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PPC blog

Why we need to ditch copper for fiber networks

Posted by Paul Ryan


Today we are almost completely dependent on our connectivity. Thanks to the web, we are surfing, streaming, working more flexibly, and turning our homes, cars or other assets into moneymaking opportunities. And we’ve only just started.

Add in the nascent App Economy, the Internet of Things, and the fact that emerging markets will soon add another billion internet users, and it is obvious that our data usage will continue to grow rapidly. Being connected is key to full membership of modern society, and connectivity is a primary driver of future economic activity at a personal and national level.

So I ask you this: why, oh why, are we still relying on historic investments in copper to support this fast burgeoning data reality?

Copper/coax hybrid networks can no longer be the answer. Future proofing our economies and our citizens’ ability to participate fully in society needs investment in fiber networks and, unfortunately for those making the spending decisions, the future is now.

Topics: Fiber to the home, Market trends, Regulatory/Policy

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The mechanics of aerial fiber cable

Posted by Shaun Trezise

With a plethora of aerial fiber cable products on the market today it can be difficult to differentiate and fully appreciate why one construction is or isn’t more suitable than another.

This blog aims to outline the different options once you’ve decided to go down the aerial route – for a more detailed look at the factors affecting the choice of aerial deployments take a look at this previous post.

Taking a very broad overview of the aerial installation solutions presently available, there are two distinct approaches: either installing fiber into an aerial drop tube or microduct, or deploying a stand-alone self-supporting cable.

Normally the fiber-in-duct approach will require two installation phases, whereas the self-supporting aerial cable route can be deployed in one stage. From this you’d assume that the self-supporting cable solution reduces labour costs.

But this is actually not the case, so let’s delve deeper and further subdivide these two options into two more, assessing each for the total cost outlay, installation time and applicability in different areas of a fiber network.

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

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What is pushable fiber and why do we need it?

Posted by Joe Byrne


When it comes to deploying fiber networks, installers and planners face multiple challenges. This is particularly true when it comes to the last drop section, between the curb and the premises, or inside buildings themselves. The natural landscape and the built environment vary between deployments, which makes every install a standalone civil engineering project that requires planning, skill and experience to deliver.

Time is money, so deployments need to be carried out as quickly as possible – without compromising quality, reliability or upsetting home or business owners.

Traditional methods of installing fiber (blowing or pulling) are not well suited to the demands of the last drop. This has led to the emergence of pushable fiber – a relatively new way of meeting deployment challenges.

This blog looks at what pushable fiber is, its advantages and why it is needed.

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

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Why we all need fiber broadband

Posted by Paul Ekpenyong


Many years ago when I was in Japan on business, I had the pleasure of travelling on the Tōkaidō Shinkansen bullet train between Tokyo and Osaka. It is now the world's busiest high-speed rail line, with up to thirteen trains with sixteen cars each (containing 1,323 seats), running every hour in each direction between Tokyo and Osaka - with a minimum gap of three minutes between trains.

My journey was in the days when we were still talking about the possibility of high speed trains and the Channel Tunnel in the UK. Having ever only travelled on Amtrak and UK InterCity trains, the journey on the bullet train was a complete revelation. It was comfortable, fast, (really fast!) and smooth, as it transported us between the two cities. In fact, it was so effortless (compared to the rattling of the US and UK trains), that you hardly felt you were moving as it sped along. I marveled at the technology that made that possible and wondered why we were so far behind in other countries.

Topics: Fiber to the home, Market trends, Regulatory/Policy

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Delivering in-building fiber - without disruption

Posted by Rich Contreras


Whether through streaming HD content from the internet or accessing "traditional"’ TV programmes online, consumers are widening the ways in which they watch films and TV shows.

Fiber provides the perfect network to transport even the most bandwidth-intensive content into subscribers' living rooms, providing the ability for it to be watched on TVs, tablets, phones or computers.

Consumers understand this, which is why fiber networks are becoming more and more popular around the world.

