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Tight new fibre-optic testing limits needed for higher bandwidth apps

With the ratification of 40 and 100 Gbps ethernet fibre standards, optical requirements are tighter than ever before. Yet testing methods have not caught up.

Also consider with the introduction of 10Gbps over ethernet, the maximum power loss budget for multimode fibre links has dropped significantly, and it is clear changes in testing standards are essential and urgent.

While an accuracy of 0.5 to 1dB might have been tolerable in the past, it is not acceptable with the 10Gbps or higher standards, especially as the demand for 1.5dB maximum power loss with OM4 fibers for 40 and 100Gbps applications requires precise test equipment and test procedures.

ISO/IEC 14763-3 was launched in 2006, with amendments added in 2010, in order to reflect the new tighter budget in test methods and equipment. The major changes are:

  • Launch and tail test cords with controlled end-faces.
  • Reference connectors with very low loss.
  • 1-and 3-test cord methods for reference setting with LSPM devices.
  • 2-test cord methods are not acceptable.
  • Introduction of encircled flux for accuracy of multimode light source.
  • Detailed procedures of LSPM and OTDR devices.
The main reason for these changes is accuracy and reliability. With a budget of 1.5dB for 40/100Gbps, a test tolerance of 1dB is not acceptable and testing with outdated or inaccurate equipment/methods doesn’t make sense.   In the end, both 1 and 3-test cord methods of reference setting provide standards-compliant results.

Synergy Telecoms courses cover testing of fibre as well as copper and utilising latest processes and technologies and latest industry info.

Is the NBN an opportunity for your business?

Read the full blog at Aquatel:

Different devices and technologies within a modern home or business rely on a fast broadband connection, which NBN will provide.

Homeowners need to ensure the contractors they use to perform work on their telecommunications systems are accredited for those types of installations.

From 1 July 2014, specialist cabling such as DATA cabling, Coaxial Cabling, Optical Fibre and some others require technicians to hold specialist endorsements on their Open Cable licence. At Synergy Telecoms we have courses to cater for these requirements – call us to find out the best suitable courses for your.


Fibre to the node or fibre to the premises?

At the Home or Business Premises

What impact will this have on cabling within the residential premises?

Probably not a lot as in most cases the customers who are made aware and do need the full benefit of high speed networking throughout their premises will have category 5e or 6 cabling installed at build stage or by retrofitting. Fibre in the average premises would not be of benefit in fact it would create its own problems,

Consider this. The Fibre To The Premises network is single mode fibre terminating at the premises on an NTD. In this case the NTD is also a media converter, converting light energy to electrical energy, ready for the standard RJ45 (equipment plug). Now if you had some silly idea to go fibre in the premises with the inherent fibre high loss connectors over short distances. Your fibre media would be multimode, not single mode. You would have to supply a media converter and power to convert the FTTP NTD electrical energy back to light energy. This does not make sense. High speed data cable under 100 metres will have all you would ever need for your LAN up to 1 gig (or 10 gig) without power. And no, you cannot just plug your fibre into the FTTH (NBN etc) fibre for a lot of technical and regulatory reasons.

The other users who are not so interested in all this jargon and future stuff, will just keep using their existing cable/s whether it be cat 3 or cat 5 etc and would have access similar to what they have now.

As the demand for bandwidth continues to grow there will be more and more consumers upgrading their premises to category 6 cabling and if they have not pre-wired their premises they will need to either retrofit cables or live with the limitations of WiFi and PLC type technologies.


Difference between FTTN and FTTP

What is the difference and what impact will it have on your business or personal communications? The most commonly used technology by Telcos to connect to the premises follows:

Copper Traditionally in nearly every suburb a carrier builds a telephone exchange which would connect to their existing network and extend telecommunications services to all the residential and commercial premises and in some cases weird locations like traffic lights, speed cameras and various monitoring equipment and or other locations that are not normally considered as premises.

Figure 1. Traditional copper customer access network

You can see the “main cable” with its “main pairs” leaving from the telephone exchange to the pillar (in a street or on a corner near you) The “distribution cable” carries the “O pairs” to the house and telephone inside the premises. From the pit and joint in the street outside or near to the premises, the connection is provided by using twisted pair copper cable. This section is called the “lead-in” cable.


The main cable you see in Figure 1 can be a 100 pair or a larger cable from the telephone exchange to the pillar. From the pillar a cable runs along the street from pit to pit, these pits can be seen on the side walk between houses. This cable could be a 10, 30 or 50 pair cable. Then, from the pit, a 2 pair cable runs into the premises and terminates on a telephone socket.

In most cases the cable running from pit to pit is enclosed in a conduit and the two pair cable to the premises is also in a conduit up to a termination box “wall box” on the side of the house. What is the difference between the Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) and Fibre to the Node (FTTN) besides the obvious, the name?

FTTP (Premises) is based on running fibre from the point of presence of the carrier all the way to the premises. In most existing suburbs the point of presence will be the existing telephone exchange. Whilst there are some options as to how you run the fibre cable to the premises, this article will only look at GPON as this is the network architecture chosen by Telstra, Transact and NBN co.

Figure 2 FTTP (Premises)

In the FTTP architecture there is a fibre cable which connects to an Optical Line Terminal Unit in the telephone exchange and at the other end to a fibre splitter in the Fibre Distribution Hub (FDH). The splitter takes one fibre from the OLT and converts it into 32 individual fibres on the local cable which connects to a multiport. From the multiport there is a drop cable that connects to the Optical Network Termination (ONT) which in the case of NBN co is referred to as the NTD (Network Termination Device). This is the NBP (Network Boundary Point). GPON technology requires power at the exchange and in the premises. The FDH is passive, no power required.

