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PPC blog

The state of broadband Britain – the global picture

Posted by Tom Carpenter

In a previous post we discussed the options consumers and businesses have when it comes to high speed broadband in the UK. In this follow on piece, we’ll take a look at the UK’s position compared to other countries around the world – and future plans in this area.

Countries around the world see the positive impact that high speed broadband can have on their economies – making companies more productive, enabling services such as telemedicine and e-learning and underpinning innovation. So there is a global drive to increase the rollout of high speed networks

Topics: Market trends, Fiber innovations

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Fiber goes into battle

Posted by Dave Stockton

Today’s military strength is built around having the best technology, rather than simply brute force. From aircraft, battlefield vehicles and naval vessels to the kit used by soldiers, advanced equipment is central to the modern armed services.

Sharing and delivering growing amounts of information is at the heart of these high tech machines. Evolving from simple radio communications, systems now have to collect data from sensors and cameras around the vehicle in real time, share it locally, send it back to base and allow remote operation in the case of drones. And all of this in inhospitable terrain, and potentially under enemy fire. Repairing equipment in the field often isn’t an option so it has to be rugged and reliable, and capable of lasting for long periods of service.

Topics: Design and Install

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PPC launches new Plenum PV range of pushable fiber products

Posted by Shaun Trezise

New York, 30 September 2013: PPC, the inventors and producers of the world-leading range of patented Miniflex™ fiber cables, today launched its new Plenum PV range of fiber cables and microducts. The innovative new Miniflex Plenum PV range enables the safe deployment of fiber optic cables within the airway/plenum spaces of buildings, providing a tough, lightweight, flexible and easy to install solution. This brings down the time and cost of fiber deployments by speeding up installations in buildings of all sizes,while meeting the strict safety criteria governing plenum deployments.

Engineered from toughened polymer to meet the tight specifications and exacting demands of the environment, the compact Plenum PV products all meet US National Electrical Code (NEC) specifications, and have received UL product certification after extensive testing on their low smoke and low fire hazard capabilities.

Topics: Fiber innovations

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Mobile and Optical Fiber - the need to work together

Posted by Tom Carpenter

Over half of us now have a smartphone and we’re using mobile devices for more and more data intensive applications. It is predicted that by 2014, more people will access the web through mobile devices than PCs.

Little wonder that Cisco’s Visual Networking Index predicts that global mobile data traffic will increase at a compound annual growth rate of 78% between 2011 and 2016. That means they will generate over 10 exabytes of data every month. 4G technologies such as LTE and WiMAX will increase this even more – with sustained data rates of 100 Mbps (downlink) and 50 Mbps (uplink) already available on some handsets. Compare this to the 3G specification of 144 kbps in a moving vehicle, 384 kbps while walking and 2 Mbps inside and you get an idea of the scale of the approaching tsunami of data.

Coping with this information overload will be a challenge for existing mobile networks as they need to scale up their infrastructure. A 2G base station generates 1.3 Mbps of traffic, but an LTE version requires 80 Mbps capacity – 60 times more. Of course the vast majority of this traffic isn’t wireless at all – once it reaches the nearest cell it uses mobile backhaul, being transferred to fixed line networks to optimise performance and efficiency. This reduces the need to use expensive and scarce spectrum for anything but the smallest distances.

Topics: Fiber innovations

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Broadband cabling – what are the options?

Posted by Guest Blogger

On the Making Light Work blog, we’ve talked a lot about the growth of high speed networking and the move to fibre networks around the world and in different industries. But what’s the situation in the UK and what are the choices? We’re going to cover this in a two part series, looking at the existing options and then comparing the UK against other countries around the world.

So, to begin, in this guest blog Matt Powell, editor for UK consumer comparison site BroadbandGenie.co.uk, explains what’s currently available for consumers.

If you were online during the early days of the world wide web your connection was probably provided by a sluggish dial-up modem with a per-minute charge that could quickly rack up a hefty telephone bill.

Topics: Fiber innovations

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The aggregation of marginal gains

Posted by Paul Ekpenyong

Given the overwhelming success of British Cycling, both at the Olympics and the Tour de France, businesses have naturally been looking at how such dominance is achieved. Much of the success comes down to the ‘aggregation of marginal gains’ philosophy that team principal, Sir Dave Brailsford, has instilled across both Team Sky and the Olympic programme.

Put simply, it means that rather than looking to gain one big advantage in a single area, the team looks at every process and procedure and how each one can be improved, even if by a small amount. And marginal gains stack up – in a sport like track cycling finding 5 seconds in a short race might be difficult. But finding a gain of half a second is much more likely – discover ten of these and you have your 5 seconds.

Topics: Market trends

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Withstanding the force of a baby elephant!

Posted by Dave Stockton

As part of our ongoing product development we’ve been conducting advanced crush resistance and impact force testing of our Miniflex protective technology. This has been replicated by independent labs who have verified our results and builds on our latest UL product certification for low smoke and low fire standards. We’ve found two vital advantages of Miniflex when it comes to protecting fibre cables.

Firstly, crush resistance. In combination our Miniflex cable and duct can withstand a force of 4000 Newtons over 100 mm without any damage to the fibre itself. Putting this in context that’s the equivalent of a baby elephant weighing 385kg (850 lb)standing on one foot on the Miniflex protective tube – and the fragile cable continuing to operate normally. In more everyday surroundings it shows that Miniflex can be stood on, hit with hammers during installation and survive being bumped by vacuum cleaners, ensuring reliability and guaranteeing a long and trouble free life

Topics: Fiber innovations

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Linking industry to information through optical fiber

Posted by Larry Malone

When many people think of factories, they think of low technology, manual processes and hundreds of staff working on production lines. Nowadays nothing could be further from the truth – with the growth in automation and the use of smart machines factories are now full of the latest technology, with human involvement kept to a minimum.

First generation factory automation saw individual machines programmed and controlled locally, but as technology has matured machines are increasingly linked together to create a seamless process. A new part can be designed and its dimensions automatically delivered to the machine that will create it, without the need for human involvement. Monitoring can be carried out through remote sensors with the results automatically flagged to supervisors.

Topics: Fiber innovations

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Innovation in optical fiber

Posted by Dave Stockton


In the telecoms market innovation is constant as new standards and technologies are developed and rolled out around the world. The pace of change in the world of fibre optic cables is equally fast – making it a very exciting and rewarding sector to operate in.

At PPC we’ve been granted over 80 patents to date around the world for our pushable protective fibre cable technology – with a dozen more pending. On average we’re making three new applications every year, covering both our products and the equipment and processes we use to manufacture them.

By controlling the development and production of our Miniflex cables, ducts and protection products we ensure that they match the needs of installers and operators around the world, deskilling implementations and saving money and time when deploying FTTx networks.

Topics: Fiber innovations

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Protecting the data within data centres

Posted by Martin Gossling


The move to the Cloud and explosion in Big Data is driving unprecedented growth in the data centre market. Analyst company TechNavio forecasts a 10.7% global compound annual growth rate in the years up to 2016. And data centres themselves are becoming larger and more central to business operations. Over the same timeframe IDC predicts that US data centre total square footage will rise from 611.4 million to 700 million, even though the number of facilities would drop by half a million. IDC analyst Richard Villars believes that “The datacenter is evolving from a term to describe a room or building where I put my IT equipment to a term to describe the facility on which I’ll build and run my business.”

Data centres are complex environments, with particular needs. Continued availability is crucial, meaning they have to meet stringent Service Level Agreements (SLAs) but at the same time it must be simple to move, add or replace equipment without disrupting operations as requirements change.

Topics: Design and Install

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