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PPC blog

Building Residential Fiber Networks Faster at a Lower Cost

Posted by Dave Daly

The broadband FTTH market is in its infancy in North America and very little attention has been paid to the last 150’ drop necessary to bring a low fiber count connection into customers’ homes. Currently a broadband operator’s fast ROI lies in business and multi-dwelling unit (MDU) applications. To date, the ROI model for single family units (SFU) doesn’t measure up.

Topics: Fiber to the home, Pushable Fiber, Costs/ROI

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How to Harden Closed Loop HFC Systems for the LTE Band

Posted by Rick Haube

LTE networks operating in the 700 MHz band are becoming widespread across North America and are growing globally as well. Broadband cable and some satellite systems occupy some of the same frequency bands.There have also been frequency auctions in the 600 MHz band - so the allocation of shared frequencies will soon span from 600 MHz – 800 MHz.  

Ideally, none of this should be an issue since the CATV coaxial plant is a closed loop transmission medium - if well-shielded coax is used and connections are tight. But often they are not.

It has been shown that  LTE operators do not deliver services well when coaxial networks "broadcast" signals in the LTE band and, conversely, coaxial networks don't deliver services well when they have LTE ingress, commonly caused by loose connectors and poor shielding performance of coax and passive devices.

Topics: Design and Install, Fiber to the home

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Minimizing install time with micro trenching

Posted by Martin Gossling

Digging up roads and pavement to install new networks of any sort is never popular. Local residents dislike the disruption and the noise while municipalities have to deal with increased congestion on busy roads, particularly if works overrun.

Installers, therefore, aim to get the job done as quickly as possible to minimize disruption and costs.

However, there's a growing need to install new broadband networks, particularly in congested urban areas, extending them all the way to individual buildings themselves.

Topics: Design and Install, Fiber to the home

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Pushable fiber in the drop network - how to speed up your installation

Posted by Shaun Trezise


Pushable fiber can be installed quickly and cost-effectively as the fiber drop for the final few hundred feet of a network.

The beauty of pushable fiber is that less skilled labor and less expensive equipment are required.

Another option is pulling, which is typically used for longer distances. Unless the microduct already contains a pull-cord, it will first require the cord to be drawn into the duct, or a fish tape to be installed, both adding time to the install. Assuming a pull-cord exists, it will, of course, need to be removed for pushable applications.

Compared to blowing fiber, both of these approaches are more flexible in terms of the number of crew members and the logistics or access to the duct. Blowing fiber also requires expensive equipment, and takes time to set up and dismantle, limiting the number of installations possible in a day. In some cases, blowing equipment may not be permitted on-site for reasons of access, disruption and safety.

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

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FTTx project management segments for successful deployments

Posted by Peter Carapella


There are numerous tasks involved in deploying fiber to the home (FTTH) technology and while some are obvious, others require more thought and consideration. In general, the tasks fall into three categories: preparation; installation and delivery; and measuring/verifying.

The design of an FTTx installation requires you to know the optical power required to reach the end user, to understand the conditions within the terminating premise, and to have details of the speeds and bandwidth required for each user.

1. Preparation

Depending on the factors cited above, you will need to work through several decisions. At a minimum for the drop network planning, gather the following information ahead of time:

  • Signal power and performance requirements for each device or revenue generating unit.
  • Locations of required splices.
  • List of cable lengths required.
  • A detailed map of the ducts with the space available in them.
  • Cost efficient construction routes and obstacle planning.
  • Regulatory approvals.
  • Geographic survey of customer addresses (verified).
  • In-house network installation plan with required approvals.

Once you have all the data above, you can begin to develop the timeline and plan for installation. The most complicated part of the planning process will be determining what is necessary to get the right signal levels at each device. The fiber network design and drop planning can be achieved with software, but will always require experienced network designers to maximize efficiency and check for feasibility.

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

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The last drop - agility for the next twenty years

Posted by Shaun Trezise


The last drop of a subscriber communications network - from the node or tap to the home (also known as the "drop network") - has traditionally been designed apart from the rest of the network. At this point, the signal - and the medium that carries it - has very different conditions and requirements than the other parts of the network; it is where the network leaves the sky or ground and enters into our homes.

This part of the network can be hard to change or to work with because of its existing connections and its very immediate impact on our customers' experiences. Making plans and decisions about the drop network involves different criteria and considerations than the rest of the network.

What is happening in the "drop"? 

The drop network is more and more burdened every year. The wide acceptance of HD content by consumers demands much higher and better quality capacity per user. OTT cloud based services require interactive and high quality capacity. All these raise the bar for the technology for connecting to the homes/rooms of customers. And this is before the widespread adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT) devices, such as sensors, security cameras, and other products that will all use the same broadband connection. In addition, soon full duplex DOCSIS 3.1 could deliver symmetrical speeds of 10 Gbit/s over a coax connection. 

Topics: Fiber to the home, Costs/ROI

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FTTH architecture selections - what should you choose?

Posted by Rick Haube


As the use of FTTx architectures grows in the MSO community, the selection of a specific delivery architecture and technology should be based on the total cost of ownership (TCO). As part of the TCO, the quality of experience and the short term "fit" can confuse the matter some. There seem to be a lot of discussions surrounding RFoG (RF over glass) and DPoE (DOCSIS provisioning over EPON), versus xPON (EPON, Turbo- EPON, GPON, or 10G-EPON). xPON has been reported as perhaps a bit more expensive in the short term but RFoG may also come with a high upgrade cost that could escalate the price, extending the TCO.

What to do?

With an HFC network running smoothly, for the most part, we are constantly faced with an increasing data consumption year over year - and this isn’t stopping soon. The network is in constant need of enhancements and the increasingly stressed bandwidth and performance requires ongoing adjustment. So we upgrade to DOCSIS 3.1, reduce node sizes and use every possible bit of bandwidth we have. It’s working! With deeper fiber and smaller nodes, the evolution of the network is preparing for a leap (not a jump) to FTTH.

Topics: Fiber to the home, Pushable Fiber

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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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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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