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PPC blog

How to guard against damage to your fiber network

Posted by Shaun Trezise

Protecting your fiber network is vital to ensure you continue to deliver services to your customers, retain their business, and get a good return on your investment. However, there are a number of ways that your network can be damaged or even destroyed - how can you minimize risk and guard against failures?

The enemies of your fiber network fall into five main groups:

1. Animals!

Members of the animal kingdom seem to have a fascination with cable, and a single-minded desire to destroy it. Rodents, birds, monkeys and insects have all caused major issues with connections - even bears have been known to try and chew cables in remoter regions. There are plenty more examples of animal attacks in this previous blog, making them public enemy number one for many operators.

Topics: Design and Install, Fiber to the home, Data/Statistics

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6 ways to reduce FTTH implementation costs

Posted by Tom Carpenter

As operators increasingly focus on deploying fiber to the home (FTTH) across their networks, they are looking at how they can minimize deployment costs, and therefore increase their return on investment. From our experience of working with FTTH installations across the globe, we see six ways of reducing FTTH implementation costs, while ensuring high quality, reliable connections. 

1. Eliminating blowing

Traditional fiber backbone networks can stretch for miles and, therefore, require expensive blowing equipment to propel the cable through duct. This type of equipment simply isn’t needed on FTTH last drops. Instead, crews can quickly complete last drop connections by pushing or pulling cables, even around tight corners. For more complex or longer installs, pushing can be aided by simple, cost-effective handheld blowing machines, or pulled through the duct using a pre-attached pull cord. Pushing or pulling reduces equipment costs and install time.

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

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Keep your DVR signals at home - MoCA filters prevent content sharing

Posted by Eric Purdy

Whole home DVR installations can be tricky; MoCA filters are essential to prevent the DVR signals from emanating to neighbors' homes in coax systems. Due to the high output power of these MoCA signals, they can escape from the intended subscriber and enter into other homes that may not want to watch, or may even be offended by the program you are "broadcasting" from your DVR.

This can be a big problem.

MoCA filter placement

Not only is it important to have this filter prohibit signals from leaving your property, but it is equally important to place the filter in close proximity to the home network input. It is suggested that the filter is very close to the point of entry into the home. The port on the multi-tap at the telephone pole is not recommended as a filter installation location; it is not close enough to the home’s point of entry. While the filter prohibits signals from leaving the home, it also electrically reflects signals back into the home, augmenting the in-home signal. So the closer the reflection is to the home, the better.

Topics: DVR installations

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The economic impact of fiber to the home

Posted by Paul Ekpenyong


In our digitally connected world, consumers increasingly require high speed broadband in their homes, whether for leisure, work, education or keeping in contact with friends and family. This means that when they are looking to move, particularly in the countryside, the presence and speed of internet connectivity is one of the factors that they take into account when buying a house.

No wonder that US research for the FTTH Council Americas found that having a fiber broadband connection increased property prices by 3.1% - the equivalent of adding a new fireplace or half of a new bathroom. Those properties with 1 Gbps connections sold for an average of 7% more than those with broadband of 25 Mbps or lower.

In the UK, property websites all now include broadband speeds, and newspaper property supplements highlight rural areas where fiber is being installed as potential hotspots that will see an increase in value. While much of this is fiber to the cabinet (FTTC) connectivity, there are a growing number of independent companies offering full fiber to the home (FTTH) services, ranging from local co-operatives and community groups to new operators.

Rolling out FTTH across the country, not just within major cities is delivering benefits in four main areas:

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

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Installing broadband service - getting it right the first time

Posted by Esther Wise


99% isn’t good enough! The cable industry is changing rapidly, with consumers increasingly demanding greater capacity so that they can download and stream video entertainment and adopt new cloud-based services.

In order to deliver the increased capacity per subscriber, it is vital to keep out moisture and maintain the drop plant to insure optimal signal transmission. The plant and connectors must be tight to keep signal levels within the range for the customer premises equipment (CPE), while automated testing catches many issues early in the installation process. It’s the craft errors and the intermittent issues that create havoc.

These pressures are only going to increase. DOCSIS 3.1 requires even more stringent efforts to produce a flawless drop plant and new technology leaps. Ultra HD and MoCA will also raise the performance threshold of service delivery.

