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PPC blog

Multicore networks – the solution to future fiber bandwidth needs?

Posted by Dave Stockton

Even in the midst of current fiber network rollouts, research and development is continuing on the next generation of optical technology, looking to meet the future fiber bandwidth needs of both FTTH and core fiber networks. In this blog I’m going to look at multicore networks, an area where current research could have a big potential impact on future network design and implementation.

The space paradox

It may come as something of a surprise, but the majority of the optical fiber within networks is quite literally a waste of space! Even more bizarrely, the most modern fibers are the biggest waste of space of all.

This paradox arises because of the way fibers transmit the signal they are fed. It is the relatively small core (central portion) of the fiber that carries the information in the network. The remainder of the fiber (the cladding) is there to provide protection and to bulk up the fiber sufficiently that our clumsy human hands can manipulate it. In the case of earlier, multimode fibers with a 62.5 micron core (and 125 micron cladding diameter), 25% of the cross section area of the fiber is used for signal transmission. This decreased to just 16% of the cross sectional area for 50 micron core multimode fiber and now, in the current G.675C fibers, less than 0.5% of the glass cross section is actually used to carry the signal.

Topics: Market trends, Fiber innovations

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Showing fiber cable solutions in action

Posted by Joe Byrne

In our information-driven world, fiber cable is a critical component of today’s high performance networks. Protecting this fiber is crucial, whether it is the last drop of Fiber to the Home (FTTH) broadband networks, within buildings, inside datacenters, in cars or in specialist applications.

However, when it comes to choosing the right fiber cable solution for your deployment it can be difficult. On the page, each one can look the same so, to help network planners and installers, we’ve created a series of videos. These showcase the complete range of solutions available from PPC; they demonstrate what makes our products different and how they assist in bringing down cost and time, while meeting rigorous quality standards.

Topics: Fiber to the home, Fiber innovations

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Who sets the standards for fiber cable?

Posted by Dave Stockton

In the high-tech telecoms world, the credit for new advances often goes to smart scientists and busy entrepreneurs. However, there is a group of people without whom the whole interconnected machine would fall apart. These are the men and women that generate the standards – the norms – to which a particular item performs and perhaps, even more importantly, defines its interface with other parts of the system.

Most people in the industry have heard about the different standards bodies, but exactly who are these people, what do their organizations do and how do they operate? This blog post aims to shed light on the whole area of standards for fiber cable and provide an introduction to the benefits they provide.

Topics: Regulatory/Policy, Fiber innovations

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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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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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Why not every fiber cable is created equal

Posted by John Dawson

As the prodigious growth of fiber optics continues across the globe, it is moving into more and more sectors with increasingly diverse and demanding requirements. This is unquestionably driving the need for tougher fiber optic cables. But how do you achieve the right balance between strength, flexibility and lifetime costs?

The importance of fiber protection

No-one disputes bare fiber is very fragile – after all, it is made of extremely pure optical glass. There are very few examples of where fiber has been successfully deployed in its raw state for this reason.

Topics: Fiber innovations

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Restoring fibre connections quickly and cost effectively

Posted by Larry Malone

Optical fibre is very fragile – hence the need to protect it with tough jacketing, wherever it is deployed. However successful an installation is, connections can still be cut or disrupted – whether by bad weather, building work or even damage from animals. Storms and hurricanes are a particular problem in many states, causing disruption to vital communications that can impact the local economy as well as making it difficult to get to touch with those affected.

Restoring service quickly is a priority for telcos for three key reasons:

  1. DutyLocal Exchange Carriers (LECs) are seen to have a public duty to provide customers with service, meaning they need to repair damage quickly and efficiently, both for their own customers and those of carriers that they resell to.
  2. Customer service. Slow restoration of service, particularly at times of crisis has an adverse impact on a carrier’s brand. In competitive markets perceived delays can increase customer churn.
  3. Financial. Obviously customers will not pay for services they cannot receive, so the longer an outage continues the more it hits a carrier’s revenues. With increasingly complex packages (including triple and quad play services), the financial impact of not providing services can potentially escalate very quickly.

Topics: Fiber innovations

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Opening up Africa with fiber

Posted by Simon Roberts

Currently one of the fastest growing markets for fibre is in Africa, with huge communications infrastructure rollouts underway across the continent. Organisations such as the FTTH Council Africa are increasingly active in pushing the benefits of fibre networks, while new players such as Google are entering the market. And the impact will be tremendous – consultants McKinsey predicts that the internet will add $300 billion to Africa’s Gross Domestic Product by 2025.

There are two major trends driving fibre in Africa. Firstly, rollouts are building on new subsea cables that link the continent to the rest of the world. High speed networks are being extended from coastal landing sites into landlocked countries, delivering the benefits of fast internet access to an even greater number of people.
Secondly, companies are using the latest fibre technology for these networks. As many countries have limited existing data network infrastructure, deployments can be built totally from fibre, extending to the home or premises, without needing to incorporate legacy copper cables. Essentially this means that African businesses and consumers can benefit from the speed and capacity of FTTH/FTTP as soon as implementation is completed.

Topics: Fiber innovations

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Los Angeles and Fiber – bringing down deployment costs

Posted by Larry Malone


The news that Los Angeles is planning a gigabit fiber network to connect every business and home within the city limits is a further demonstration of the vital importance of high speed broadband in today’s society.

LA has announced that next month it will issue a request for proposals. The city is looking for a vendor to build the entire infrastructure themselves (without public subsidy), and then offer free internet access at between 2-5 Mbps to all, charging a fee for higher connection rates of up to 1 gigabit per second. The same fiber network would also power Wi-Fi hotspots in public areas. It would cover an area of nearly 500 square miles with 3.5 million residents.

Municipalities across the US are increasingly looking at rolling out fiber networks, as they realize the positive impact it has on the local economy, in attracting new citizens and businesses and in enabling the digital delivery of public services. As well as the success of Google Fiber’s deployments in Kansas City many urban areas have invested in either commissioning or building out their own networks. Some, like Santa Monica, have adopted a piecemeal approach, installing new fiber or conduit every time they dig up the streets, while others, such as Chattanooga in Tennessee have gone for a single, city-wide deployment. In the case of Chattanooga, EPB, the community owned electricity utility installed and runs the network, charging customers for broadband access and other services.

Topics: Market trends, Fiber innovations

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