Real estate companies are increasingly reflecting this demand by ensuring that their apartment buildings and condominiums can support the latest technology through fiber networks.

Installing a state of the art in-building fiber network helps attract and retain tenants and can differentiate against similar properties in the area.

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

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Why GPON needs to change - introducing NGPON2

Posted by Dave Stockton


When deciding the best fiber architecture for their network, planners have to make the choice between point to point (P2P) or a passive optical network (PON).

Both have strengths and weaknesses, as we covered in a previous blog

The majority of network operators have invested in GPON and GEPON architectures.

However, since they’ve been installed, predicted bandwidth needs have increased dramatically, meaning that they now need to change.

Consequently, much work has been done in creating a successor to GPON and GEPON, ensuring that PON architectures are able to underpin future, higher capacity networks.

After a false start along the way, the new NGPON2 standard, created by the FSAN group, looks set to achieve this.

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

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Picking the right fiber connector – PC, UPC or APC

Posted by Shaun Trezise

I wrote a blog post last year on the different types of connectors available, which sparked a great deal of  feedback and discussion, demonstrating how important the whole topic is to both fiber installers and network planners alike.

Thanks again to everyone around the world that contributed, both directly on the PPC's blog and through various social groups.

To recap, I covered SC, LC, FC, ST and MTP/MPO connectors, and looking through the comments I thought it would be beneficial to focus on one area that the original post deliberately didn’t cover - the differences between Angled Physical Contact (APC) and Ultra Physical Contact (UPC) connectors.

Beside one having a green body and the other being colored blue, the different ways they both treat light is crucial in planning a network, as several readers pointed out.

To help us understand all this jargon, let’s look back at why the original Flat Fiber Connector evolved into the Physical Contact (PC) connector and then onto UPC and APC.

Topics: Design and Install, Fiber to the home

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Harnessing military skills for fiber cable roll outs

Posted by Tim Gigg

As Britain and the United States cut back on defence spending, the British Army will reduce the size of its trained-strength force from 101,210 in 2012 to 82,000 regular personnel by 2018. Additionally, the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy are each losing about 5,000 staff. Meanwhile, the US Army is shrinking from 520,000 to 450,000 with the USAAF and US Navy also shedding jobs.

To put this in perspective, when I left the British Army in 1998, we had double that number. Now we don’t have enough soldiers to fill our national football stadium at Wembley – there would still be 8,000 seats free for the opposition.

Topics: Design and Install, Fiber to the home

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Is the plan for Irish fiber broadband about to get stuck in a ditch?

Posted by Paul Ryan

The Irish government has announced an ambitious National Broadband Plan (NBP) to intervene in the provision of broadband services covering 700,000 homes and businesses in rural areas. At best, the locations identified by the Government today have only very basic, if any, broadband services and commercial networks have no plans to provide them with high speed broadband.

Whilst the scheme is not specifically targeting fiber broadband, by implication most observers believe that the tender requirements dictate a fiber solution. The NBP aims to definitively address Ireland’s connectivity challenge by removing existing cost barriers, preventing commercial operators from providing high speed services to end users across the entire country.

Topics: Design and Install, Fiber to the home, Regulatory/Policy

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The seven deadly sins of fiber cable installations

Posted by Rich Contreras

When planning, installing or updating a fiber network there are multiple issues that can push up cost and complexity. Many of these only manifest themselves when you actually visit the deployment site, see what existing infrastructure is in place and how you need to work with it. Whether it is completely congested ducts, rat’s nests of existing cables or poorly protected fiber connections, here are the top seven issues that we’ve come across when helping carry out implementations across the world.

1. Poor quality fiber cable protection

Fiber is inherently fragile, and many lower cost/poorer quality cables don’t provide much additional protection. This is particularly true when deployed in outside environments, where factors such as wind, rain and ultraviolet radiation from the sun can all cause protection tubing to fail, exposing cables to the elements. At the same time some cheaper protection tubes cannot be handled easily, as minimal force will cause them to break. In contrast higher quality versions can be clipped directly to walls such is their inherent strength.

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

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