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PPC blog

How to improve the inspection results of your fiber connectors

Posted by Simon Thompson

Dirt, dust and other contaminants are the enemies of high-speed data transmission over optical fiber, as even the most minor of scratches or defects can present problems further down the line.

Optical fiber connectors are used to join optical fibers wherever a connect/disconnect ability is required.

Connectors are most commonly comprised of a spring-loaded ceramic ferrule, which aligns two mating connectors in a circuit. However, before they can be used in FTTx applications, the connector ferrules first need to be polished to achieve the required angle and end-face geometry.

Applying the right polishing process, or ‘recipe,’ ensures the connector end-faces are free of defects or scratches. While this process is generally managed within a manufacturing facility, there are occasions where assembly and polishing operations need to be undertaken in the field.

In this blog post we explore how connector cleanliness, and the appropriate inspection environment, can impact on your microscope and interferometry readings and suggest the key steps to overcome poor measurement results.

Topics: Fiber to the premises, Fiber to the home

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Protect your broadband network: how to prepare for a natural disaster

Posted by Rebecca Firmani

Natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and ice storms will always be the enemy of cable and internet service providers, but there are things you can do to ease the burden of long-term issues from a storm or earthquake.

We’ve seen the challenges first-hand and have tips to help make your broadband network post-disaster restoration as flawless as possible.

Topics: Fiber to the premises, Broadband

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Do you know how far you can bend your microduct and fiber?

Posted by Dave Daly

There is a limit to the bending ratio or tight diameter in a microduct or fiber cable - after which, the fiber starts to exhibit failure. The failure can be a slight increase in insertion loss or a "kink" in the fiber that creates a catastrophic effect.  

One of the challenges of installing fiber in the last drop of an FTTH network is knowing the overall distance and the amount of 90 degree angles you can have in the path you will be using. Distance and 90 degree turns create additional friction and add to the cumulative friction.

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

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Think You're Ready for the FTTx Drop Installation?

Posted by Dave Daly

Take our quiz to find out.

When it comes to actually implementing an FTTx network, there are many details to pay attention to.

Choices have to be made based on landscape topography – there is a big difference between an FTTx drop installation in rural and urban landscapes. Regulatory issues need to be addressed. Technical factors must also be carefully weighed – techniques like cable blowing and pulling only work in certain situations.

It is also critical that customers are not inconvenienced at any point during an FTTx implementation. No customer wants their property to be at the center of a major civil engineering project..

Then there is the matter of cost.

Lastly, it's important to consider whether the solution needs to be future-proof. Some cable can be ripped and replaced. But there are other options, such as direct unducted cable, which, once installed, cannot easily be removed or replaced.

These are just some of the many decisions that have to be made before beginning an FTTx implementation.

Do you think you are ready? Take the quiz below to find out.

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

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FTTP Drop Installations: Fusion Splicing Versus Pre-terminated Costs

Posted by Shaun Trezise

The relative costs involved in connecting subscribers to fiber networks can be deceptive. The critical element when evaluating fiber connections to make in the drops to the premises or even inside homes in an FTTX installation is not materials, but time.

Fiber splicing technicians have specialized training that makes them expensive when compared to someone simply plugging things in. 80% of costs for an FTTP deployment go to labor.

As it turns out, fusion splicing makes a lot of sense for trunk fibers and locations where there are anywhere from 48 to 192 fibers to splice. In the drop locations, where there may be only one or two splices at each location, the setup time for each location may negate any cost savings from fusion splicing.  

Topics: Fiber to the premises, Costs/ROI

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Choosing the Best Fiber Cable(s) for Fiber-to-the-CPE Installations

Posted by Rick Haube

When it comes to choosing the amount and type of fiber to use in your system, protecting the fiber that carries telecommunications services is of primary importance. Between access fiber to the home (FTTH), and premise fiber to the CPE, there can be uncertainty about when to use which types of fiber cable. Today's most common options include:

  • 900µ fiber
  • 900µ jacketed fiber
  • 250µ fiber within a strong polymer (2-4mm)
  • Fiber cable within microduct

Bringing fiber into a home requires that you carefully consider several factors to choose the correct cable. At all points in the FTTH installation, the fiber must be flexible, tough, and lightweight, and for residences, aesthetically pleasing. Most fiber cables can accommodate one or two of these features but not all four. In addition, you must factor cost into the equation as prices vary - however, the installation and operational cost far outweigh the capital. The bottom line is that each FTTH installation is somewhat unique – whether the site is a multiple dwelling unit or a single residence, there are many variables that will determine which types of fiber are most appropriate in the different parts of the installation. In most cases, one size will not fit all.

