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PPC blog

The best practice guide to installing buried microduct

Posted by Dan Jenkins

When it comes to Fiber to the Home (FTTH) installations, microduct is a common choice to protect optical fiber due to its size. This blog post offers best practice advice on installing buried microduct, to help deliver faster, more effective deployments.

Methods of installation

There are four ways of installing direct buried microduct:

  1. In the ground by machine or hand excavating
  2. In a micro or slot-cut trench
  3. Using a mole plow
  4. Inside an existing large diameter duct

For each of these, you should take a number of key steps ahead of installation. Firstly, always cut the microduct with a manufacturer-supplied tube cutter; secondly, before installation, make sure that the sealing plug is in place at the ends of the microduct to prevent dirt and water entering the duct; and lastly, make sure the draw cord is trapped in place by the sealing plug.

With these steps taken, let's now consider best practices for each of the four installation methods in turn:

Topics: Design and Install, Fiber to the home

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Gigabit networks - what are the future options for copper and fiber?

Posted by Dave Stockton

It is one of life’s ironies that the equipment used to establish ultra-fast communication links, the telecommunications fixed network, has lived up to its name and remained fixed for several decades. The traditional metallic conductor-based ‘tree and branch’ architecture forms the basis of most telcos main networks. It has gradually evolved and provided more capacity, from basic 64 kbit/s telephony through dial-up ‘broadband’ to genuine broadband via wholly copper links (ADSL and ADSL2).

These systems nearly always use copper conductor cables that have remained largely unchanged for over 30 years. VDSL (also known as Fiber to the Cabinet) however started a change that used optical fiber to a deep cabinet (i.e. one near a customer group) to step up capacity, from the approximately 20 Mb/s ADSL limit to a figure nearer 100 Mb/s.

Topics: Fiber to the premises, Fiber to the home, Costs/ROI, Fiber innovations

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Taking a toolbox approach to FTTH deployments

Posted by Simon Roberts

Interest is rapidly growing across the African continent into new fiber to the home (FTTH) ‘last drop’ techniques that turn ‘homes passed’ into ‘homes covered’.

That was the message I took away from the recent FTTH Council Africa Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa. The well-attended event, hosted in the imposing Turbine Hall, was full of presentations and discussions about overcoming implementation challenges and delivering the benefits of fiber to the home networks.

Africa is part way through a transformation when it comes to broadband connectivity. Submarine cables deliver huge capacity to multiple locations around the continent’s coast, but the vast majority of the population is not yet connected. Internet use has grown by a staggering 5320% since 2000 (6 times greater than the rest of the world), but just 21% of the population is online. This is less than half the global average of 43%. Clearly there is work to do, but there is a huge amount being done to bridge this gap.

Topics: Fiber to the premises, Fiber to the home, Costs/ROI, Market trends

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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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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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How pushable fiber solves the last drop challenge in an FTTx rollout

Posted by Dan Jenkins

The number of Fiber to the Premises (FTTP) deployments is increasing rapidly across the globe in response to growing marketplace demand for high speed access. However, operators are finding that the last drop – the connection between the cabinet to the individual home or building – poses the largest challenge.

Each last drop connection presents its own set of issues, like varying landscape, customer inconvenience, or expense. Because they were developed for use in other parts of the telecoms network, traditional methods have numerous disadvantages when it comes to these final connections.

Pushable fiber, on the other hand, has been designed specifically to address the challenges of the last drop and its usage is growing rapidly.

Topics: Fiber to the premises

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Protecting fiber to help answer some of the biggest questions of all

Posted by Tom Carpenter

How did the universe begin? Does it have an end? Answering these questions is the aim of the Subaru Prime Focus Spectrograph (PFS), which will be based at the Subaru telescope in Hawaii. Subaru is the Japanese term for the Pleiades star cluster, and the multi-million pound instrument will come into service in 2018. It will rely on PPC products to protect fiber within the Subaru PFS.

Detecting dark matter

The PFS will enable astronomers to study dark matter - the 80% of the mass in the universe that has never been directly detected, helping better understand the future of the cosmos. It will do this by measuring the motion of about one million stars in the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies and looking at how they are distributed across a huge area of space. Due to the power of the Subaru telescope and the wavelength coverage of PFS it will allow the first true census of early galaxies, peering back in time and helping answer the question of why we are here.

Topics: vertical markets, Fiber innovations

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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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What applications will fill up gigabit Fiber to the Home Connections?

Posted by Joe Byrne

The introduction in the United States of gigabit Fiber to the Home (FTTH) connectivity made me wonder what this extra speed could be used for. After all, many people survive perfectly happily with 30 Mbps (or smaller) connections and I recently downgraded my own home service from 120 Mbps to 60 Mbps without really seeing any difference in performance.

So how would I use the 17x increase in capacity that is available from a 1 gigabit connection? Is it just an expensive white elephant that no-one will actually need? The short answer is that it will be required – connection speeds that are adequate now will quickly become a bottleneck if they cannot cope with future needs.

Consequently I’ve got my crystal ball out and come up with five applications that I think will drive the need for this fiber connection speed – do add your own in the comments section.

Topics: Fiber to the home, Market trends

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Which last drop fiber installation method is best for you?

Posted by Tom Carpenter

In our series of blogs based on PPC’s Complete Guide to Fiber to the Premises (FTTP) Deployment eBook, we’ve outlined the options for operators, when it comes to:

The 5 last drop fiber installation methods

Moving on, operators then have to choose the installation method for the last drop of their FTTP network. Based on our experience, here are the pros and cons of the main techniques, along with some more detailed analysis:

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

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