So how can we guard against issues such as digital pixilation and slow/no data speed - the two largest reasons those subscribers call the service desk?

Topics: Design and Install, Costs/ROI

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Why the Smart Home needs fiber to the home connectivity

Posted by Tom Carpenter


One of the questions asked about fiber to the home (FTTH) networks is simple – what are the applications that will need the high capacity and speed that they offer? And how can operators increase revenues around FTTH by providing new services that will differentiate them from their competitors?

In previous blogs, we’ve discussed the impact that streaming 4K TV services will have on bandwidth needs. In this post, I want to talk about the rise of Smart Homes and how this will impact the operator.

There’s a lot of talk about the Smart Home (particularly around the Internet of Things) – it was one of the key themes of this year’s FTTH Council Europe conference in Luxembourg, for example. 

So, what is it and why does it matter?

Topics: Fiber to the home, Market trends

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Understanding optical loss in fiber networks - and how to tackle it

Posted by Shaun Trezise

Optical fiber is a fantastic medium for propagating light signals, and it rarely needs amplification in contrast to copper cables. High-quality single mode fiber will often exhibit attenuation (loss of power) as low as 0.1dB per kilometer.

Power or strength of the signal (measured in dB), will always be higher at the head end or central office of the network connection than at the customer end, as it’s impossible not to incur some degradation of light over the length of the network connection. If the impact is too great then performance suffers, so understanding and measuring these losses is a critical part of network installation and testing.

For network planners, the bulk of the loss budget is spent between the final node and the customer’s network terminal. Splitters add significant loss to this part of the network - far greater than fiber connectors and other passive components. When measuring the attenuation effects of these components, we use the terms insertion loss (IL) and return loss (RL).

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

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The challenges of deploying fiber alongside coax

Posted by Peter Carapella


In a more and more competitive market, cable operators are increasingly looking to deploy fiber alongside coax services to their subscribers. This delivers the best of both worlds – coax provides a known, well-understood connection that is proven to handle standard TV and voice calls, while fiber delivers the superfast broadband performance that consumers are now demanding for high-speed internet access and media streaming.

There is now much greater competition between cable, fixed-line and cellular operators, leading to consolidation and a need for companies to differentiate themselves. The need to supply increasing capacity per subscriber is accomplished by deploying advanced technologies and fiber deeper into the network. Therefore, adding fiber to the premises (FTTP) to their existing coax offering allows cable operators to deliver new, additional products and services, retain existing customers and win new ones.

However, it also brings new challenges, particularly around the installation and cost-effective maintenance of two different technologies. There are four key issues that operators and installers need to overcome when deploying fiber alongside coax:

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

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Meeting the multi dwelling unit fiber challenge

Posted by Simon Roberts


The combination of greater urbanization and pressure on space means that more and more of the global population is now living in multi dwelling units (MDUs), such as apartment blocks. This adds another level of complexity for operators looking to deploy fiber to the home (FTTH)/fiber to the premises (FTTP) networks. Not only do they have to cost-effectively connect the building itself, but they also need to deliver fiber to paying customers within the building, in a timely and efficient manner. MDUs also come in all shapes and sizes, from multi-story apartment blocks with hundreds of tenants, to low rise buildings with much smaller numbers of occupants.

This was the challenge that faced Liquid Telecom when it came to deploying fiber to Kenyan capital Nairobi. Liquid Telecom is building Africa’s largest single fiber network, currently stretching over 18,000km across Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, DRC, Lesotho, and into South Africa. It delivers the highest quality FTTH services, with customers benefiting from speeds in excess of 100Mbps.

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

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Nielsen’s Law and what it means for fiber networks

Posted by Tom Carpenter


Most people have heard of Moore’s Law, which broadly states that the number of transistors on a silicon chip will double every two years, with a corresponding increase in computing performance. This has proved true over the 50 plus years' life of the Law, contributing to huge improvements in technology, regarding speed, size, and cost.

A lesser known theory is Nielsen’s Law, which applies similar thinking to network speeds. First quantified by Jakob Nielsen in 1998, it states that the bandwidth available to high-end broadband connections will grow by 50 per cent every year, leading to a 57x compound growth in capacity in a decade. The fact that it still holds true over 15 years later shows the strength of the model.

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

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