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PPC blog

House amplifiers need power - what's the best way to do it?

Posted by David Barany

No two homes are built the same, which means a TV and Internet service provider technician never quite knows what they’re getting into until they arrive at an installation.

Experienced technicians will of course be prepared for all types of issues, the first of which will be to identify where to plug in the power source for an amplifier.

In this blog post we explore the three most common types of installations for powering a house amplifier and we offer our own recommendation for the best solution to cover any situation.

Installation Option 1: Electrical outlet near the amplifier (dedicated port)

The most convenient scenario for installing an amplifier is to have an electrical outlet within a few feet of the amplifier installation location. In this situation, a technician will then simply be able to plug a standard power supply into the outlet and connect the power supply to the dedicated power port of the amplifier using a short coax cable jumper. This is a great solution when an electrical outlet is close by, however technicians often come across more challenging scenarios when they're out in the field.

Topics: Design and Install, Broadband

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Avoid broadband network installation failures with proper training

Posted by Krista Tysco

TV and Internet service providers are always looking for ways to help improve the customer experience of their broadband network, while keeping costs as low as possible.

Proper on-site training for technicians and maintenance teams is key to achieving both of these goals and correcting any bad habits before they turn into problems.

This is easy to say, but is it easy to do? Here are some practical thoughts on using training to your advantage.

Reduce costs with thorough network installation training

It might seem obvious that all new employees need some training, but it should go far beyond basic training and customer service tips. Technicians and maintenance teams need to learn how to properly install all products they are working with, and how to troubleshoot quickly and efficiently, reducing the amount of time and resources spent in the field.

Topics: Design and Install, Broadband, Coax

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Why every home should have a MoCA filter

Posted by Krista Tysco

Cable and Internet providers around the world have been challenged by today’s technology demanding faster Internet service and video streaming on their own time.

More cable providers are looking to MoCA (Multimedia over Coax Alliance) in their installations to help with this, but they may not realize they’re missing a key element – MoCA filters installed at every subscriber.

MoCA uses a household’s existing coax cable to transfer data quickly and efficiently throughout the home. A MoCA connection utilizes the unused frequency spectrum offered by coaxial service providers to extend the existing wireless connection to the entire home and cause less demand on the network.

Sounds great! So what’s the catch?

Topics: Design and Install, Broadband, Coax

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Category Cables - are they all the same?

Posted by Brian Hanson

Category cable is one of the most widely used cables for domestic and commercial broadband networking. Whether you are installing access points, network interfaces, or security systems, category cable is going to be part of what you will need.

We know what you are thinking – category cable is all the same, right? Not exactly.

There are actually several factors to consider when choosing the right cable. Here we will discuss 5 details to look for when buying category cable.

Topics: Design and Install, Broadband

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The consequences of coaxial connector problems

Posted by Dave Daly

In the modern world, we need our broadband to work fast and reliably - download speeds and picture and voice quality are what we as consumers care about most. This creates an explosion of demand for network capacity in broadband, satellite, telco and security networks.

Today’s coaxial connectors have to be high-performance and provide nearly flawless signal transmission to accommodate the very large amounts of traffic going back and forth from provider to end user.

Increased demand and better performance requirements means that service providers need to use the latest techniques to bring new and enhanced products to market. This means that connections throughout the network and the home must perform perfectly and must contribute as little as possible to the cost of maintaining a communications network.

Topics: Design and Install, Broadband, Coax

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Bonding and Grounding for CATV – What's the Difference?

Posted by Dave Daly

Bonding is the electro-mechanical joining of two or more conductors, to form a conductive path that ensures electrical continuity. Grounding is connecting a circuit to the earth or to another conductor that is itself connected to earth. 

Broadband cable systems are usually connected to ground to limit the voltage potential between the cable sheath in the house and the other grounded items in the house, including water pipes, appliances and anything else connected to the utility.

A cable not properly grounded can have a high electric potential when compared to the utility ground in a house. Grounding the cable system to the same ground used by the utility minimizes voltage that could exist between them. 

Topics: Design and Install, Broadband

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Installing In-Building Fiber Broadband: First Stage and Connectors

Posted by Dave Daly

These days, operators are faced with an increasing requirement to deploy in-building fiber broadband networks. The rising demand from consumers for superfast broadband services, coupled with the growing urbanization of the marketplace, means that many operators need to focus on installation efficiencies and effectiveness.

Bringing fiber into the building

The first installation step is to get fiber cable into a multi-dwelling premise. It has to be routed from the point of presence (the outside distribution box in the example diagram below) into the building through the wall and plugged into a further distribution box or distribution frame in the basement or a comms room.

Topics: Design and Install, MDU, Broadband

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Overcoming Hidden Costs in the Broadband Network's Last 200 Feet

Posted by Rick Haube

Many people involved in broadband network deployments appreciate that there could be "hidden" costs down the line because less expensive products have been chosen upfront, for use in the critical transmission path close to the subscribers. The real issue is how to balance slightly higher capital costs for quality components and training, against true savings in operational costs. 

Substandard components are apt to need replacement sooner than those of higher quality - not to mention the costs resulting from the poorer performance profiles of low-quality products.

But what of the hidden costs associated with a poorly or improperly trained workforce? These costs appear in the form of more service calls and repeat service calls.

Topics: Design and Install, Costs/ROI, Broadband

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How to understand price and value in broadband networks

Posted by Rick Haube

In managing the infrastructure of broadband networks, an often underacknowledged element is the coaxial cabling and connectors required to deliver the very services your customers pay for.

Research shows that possibly the most significant issue for service providers is service calls in "the last mile" (or "the last drop") - the connection from the end of the distribution network up to and including the customer premise equipment.

The research indicates that the leading cause of service calls, as much as 40 percent, is due not only to improper installation of coaxial cable and connectors, or simply loose connectors, but also that the connectors being employed are of sub-standard quality within the environment, affecting electrical and mechanical performance. This has historically been such a chronic issue that some operators have come to accept it as a cost of doing business.

Topics: Costs/ROI, Broadband

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Broadband Subscribers' Self-Installations: Getting it Right First Time

Posted by Dave Daly

A growing number of broadband subscribers are being given the option of installing or reinstalling customer-premises equipment (CPEs) themselves, with the help of self-install kits (SIKs). For the subscriber, this can lead to flexibility, autonomy, and independence when setting up their information and entertainment environments. Sometimes, however, it can lead to problems - and expensive service calls. 

Compared to the first generation of SIKs some twenty years ago, today's options are much improved and standardized. The original SIKs often contained a bewildering array of cables, connectors, and passives, including composite video cables, component video cables, HDMI cable, coax cable, audio, category cable, RF splitters and others. 

The matrix of possibilities was endless and confusing but with the standardization of connection devices for CPEs, the list is now more specific and sophisticated, including usually only coax cable, HDMI and category cable, depending on the services purchased. 

So, how do you make sure self-installations are done properly?

Topics: Design and Install, Broadband

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