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PPC blog

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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Harnessing military skills for fiber cable roll outs

Posted by Tim Gigg

As Britain and the United States cut back on defence spending, the British Army will reduce the size of its trained-strength force from 101,210 in 2012 to 82,000 regular personnel by 2018. Additionally, the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy are each losing about 5,000 staff. Meanwhile, the US Army is shrinking from 520,000 to 450,000 with the USAAF and US Navy also shedding jobs.

To put this in perspective, when I left the British Army in 1998, we had double that number. Now we don’t have enough soldiers to fill our national football stadium at Wembley – there would still be 8,000 seats free for the opposition.

Topics: Design and Install, Fiber to the home

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Is the plan for Irish fiber broadband about to get stuck in a ditch?

Posted by Paul Ryan

The Irish government has announced an ambitious National Broadband Plan (NBP) to intervene in the provision of broadband services covering 700,000 homes and businesses in rural areas. At best, the locations identified by the Government today have only very basic, if any, broadband services and commercial networks have no plans to provide them with high speed broadband.

Whilst the scheme is not specifically targeting fiber broadband, by implication most observers believe that the tender requirements dictate a fiber solution. The NBP aims to definitively address Ireland’s connectivity challenge by removing existing cost barriers, preventing commercial operators from providing high speed services to end users across the entire country.

Topics: Design and Install, Fiber to the home, Regulatory/Policy

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Picking the best fiber installation partner: why it starts with an RFP

Posted by Tom Carpenter

When creating a fiber network, even the best laid plans can be upset by deployment issues. While some of these, such as unexpected weather or unforeseen environmental problems can’t be legislated against, many factors can be controlled through good planning, and in particular by providing a clear, well-structured Request for Proposal (RFP).

Consequently, in this article I want to outline the four key steps to writing and issuing a successful RFP,  vital in helping you choose the best fiber installation partner for your project. Get it right and both the network planner and the installer have a strong platform to work to, which makes it easier to cope with any unforeseen problems if they occur.

Topics: Fiber to the premises, Design and Install, Costs/ROI, Regulatory/Policy

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Bringing fiber to Africa – reporting from Angola

Posted by Del Jeffery

Across Africa, the deployment of high speed networks is accelerating, with the continent part-way through a connectivity transformation. The landing of submarine cables around the African coast has provided high capacity links to the Internet, but networks are needed to connect inland areas to these hubs. Additionally, a growing percentage of the population relies on mobile phones, not just to make calls but also to bank, shop and access the Internet, leading to a requirement for cost-effective data backhaul.

The market need

Both high speed broadband and backhaul networks for mobile operators increasingly rely on fiber. Previous deployments of copper-based networks had cost advantages, but in many places problems with bad terminations and cable theft have led to outages, meaning that fiber is becoming the solution of choice.

Across Africa fiber is now the preferred carrier of backhaul services with SDH, DWDM and MPLS deployed for protected services and FTTx, FWA, GPON and microwave radio being the preferred methods for last mile deployments.

Topics: Fiber to the premises, Design and Install

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Multicore networks – the solution to future fiber bandwidth needs?

Posted by Dave Stockton

Even in the midst of current fiber network rollouts, research and development is continuing on the next generation of optical technology, looking to meet the future fiber bandwidth needs of both FTTH and core fiber networks. In this blog I’m going to look at multicore networks, an area where current research could have a big potential impact on future network design and implementation.

The space paradox

It may come as something of a surprise, but the majority of the optical fiber within networks is quite literally a waste of space! Even more bizarrely, the most modern fibers are the biggest waste of space of all.

This paradox arises because of the way fibers transmit the signal they are fed. It is the relatively small core (central portion) of the fiber that carries the information in the network. The remainder of the fiber (the cladding) is there to provide protection and to bulk up the fiber sufficiently that our clumsy human hands can manipulate it. In the case of earlier, multimode fibers with a 62.5 micron core (and 125 micron cladding diameter), 25% of the cross section area of the fiber is used for signal transmission. This decreased to just 16% of the cross sectional area for 50 micron core multimode fiber and now, in the current G.675C fibers, less than 0.5% of the glass cross section is actually used to carry the signal.

Topics: Market trends, Fiber innovations

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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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Fiber deployments and the Internet of Things

Posted by Joe Byrne

Previously, we’ve looked at the applications that will drive the need for Fiber to the Home (FTTH) networks. One of the areas mentioned was the Internet of Things (IoT), and in this blog I’d like to look in more detail at what it is and what it will do.

What is the Internet of Things?

In a nutshell the Internet of Things involves providing previously ‘dumb’ devices with connections to the internet. A good definition is from BT - “The Internet of Things refers to technologies that allow networked devices to sense other devices and interact and communicate with them.”

The ‘Things’ are real world objects – essentially anything that can have a sensor embedded within it and is able to communicate wirelessly with the wider world, such as vehicles, machines, buildings, people, animals, goods or the environment around us. One Dutch farmer has fitted his cows with sensors, so he can be alerted to any health issues or when they need milking.

Topics: Fiber to the home, MDU, Market trends

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Choosing the right fiber cable to meet the National Electrical Code

Posted by Dave Stockton

In a previous blog, I looked at Standards Organizations, what they do and how they relate to each other. As a follow up this post looks at how installers can meet the specific US National Electrical Code (NEC) regulations by choosing the right fiber cable, and which standards to follow for individual deployments.

The US NEC covers building wiring requirements and is revised and reissued every 3 years, with NEC 2014 the current edition. It lists cables by their application, in line with the relevant ANSI, UL or CSA tests.

Article 770 and UL 1651 testing

For the fiber industry the key part of the NEC is article 770, which covers the installation of optical fiber cables and raceways in public and private buildings. There are exclusions for certain parts of specific industries such as mining, railways and electrical generation where the code doesn’t apply.

In UL 1651 the code identifies the following types of in-building optical fiber cables:

Topics: Design and Install, Regulatory/Policy

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Fiber to the Home connections poised to double in Europe

Posted by Tom Carpenter

Earlier in February, I attended the 2015 FTTH Europe conference in Warsaw, where there seemed to be greater optimism around the European fiber market than in previous years. This was backed up by the annual IDATE figures released by the FTTH Council Europe, which showed that the number of FTTH (Fiber to the Home) and FTTB (Fiber to the Building) subscribers had increased by 50% between 2013 and 2014.

In total, this means that there are now 14.5 million FTTH/FTTB subscribers in Europe, with a further 14.8 million in Russia and the Ukraine. Strong progress was seen in countries such as France, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal and Romania, while Germany is poised to enter the rankings, as it approaches 1% of homes subscribing to fiber. Lithuania continues to top the charts, with nearly 35% of households benefiting from fiber broadband, followed by Sweden and Latvia.

Topics: Fiber to the home, Data/Statistics, Market trends

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