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PPC blog

Shaun Trezise

Recent Posts

Best practice for installing fiber through micro trenching

Posted by Shaun Trezise

When deploying a fiber network, traditional trenching methods can be expensive and time-consuming - and cause extensive disruption to the local area.

In a city, for example, streets have to be closed while they are dug up - annoying residents, drivers and local authorities. Costs for labour, permits and restoration fees are high, adding to budgets and even making some projects uneconomic.

Consequently, many installers are now switching to micro trenching (also known as slot-cut trenching). This offers substantial benefits over traditional methods as it involves using a diamond circular saw to cut a 0.75 - 1.5 inch wide, 4 inch deep trench. Microduct is installed in the bottom of the trench and it is then backfilled and sealed, speeding up the project.

By comparison, traditional trenches are at least 12 inches wide, in order to fit the size of the smallest excavator buckets, and deployments take more passes to backfill. These factors combined mean that micro trenching is typically 60 per cent cheaper than traditional excavations, as well as being much less disruptive to the urban environment.

Topics: Design and Install, Industrial premises, Fiber innovations

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Installing aerial fiber – what are the options?

Posted by Shaun Trezise


In previous blogs we’ve covered the factors involved in choosing between an aerial or buried fiber deployment, as well as the different types of installation methods. This post looks at the deployment itself – what are the options and what is best practice for a successful install?

Essentially, deployment can be either through the stationary or moving reel placing method – but before deciding on which is best for the particular project, follow this checklist:

  • Carry out a full route survey, and make sure that representatives of each organisation potentially affected by the installation are present.
  • Ensure that the right-of-way is free of obstacles, like guy wires and trees.
  • Gain permission from any property owners and relevant authorities if you need to set up any equipment on private land.
  • Make sure you have a properly trained and certified crew. They’ll need to be competent when working at heights, and have the right permits if working near power cables. Also, aim to employ experienced linemen that understand the aerial environment and its particular challenges.
  • Make sure all of the necessary environmental checks and provisions are addressed, including accounting for wind and ice loads, galloping and vibration. 

Topics: Design and Install, Costs/ROI, Industrial premises

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Mixing fiber and power lines in aerial fiber deployments

Posted by Shaun Trezise


The last mile of Fiber to the Home (FTTH) and Fiber to the Cabinet (FTTC) aerial fiber deployments often run through crowded environments, where space is at a premium. Street lights, existing telephone poles, power lines, street signs, buildings and trees all jostle for position, especially in urban areas.

Plotting a route through these obstacles can be difficult and time-consuming, adding to cost and disruption. Installing new infrastructure (such as aerial poles) can be prohibitively expensive - or it can be difficult to get the relevant permissions from local authorities to erect them if that means closing roads. 

The key properties of ADSS cables

One way round this is to install aerial fiber cables close to power lines, such as on mixed use poles which also carry electricity. Obviously, these fiber cables need to be resistant to electricity, which can be difficult as many aerial cables contain high tensile steel (HTS) for tensile strength, or aluminum barriers to protect the optical fiber from crushing forces.

And, of course, they still have to meet all same criteria as other aerial cables, with the ability to cope with extreme weather conditions such as wind, ice and snow - as well as withstanding damage from birds and other animals over very long service lifetimes.

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

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The mechanics of aerial fiber cable

Posted by Shaun Trezise

With a plethora of aerial fiber cable products on the market today it can be difficult to differentiate and fully appreciate why one construction is or isn’t more suitable than another.

This blog aims to outline the different options once you’ve decided to go down the aerial route – for a more detailed look at the factors affecting the choice of aerial deployments take a look at this previous post.

Taking a very broad overview of the aerial installation solutions presently available, there are two distinct approaches: either installing fiber into an aerial drop tube or microduct, or deploying a stand-alone self-supporting cable.

Normally the fiber-in-duct approach will require two installation phases, whereas the self-supporting aerial cable route can be deployed in one stage. From this you’d assume that the self-supporting cable solution reduces labour costs.

But this is actually not the case, so let’s delve deeper and further subdivide these two options into two more, assessing each for the total cost outlay, installation time and applicability in different areas of a fiber network.

