costs and time are to be kept down.

Meeting the challenges

The environment is normally the biggest factor when deploying FTTP solutions, with topology, soil type and existing buildings and roads all impacting how easy it is to deploy to business and consumer premises. Overcoming these obstacles is vital to cost-effectively turning plans into reality.

Topics: Fiber to the premises, Design and Install

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