PPC blog

Avoid broadband network installation failures with proper training

Posted by Krista Thresh

TV and Internet service providers are always looking for ways to help improve the customer experience of their broadband network, while keeping costs as low as possible.

Proper on-site training for technicians and maintenance teams is key to achieving both of these goals and correcting any bad habits before they turn into problems.

This is easy to say, but is it easy to do? Here are some practical thoughts on using training to your advantage.

Reduce costs with thorough network installation training

It might seem obvious that all new employees need some training, but it should go far beyond basic training and customer service tips. Technicians and maintenance teams need to learn how to properly install all products they are working with, and how to troubleshoot quickly and efficiently, reducing the amount of time and resources spent in the field.

Topics: Industry, Coaxial

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Pioneering the 4th Utility – Fiber to the Home

Posted by Dave Daly

In this post, we explore how you can future proof and differentiate a property through delivering a fiber solution, while also increasing customer satisfaction.

The Challenge of Delivering Fiber to Multiple Dwelling Units

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, multiple 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.

Topics: Fiber, Premises, Industry

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Simplicity of Installation is the Key to Product Selection for FTTH

Posted by Dave Daly

If you are trying to decide on a product to include in your network design or installation and you have a choice between several products that meet your technical specifications  is price the only factor that will help you to make your decision?

While it can be tempting to prioritize price, it's also important to think ahead and look to your business' future. Therefore, an important factor to consider during your product selection for FTTH is the simplicity of your installation.

Simplicity

When it comes to fiber installation, it is commonly understood that you need specialized expertise (installing, splicing), and specialized equipment (splicers, blowers, trenching, etc.). The cost of these things is well known and considered to be part of doing business, and is often the decisive factor in how or if an FTTH installation goes forward.

Topics: Fiber, Industry

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Tools To Get the Best Broadband Network Service Levels in the Home

Posted by Dave Daly

With increased bandwidth beyond 1 GHz, maintaining the correct carrier levels at a subscriber location is becoming more difficult. The challenge is not always widespread and may be limited to certain areas within the physical network, where limits to the system design have been reached. The addition of DOCSIS 3.1 and MoCA technologies has raised the threshold required for in-home equipment performance and also, therefore, for broadband and CATV signal quality.

All-digital broadband networks are also driving the need for correct signal levels; the tolerance for noise and distortion in these networks is much tighter. Older analog systems had a wider margin of error. Adding to this problem is the increased number of TVs and other devices used. Finally, most techs now have to ensure that each customer's home meets a certain level of performance and must pass a strict performance check before they can leave.

To measure up to these higher expectations, you will want these simple products for making delicate and critical adjustments to signals at the home: attenuators, cable simulators, equalizers, and high pass filters, to name a few.

Topics: Premises, Industry, Coaxial

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How to understand price and value in broadband networks

Posted by Rick Haube

In managing the infrastructure of broadband networks, an often underacknowledged element is the coaxial cabling and connectors required to deliver the very services your customers pay for.

Research shows that possibly the most significant issue for service providers is service calls in "the last mile" (or "the last drop") - the connection from the end of the distribution network up to and including the customer premise equipment.

The research indicates that the leading cause of service calls, as much as 40 percent, is due not only to improper installation of coaxial cable and connectors, or simply loose connectors, but also that the connectors being employed are of sub-standard quality within the environment, affecting electrical and mechanical performance. This has historically been such a chronic issue that some operators have come to accept it as a cost of doing business.

Topics: Industry, Coaxial

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How to Prepare the Drop for DOCSIS 3.1

Posted by Dave Daly

Delivering DOCSIS services, whether it is 64 QAM upstream (3.0) or orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) 1024 (3.1), is often possible with minimal investment and network changes. However, to maximize delivery quality with the highest data speeds requires an in-home network resilient against interference and noise contributors. Where is your performance for the next generation of services? 

There are several obstacles to delivering DOCSIS technologies, including the common effects of loose connectors, signal level discrepancies and ingress/ egress. In addition, the peripheral wireless technology, long term evolution (LTE), is present in homes within the same spectrum (regionally specific) as broadband cable systems.

The question that cannot be avoided today is: "How do we consistently reach the DOCSIS 3.1 performance required while meeting the growing capacity demands?"

Topics: Premises, Industry, Coaxial

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Building Residential Fiber Networks Faster at a Lower Cost

Posted by Dave Daly

The broadband FTTH market is in its infancy in North America and very little attention has been paid to the last 150’ drop necessary to bring a low fiber count connection into customers’ homes. Currently a broadband operator’s fast ROI lies in business and multi-dwelling unit (MDU) applications. To date, the ROI model for single family units (SFU) doesn’t measure up.

Topics: Fiber, Industry

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Optical connections in the drop network - how to save money and time

Posted by William Crawford


Fusion splicing is often used and is appropriate for trunk portions of a network; it offers low optical and reflection loss and splicing efficiency for large fiber bundles.

When it comes to the drop network, however, with only a couple of connectors per drop, you can achieve substantial cost savings by using mechanical connections or pre-terminated fiber cables. Using fusion splicing in the drop adds time and cost.

In this post, we will examine the impracticality of fusion splicing in the last few hundred feet to the premise vs. cost savings from mechanical optical connections, and pre-terminated fibers. 

Optical loss

The typical loss budgeted for a fusion splice is 0.1dB and 0.3dB for a mechanical connector. Considering that most subscriber drops will have two localized optical connections between their devices and the distribution network, using connections that install fast and with ease should be considered. It is highly unlikely that the optical loss budget in the network design will be affected by these last two connectors - because the loss in each drop is not aggregated in the distribution network, there will be negligible impact on the loss.

Topics: Fiber, Premises, Industry

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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, Premises, Industry

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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, Industry

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