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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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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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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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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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Fiber networks for communities - 6 things city planners need to know

Posted by Tom Carpenter

Superfast fiber broadband has the potential to transform cities. By providing the ability to connect to the internet at high speed, citizens, businesses and the wider community all benefit through greater choice and faster access to services.

Education and lifelong learning can be extended, while healthcare can be digitized, improving quality of life for patients. Government services can be moved online; increasing efficiency while making it easier for citizens to interact with municipal government.

In an increasingly competitive market, the availability of superfast broadband can play a big part in where residents choose to live and businesses decide to set up.

Municipalities recognize this, and are planning and investing to reap the benefits of building a fiber network in their communities. A great example of this is the City of Loma Linda in California, which has built its own high capacity fiber network to underpin its growth. This has helped improve its large healthcare industry (it has five major hospitals with up to 100,000 patients visiting the city every day for treatment), attract new businesses to the municipality and provide a platform for more efficient local government.

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

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Making rural fiber deployments cost effective

Posted by Rich Contreras

High speed fiber broadband networks enable businesses to be more productive, open up new services to citizens, students and patients as well as letting households do more with their leisure time, wherever they are located.

Rural fiber deployment - the benefits

The positive impact of fiber networks can make a particular difference in living standards in rural areas: 

  • Better connections mean that people and businesses don’t need to migrate to bigger cities to live and work, and local economies are boosted by incomers who move into the area or tourists that visit.
  • Fiber is also important as cellphone coverage in rural areas can be patchy, due to the cost of installing towers and masts across sparsely populated countryside.
  • Students can access college or high school courses over the internet, cutting out disruption caused by snow days.
  • Traditional rural businesses, such as farmers, also benefit. They can access the latest commodities prices and decide when and where to send their crops or livestock to get the best price.
  • Tourism also benefits as visitors increasingly expect to be able to instantly post photos and video of unspoilt national parks on social media from their tablets, smartphones and computers.

Topics: Design and Install, Fiber to the home

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Equipment, labor costs and customer experience in FTTP deployments

Posted by Shaun Trezise

In previous blogs based on our Complete Guide to Fiber to the Premises (FTTP) Deployment eBook, we’ve talked about the planning needed if your FTTP installation is to be a success, as well as the impact of the landscape on choosing between an aerial or buried deployment. In this post, we’ll look at some of the factors impacting cost, and how they relate to the customer experience of FTTP deployments.

The impact of labor costs

As well landscape and terrain, labor expense is another important consideration. Some cable installation processes require specialist equipment and manpower. Take cable blowing, for example. Large cable blowing machines can cost in the region of $16,860 and weigh several hundred kilograms. Gasoline-powered compressors cost at least $8,430 to purchase. It often takes hours to transport these machines, set them up and close down the site. And that’s just for one premise! The entire process has to be repeated every time a customer in that locality requests a fiber connection.

Topics: Fiber to the premises, Design and Install

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How Comcast is achieving fiber protection in inside plant environments

Posted by Dan Patuto

Extending high speed fiber access through inside plant installations within buildings is often difficult, expensive and time consuming.

Often installations have to fit within very small spaces, such as congested ducts, and take up as little real estate as possible so as not to interfere with working areas. The environment is dynamic - floor plans change and new equipment is installed, so deployments need to be flexible and easy to upgrade, and if necessary re-route.

Fiber has to be protected with cables and ducts that are tough enough to withstand wear and tear from a whole range of enemies, such as accidental knocks from rogue technicians/installers, as well as needing to be small and easy to install. Protecting business critical data and communications that travel over fiber cables is a priority, but this requirement can be in conflict with the need to save space.

Topics: Design and Install, Industrial premises

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Solving last mile complexity in Fiber to the Premises deployments

Posted by Rich Contreras

Planning the last 1,000 feet of fiber deployments can resemble a logic puzzle. How do you get a connection from the main network to the premises in a cost-effective way, taking the minimal time, while still protecting fiber, and without disrupting the local environment?

Multiply this by the number of premises in a FTTx rollout and you can easily see how costs and time snowball, making it a complex exercise to plan and implement. This is why the last mile is normally the most expensive and time consuming part of any overall fiber rollout. Cables and ducts have to be strong, flexible, lightweight, and simple to implement if costs and time are to be kept down.

Meeting the challenges

The environment is normally the biggest factor when deploying FTTP solutions, with topology, soil type and existing buildings and roads all impacting how easy it is to deploy to business and consumer premises. Overcoming these obstacles is vital to cost-effectively turning plans into reality.

Topics: Fiber to the premises, Design and Install

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