FTTN (Node) on the other hand is based on running fibre to the Node (similar location to the pillar), then from the node to the premises using the existing (or upgraded) copper cable already in situ. In this case the fibre goes from the carrier’s point of presence which in most cases will be the existing local telephone exchange. The fibre terminates on the node. The node is an active device so power is provided. This will require running an alternate power backup to cater for black outs.

One large benefit of FTTN is the fibre infrastructure already exists to the node in many newer locations. These installations have already taken place over the past 15 to 20 years by Telstra. Thus saving a whole lot of duplication (and money).

From the node to the premises, the existing (or upgraded) copper cable is used. The technology on the copper side of the node will be the same DSL service. This normally runs at around 8 to 12 Megs download speed with a reasonable bandwidth to do just about anything over the net.

This does not take into account the “black spot” areas of very low grade copper and joints. However it would appear the NBN Co, so far, have not looked at these areas in their early role out, favoring other areas other than black spot, for some reason. For example some areas of Prospect NSW have a speed of around half a Meg download. This is not good enough. So we will see how soon this area gets a fibre or copper upgrade. The technical people are looking at up to 50 Meg by copper in the street, in the future.

The reason for the increase in speed is simply because the distance from the node to the home has been significantly reduced so the impact of the physical limitations of twisted copper pair is reduced by reducing the length of the cable. It should be noted that in many cases customers can choose to have fibre installed at their own cost, instead of using the existing copper to ensure the highest speeds are available for their businesses.

Figure 3 FTTN  

Article supplied courtesy of Ian Millner. Added to and updated by The Proprietor.

Smart Wiring-Telecommunications

Smart Wired© is a symbol owned by the ICAA (International Copper Association Australia) a body promoting the use of copper across industry, including telecommunications. Some time ago the industry bodies were quick to see the advantages of using the smart wired logos (above) and many technicians, engineers, cablers and electricians are unaware that the consumer guide, installer handbook and a code of practice for cablers on home wiring can be used in telecommunications.

ACMA mandated endorsements/specialist competencies for broadband will be able to use the smart wired quick guides (for consumers to help plans), installer handbook and code to sign off their work with the smart wired logo, as well as providing the mandatory ACMA TCA1 forms.

How importaint is Fast Speed Broadband to you?

Houses without broadband could be worth as much as 20% less than comparable properties with a good connection, according to experts who say superfast speeds are increasingly important to prospective homebuyers.

With soaring numbers going online to perform everyday tasks or to work from home, a robust connection is considered so vital that the propertysearch website Rightmove has added a broadband speed checker button to every one of its listings, alongside details of transport links and schools. Estate agents report that rising numbers of buyers are willing to pull out of a deal if broadband is not available in that area.

Speed of your Broadband connection also relies on the quality of cabling inside your home or business. As a technician you need to give your client right advice on what is required to have a reliable internet connection.

It is a recommended norm to install Structured (DATA) Network cabling inside the home to allow for current and emerging technologies – you need to ensure you are qualified and licenced to perform this work for your Customer. ACMA Open cable licence will only let you endorse installation up to Category 3 level (telephony cable). From July 2014 it will be mandatory to hold Endorsements on your licence to perform specialised work – eg Structured Cable, Coaxial Cable, Optical Fibre and other.

Call our office for an obligation free consultation to ensure your qualifications are up to date!

It’s Time To Go All-Digital!

Now that the analog switch has been shut off, have you made the steps into the digital future?

Read Full Article On AQUATel

Are you a technician installing TV and wanting to expand your skills into Digital TV area?Synergy Telecoms can provide training for Coaxial Cabling, Digital TV, Structured Cable (DATA), ACMA Licencing and much more.

If you are a technical professional constantly on a lookout to upgrade your skills and knowledge, give us a call!

Video Is The New Voice

View Full Article On AQUATel

Quick Summary…

High Quality Modern Video Teleconference systems often require the installation of high speed DATA cabling. Only accredited technicians holding a current ACMA Cabling licence with Structured Cable endorsement are able to perform and endorse this work.

Synergy Telecoms’ range of courses covers the requirements to perform DATA cabling as well as a variety of other skills. Call us to discuss your options.

Buyer Beware!

As a tradesman, you often need to educate your customer on the right products for their requirements. During that time you will often come against claims that competitors prices may be cheaper (often online) and for what they see may be a better product.

Labels and description cannot always be trusted – see this article for an extract from a real conversation with suppliers about deceiving labels on products.

Click To View Full Article On AQUATel

Cabling rules have changed – are your skills up to date?

The CPRs regulate the cabling industry and ensure that minimum cabling requirements are in place to promote safety and maintain network integrity.

The ACMA has amended the cabling arrangements to ensure all cabling providers have the necessary skills to perform specialised cabling work for the current and emerging customer cabling environment.

Continue reading

NBN – what you can and might want to do to prepare

Now that more and more homes are getting connected to NBN, it is important to understand what happens at the house and what you, as a technician need to be prepared for. Inside the house, copper is an important part of telecommunications infrastructure and you need to have appropriate accreditations to install the cabling and work on customer premises equipment.

Take a look at the latest blog post over at Aquatel for a more in-depth post on this topic.

Know Your Amplifiers

We’ve just added a new post over at Aquatel that details the difference between masthead and distribution amplifiers. We encourage you to check it out!