<img src="http://www.trace-2000.com/16543.png" style="display:none;">

PPC blog

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

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More

Keep your DVR signals at home - MoCA filters prevent content sharing

Posted by Eric Purdy

Whole home DVR installations can be tricky; MoCA filters are essential to prevent the DVR signals from emanating to neighbors' homes in coax systems. Due to the high output power of these MoCA signals, they can escape from the intended subscriber and enter into other homes that may not want to watch, or may even be offended by the program you are "broadcasting" from your DVR.

This can be a big problem.

MoCA filter placement

Not only is it important to have this filter prohibit signals from leaving your property, but it is equally important to place the filter in close proximity to the home network input. It is suggested that the filter is very close to the point of entry into the home. The port on the multi-tap at the telephone pole is not recommended as a filter installation location; it is not close enough to the home’s point of entry. While the filter prohibits signals from leaving the home, it also electrically reflects signals back into the home, augmenting the in-home signal. So the closer the reflection is to the home, the better.

Topics: DVR installations

Read More

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

Read More

Installing broadband service - getting it right the first time

Posted by Esther Wise


99% isn’t good enough! The cable industry is changing rapidly, with consumers increasingly demanding greater capacity so that they can download and stream video entertainment and adopt new cloud-based services.

In order to deliver the increased capacity per subscriber, it is vital to keep out moisture and maintain the drop plant to insure optimal signal transmission. The plant and connectors must be tight to keep signal levels within the range for the customer premises equipment (CPE), while automated testing catches many issues early in the installation process. It’s the craft errors and the intermittent issues that create havoc.

These pressures are only going to increase. DOCSIS 3.1 requires even more stringent efforts to produce a flawless drop plant and new technology leaps. Ultra HD and MoCA will also raise the performance threshold of service delivery.

So how can we guard against issues such as digital pixilation and slow/no data speed - the two largest reasons those subscribers call the service desk?

Topics: Design and Install, Costs/ROI

Read More

Why the Smart Home needs fiber to the home connectivity

Posted by Tom Carpenter


One of the questions asked about fiber to the home (FTTH) networks is simple – what are the applications that will need the high capacity and speed that they offer? And how can operators increase revenues around FTTH by providing new services that will differentiate them from their competitors?

In previous blogs, we’ve discussed the impact that streaming 4K TV services will have on bandwidth needs. In this post, I want to talk about the rise of Smart Homes and how this will impact the operator.

There’s a lot of talk about the Smart Home (particularly around the Internet of Things) – it was one of the key themes of this year’s FTTH Council Europe conference in Luxembourg, for example. 

So, what is it and why does it matter?

Topics: Fiber to the home, Market trends

Read More

Understanding optical loss in fiber networks - and how to tackle it

Posted by Shaun Trezise

Optical fiber is a fantastic medium for propagating light signals, and it rarely needs amplification in contrast to copper cables. High-quality single mode fiber will often exhibit attenuation (loss of power) as low as 0.1dB per kilometer.

Power or strength of the signal (measured in dB), will always be higher at the head end or central office of the network connection than at the customer end, as it’s impossible not to incur some degradation of light over the length of the network connection. If the impact is too great then performance suffers, so understanding and measuring these losses is a critical part of network installation and testing.

For network planners, the bulk of the loss budget is spent between the final node and the customer’s network terminal. Splitters add significant loss to this part of the network - far greater than fiber connectors and other passive components. When measuring the attenuation effects of these components, we use the terms insertion loss (IL) and return loss (RL).

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

Read More