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PPC blog

How Terminating Unused Ports Improves Broadband Network Performance

Posted by Dave Daly

network_performanceTerminators are simple devices that electrically terminate RF coaxial ports, both inside and outside of the home. The unused tap ports or wall plates in the home can actually create a path for ingress and egress, which affects the network performance.

Low cost terminators have a tendency to fail, due to broken center conductors, moisture / corrosion, or both. Just one of these small devices can actually affect the entire upstream data path for many subscribers within that given area and can create costly service calls and lower the quality of experience.

Case studies have shown that terminating all unused tap ports in an average size node can result in a signal to noise improvement of more than 5db in the return path. Inside the home, electrically terminating unused ports on wall plates or actives and passives blocks ingress in the return path as well. Poor electrical terminations caused by moisture migration create havoc on system performance.

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Protecting your broadband network

With the increased services on broadband coaxial networks, due to MoCA and DOCSIS requirements, it is more important than ever to make sure your network is clean and secure. With locking terminators becoming less popular, due to 100% encrypted content, "non-locking" 75 Ohm terminators are now becoming more commonly used in their place. 

There are several reasons for this and some important factors you should consider when installing port terminators.

An "antenna effect" can occur, where an improperly grounded terminator picks up signal from everywhere - the exact opposite of what it is intended to do. It is important to select the type and performance of the terminator carefully, and then to make sure they are properly installed.

The features necessary to a good and proper port terminator are:

  • A strong internal lead wire
  • Weather protection (outdoors)
  • Good grounding contact

So, as our networks progress to 1 GHz / 1Gbps and beyond, the performance requirements become more stringent. Using terminators is a small cost to delivering a high quality of service and reducing service calls.

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

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