PPC blog

How cable terminators protect tap ports from environmental damage

Posted by Amos McKinnon

Cable taps that are being left empty and open on telephone poles are causing problems for TV service providers and technicians. This can be due to a number of reasons, for example if a subscriber cancels their service or a newly-installed tap does not have enough neighborhood subscribers to fill the ports.

These unused ports are becoming a problem because of corrosion from moisture, and noise from RF egress and ingress, but could be solved with the use of a terminator.

Terminators are simple devices that electrically terminate RF coaxial ports both inside and outside of the home. The use of terminators can help protect nearby broadband networks from noise, avoid corrosion of ports and enable technicians to easily decipher the availability of a port.

Topics: Outside Plant, Coaxial

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Delivering fiber successfully to MDUs and office blocks

Posted by Dave Daly

The advantages of fiber optic cable over copper wire are well understood. Fiber can transfer more data, in less time, over longer distances than copper. It does not degrade like copper, requires little maintenance and loses only a fraction of its signal strength over 100 meters.

Today, there is a growing demand for fiber, as consumers expect faster Internet speeds. This demand is largely being fuelled by video and music streaming services and over the top (OTT) bundles. Additionally, businesses also require faster broadband, to grow and scale their organisations in a digital and global world.

In this post, we will explore how fiber is successfully delivered to multi-dwelling units (MDUs) and commercial buildings.  

Topics: Fiber, Outside Plant, Premises

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Bonding and Grounding for CATV – What's the Difference?

Posted by Dave Daly

Bonding is the electro-mechanical joining of two or more conductors, to form a conductive path that ensures electrical continuity. Grounding is connecting a circuit to the earth or to another conductor that is itself connected to earth. 

Broadband cable systems are usually connected to ground to limit the voltage potential between the cable sheath in the house and the other grounded items in the house, including water pipes, appliances and anything else connected to the utility.

A cable not properly grounded can have a high electric potential when compared to the utility ground in a house. Grounding the cable system to the same ground used by the utility minimizes voltage that could exist between them. 

Topics: Outside Plant, Premises

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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, Outside Plant, Premises

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Hardline Connectors - Hidden Damage Stalking your Broadband Network?

Posted by Eric Purdy

Having the right hardline connectors is often overlooked when doing node replacements, node splits, or tap replacements in a broadband HFC (hybrid fiber coax) network. Because these connectors are not the most expensive part of a project, there can be a tendency to underestimate the amount of trouble they can cause if they are not properly installed or maintained.

In most HFC architectures today, the nodes are getting closer and closer to the subscriber as fiber slowly replaces coax. As the number of subscribers per node decreases, the number of nodes in a broadband network increases.

During these node splits, you will sometimes have the opportunity to improve existing performance by replacing old connectors with new ones. Each connector in a network may cause a small amount of return and insertion loss in the signal performance. If you haven't accounted for this loss in your network design, you will end up not meeting performance requirements, having poor subscriber experience, and not knowing exactly how to determine what went wrong. 

Topics: Outside Plant, Coaxial

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Minimizing install time with micro trenching

Posted by Martin Gossling

Digging up roads and pavement to install new networks of any sort is never popular. Local residents dislike the disruption and the noise while municipalities have to deal with increased congestion on busy roads, particularly if works overrun.

Installers, therefore, aim to get the job done as quickly as possible to minimize disruption and costs.

However, there's a growing need to install new broadband networks, particularly in congested urban areas, extending them all the way to individual buildings themselves.

Topics: Fiber, Outside Plant

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Direct bury microduct for fiber: the do's and the don'ts

Posted by Shaun Trezise

The disruption often caused when installing new fiber is never popular. Local residents dislike their roads and sidewalks being dug up while local governments have to deal with increased congestion, particularly if projects overrun their anticipated schedules.

There are big advantages to installing microduct underground since it can be laid relatively quickly and does not require specialist fiber crews.

The cost compared to installing larger sub ducts or direct bury (DB) fiber is lower both in terms of material and time. Direct bury products are generally of heavier construction with thicker sheaths and so are able to withstand higher impact and crush loads. Depending on their make-up, they can be used in excavated trenches, mole-plowed routes or inserted into slot cuts in the surface of roadways.

Here are some tips to make the direct bury microduct for fiber installation smoother, quicker, and more satisfactory for all involved.

Topics: Fiber, Outside Plant

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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: Fiber, Outside Plant, Premises

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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, Outside Plant, Premises, Industry

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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: Fiber, Outside Plant, Premises

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