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

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Picking the right fiber connector – PC, UPC or APC

Posted by Shaun Trezise

I wrote a blog post last year on the different types of connectors available, which sparked a great deal of  feedback and discussion, demonstrating how important the whole topic is to both fiber installers and network planners alike.

Thanks again to everyone around the world that contributed, both directly on the PPC's blog and through various social groups.

To recap, I covered SC, LC, FC, ST and MTP/MPO connectors, and looking through the comments I thought it would be beneficial to focus on one area that the original post deliberately didn’t cover - the differences between Angled Physical Contact (APC) and Ultra Physical Contact (UPC) connectors.

Beside one having a green body and the other being colored blue, the different ways they both treat light is crucial in planning a network, as several readers pointed out.

To help us understand all this jargon, let’s look back at why the original Flat Fiber Connector evolved into the Physical Contact (PC) connector and then onto UPC and APC.

Topics: Design and Install, Fiber to the home

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All I want for Christmas is superfast broadband

Posted by Shaun Trezise


If you live in a 
rural location, superfast broadband roll-outs can take a long time to reach you - but if you're still waiting to be connected to fiber, spare a thought for Father Christmas. You can’t get much more isolated than the North Pole - the nearest cabinet is hundreds of miles away, and sub-zero conditions make installation a logistical nightmare.

Santa’s email explosion

Like a lot of rural dwellers, Santa Claus needs fiber broadband. Analysts estimate that the number of emails sent to Mr Claus' workshop at the North Pole now exceeds the number of traditional letters he receives. Following the internet traffic boom in the early 00s, combined with ever increasing postal charges, boys and girls both naughty and nice now prefer to email Santa than to put pen to paper.

Topics: Fiber to the home

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Key factors to consider with aerial fiber deployments

Posted by Shaun Trezise


Over 80% of FTTH rollouts rely on aerial fiber deployments in some form. So, why should you choose aerial over buried implementations and what do you need to factor into your planning if the project is going to be a success? This blog provides an introduction to the topic, along with the questions you need to ask.

When it comes to new networks, planners are looking to balance speed of deployment and the cost and skills required with subscription take-up rates. Networks need to be reliable, but also have to be easy to update as demand changes and new technologies become available. This is obviously equally true of both aerial and buried deployments.

Topics: Fiber to the premises, Design and Install

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Fiber Connectors - what's the difference?

Posted by Shaun Trezise

Given the variety of splice options available to fiber network planners today identifying the best connector for FTTH can be overwhelming. Consequently often not much thought is given to connector selection with choice driven by cost, availability or what’s been used before. However each connector has its own unique design and therefore, pros and cons. Over time or depending on project size this can have a dramatic impact on deployment speeds and costs.

So what are the differences and what do they mean to your implementation? This table of common connectors gives an overview of strengths and weaknesses, with more detail in the accompanying descriptions:

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

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Equipment, labor costs and customer experience in FTTP deployments

Posted by Shaun Trezise

In previous blogs based on our Complete Guide to Fiber to the Premises (FTTP) Deployment eBook, we’ve talked about the planning needed if your FTTP installation is to be a success, as well as the impact of the landscape on choosing between an aerial or buried deployment. In this post, we’ll look at some of the factors impacting cost, and how they relate to the customer experience of FTTP deployments.

The impact of labor costs

As well landscape and terrain, labor expense is another important consideration. Some cable installation processes require specialist equipment and manpower. Take cable blowing, for example. Large cable blowing machines can cost in the region of $16,860 and weigh several hundred kilograms. Gasoline-powered compressors cost at least $8,430 to purchase. It often takes hours to transport these machines, set them up and close down the site. And that’s just for one premise! The entire process has to be repeated every time a customer in that locality requests a fiber connection.

Topics: Fiber to the premises, Design and Install

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Fiber to the campus - overcoming fiber optic installation challenges

Posted by Shaun Trezise

Modern higher education is increasingly underpinned by technology. Whatever the subject, teaching, research and administration all rely on the fast transmission of data to students, professors and staff.

And with intense competition for the best students and researchers, a slow network can mean the brightest minds go elsewhere.

High speed fiber networks are therefore crucial parts of the infrastructure of university and college campuses across the world.

The challenges of campus networking

Rolling out a fiber network across a university campus is complex and potentially costly for four key reasons:

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

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