Topics: Fiber to the premises, Design and Install

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The challenge of delivering fiber to multiple dwelling units

Posted by Shaun Trezise


Over half of the world’s population lives in units of 100+. In cities this figure can be even higher. This concentration and variety creates a challenge for operators looking to install fiber to the home (FTTH) connections. Essentially, mutliple dwelling units (MDUs) are like snowflakes - no two are the same, meaning that each one has to be handled as a separate, complex civil engineering project.

Adding to this complexity, the vast majority of these buildings were constructed before fiber networks were even thought of, meaning they aren’t designed to accommodate standard fiber connections. 83% of US MDUs were built before 2000, and over half (52%) before 1980. So there is often no obvious way to route fiber to individual apartments.

Building owners and their tenants want the speed of fiber, but are less keen on any disruption or damage it might bring. 30% of consumers that sign up for FTTH service change their minds when an installation technician asks if he can drill holes in the wall and run cables along it.

So how can operators make their deployments cost-effective and keep consumers and building owners happy? There are five key rules to follow:

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

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Meeting the multi dwelling unit fiber challenge

Posted by Simon Roberts


The combination of greater urbanization and pressure on space means that more and more of the global population is now living in multi dwelling units (MDUs), such as apartment blocks. This adds another level of complexity for operators looking to deploy fiber to the home (FTTH)/fiber to the premises (FTTP) networks. Not only do they have to cost-effectively connect the building itself, but they also need to deliver fiber to paying customers within the building, in a timely and efficient manner. MDUs also come in all shapes and sizes, from multi-story apartment blocks with hundreds of tenants, to low rise buildings with much smaller numbers of occupants.

This was the challenge that faced Liquid Telecom when it came to deploying fiber to Kenyan capital Nairobi. Liquid Telecom is building Africa’s largest single fiber network, currently stretching over 18,000km across Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, DRC, Lesotho, and into South Africa. It delivers the highest quality FTTH services, with customers benefiting from speeds in excess of 100Mbps.

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

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PON fiber systems branch again with XGS-PON

Posted by Dave Stockton


In a previous blog I looked at the strong case for NGPON2, a fiber system which offers a minimum of 40 Gb/s aggregate downstream bandwidth, spread across four wavelengths, and a total upstream rate of 10 Gb/s. This successor to the lower capacity GPON system, NGPON2 is a composite Time- and Wavelength-Division Multiplexed Passive Optical Network (TWDM PON) system which uses time division as well as wavelength division multiplexing.

In that way it differed profoundly from the largely stalled NGPON1 system which solely used time division multiplexing. NGPON2 offered an immediate upgrade path to capacity of 80 Gb/s downstream and 20 Gb/s upstream. In comparison NGPON1 was limited to a one-off 4x capacity increase over GPON, but at significant capital cost.

The advantages of composite PON networks

TWDM PON systems offer great flexibility and scalability but the NGPON2 embodiment comes at a price, since it uses tunable lasers at the Optical Line Terminal (OLT) and tunable filters at the customer Optical Network Unit (ONU). This adds to cost and complexity.

Topics: Fiber to the premises, Fiber innovations

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4 questions to ask when installing fiber in multiple dwelling units

Posted by Rich Contreras


As the pace of fiber to the premises (FTTP) deployments increases, operators face a different challenge – successfully installing fiber within multiple dwelling units (MDUs), such as apartment buildings, offices, and hotels.

What makes this task difficult is that MDU is a whole new concept for many operators – particularly when installing fiber in existing buildings, with congested ducts. Most older buildings didn’t plan for future upgrades to technology such as fiber, limiting the space even more in these scenarios.

Every implementation is different, so to help planners and crews, here are four questions you should ask before beginning the process: 

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

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