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PPC blog

Fiber Connectors - what's the difference?

Posted by Shaun Trezise

Given the variety of splice options available to fiber network planners today identifying the best connector for FTTH can be overwhelming. Consequently often not much thought is given to connector selection with choice driven by cost, availability or what’s been used before. However each connector has its own unique design and therefore, pros and cons. Over time or depending on project size this can have a dramatic impact on deployment speeds and costs.

So what are the differences and what do they mean to your implementation? This table of common connectors gives an overview of strengths and weaknesses, with more detail in the accompanying descriptions:

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

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Why not every fiber cable is created equal

Posted by John Dawson

As the prodigious growth of fiber optics continues across the globe, it is moving into more and more sectors with increasingly diverse and demanding requirements. This is unquestionably driving the need for tougher fiber optic cables. But how do you achieve the right balance between strength, flexibility and lifetime costs?

The importance of fiber protection

No-one disputes bare fiber is very fragile – after all, it is made of extremely pure optical glass. There are very few examples of where fiber has been successfully deployed in its raw state for this reason.

Topics: Fiber innovations

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Restoring fibre connections quickly and cost effectively

Posted by Larry Malone

Optical fibre is very fragile – hence the need to protect it with tough jacketing, wherever it is deployed. However successful an installation is, connections can still be cut or disrupted – whether by bad weather, building work or even damage from animals. Storms and hurricanes are a particular problem in many states, causing disruption to vital communications that can impact the local economy as well as making it difficult to get to touch with those affected.

Restoring service quickly is a priority for telcos for three key reasons:

  1. DutyLocal Exchange Carriers (LECs) are seen to have a public duty to provide customers with service, meaning they need to repair damage quickly and efficiently, both for their own customers and those of carriers that they resell to.
  2. Customer service. Slow restoration of service, particularly at times of crisis has an adverse impact on a carrier’s brand. In competitive markets perceived delays can increase customer churn.
  3. Financial. Obviously customers will not pay for services they cannot receive, so the longer an outage continues the more it hits a carrier’s revenues. With increasingly complex packages (including triple and quad play services), the financial impact of not providing services can potentially escalate very quickly.

Topics: Fiber innovations

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Opening up Africa with fiber

Posted by Simon Roberts

Currently one of the fastest growing markets for fibre is in Africa, with huge communications infrastructure rollouts underway across the continent. Organisations such as the FTTH Council Africa are increasingly active in pushing the benefits of fibre networks, while new players such as Google are entering the market. And the impact will be tremendous – consultants McKinsey predicts that the internet will add $300 billion to Africa’s Gross Domestic Product by 2025.

There are two major trends driving fibre in Africa. Firstly, rollouts are building on new subsea cables that link the continent to the rest of the world. High speed networks are being extended from coastal landing sites into landlocked countries, delivering the benefits of fast internet access to an even greater number of people.
Secondly, companies are using the latest fibre technology for these networks. As many countries have limited existing data network infrastructure, deployments can be built totally from fibre, extending to the home or premises, without needing to incorporate legacy copper cables. Essentially this means that African businesses and consumers can benefit from the speed and capacity of FTTH/FTTP as soon as implementation is completed.

Topics: Fiber innovations

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Los Angeles and Fiber – bringing down deployment costs

Posted by Larry Malone


The news that Los Angeles is planning a gigabit fiber network to connect every business and home within the city limits is a further demonstration of the vital importance of high speed broadband in today’s society.

LA has announced that next month it will issue a request for proposals. The city is looking for a vendor to build the entire infrastructure themselves (without public subsidy), and then offer free internet access at between 2-5 Mbps to all, charging a fee for higher connection rates of up to 1 gigabit per second. The same fiber network would also power Wi-Fi hotspots in public areas. It would cover an area of nearly 500 square miles with 3.5 million residents.

Municipalities across the US are increasingly looking at rolling out fiber networks, as they realize the positive impact it has on the local economy, in attracting new citizens and businesses and in enabling the digital delivery of public services. As well as the success of Google Fiber’s deployments in Kansas City many urban areas have invested in either commissioning or building out their own networks. Some, like Santa Monica, have adopted a piecemeal approach, installing new fiber or conduit every time they dig up the streets, while others, such as Chattanooga in Tennessee have gone for a single, city-wide deployment. In the case of Chattanooga, EPB, the community owned electricity utility installed and runs the network, charging customers for broadband access and other services.

Topics: Market trends, Fiber innovations

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Focusing on the father of fibre optics

Posted by Dave Stockton

This week sees the 80th birthday of Sir Charles Kuen Kao, the pioneering electrical engineer who has been described as the Father of Fibre Optics and Godfather of Broadband. Joint winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2009 for ‘groundbreaking achievements concerning the transmission of light in fibers for optical communication’, his work is seen as integral to the widespread use of fibre optics today.

Born in China, he moved to the then British territory of Hong Kong in 1948 and then came to the UK, where he carried out much of his research at Standard Telecommunication Laboratories (STL) in Essex.

Topics: Fiber innovations

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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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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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