Strengthening FTTH Connections: A Conversation with CommScope’s José Luis Gonzalez

In this article, CommScope Regional Market Manager José Luis Gonzalez discusses these preventable problems in more detail. He shares best practice insights and solutions that service providers can easily implement to improve deployment efficiency.

April 22, 2024

4 Min Read

With increasing demand for more bandwidth and more network reliability, CommScope reveals how European service providers can efficiently accelerate fibre-based fixed broadband network deployments.

The past decade has seen accelerated fibre network growth across Europe. But a variety of external and preventable challenges have, in some cases, slowed down network rollout, increased CAPEX and caused network disruptions.

In this article, CommScope Regional Market Manager José Luis Gonzalez discusses these preventable problems in more detail. He shares best practice insights and solutions that service providers can easily implement to improve deployment efficiency.

Gonzalez also provides a handy resource for strategies and solutions on accelerated FTTH rollout, CAPEX reduction and network reliability improvement.

What are some of the key challenges faced by service providers in Europe as they deploy FTTH networks?

We have identified several challenges that impact service providers in Europe and threaten their ability to deploy fibre with the speed, cost efficiency and reliability that’s needed for their success. Some of these challenges are the result of external forces, including a shortage of technical labour and lengthy permitting requirements; but we’ve also found preventable fibre cabling and connectivity issues to be common.

One of the most common problems we’ve found is when terminal boxes are unable to be closed properly. This is often caused by repeated splices and the use of inconsistent splicing practices. When terminal boxes are not closed and sealed properly, it exposes sensitive fibre connections to the elements and increases the risks of accidental damage. Other preventable issues include excess fibre cables hanging where they should not be, congested cabinets and ducts, and the use of connectivity devices that are inadequate or not designed for FTTH applications. These can all cause serious issues for service providers.

What is the most important solution or practice CommScope recommends to help service providers in Europe overcome these challenges?

One of the most effective ways to overcome fibre cabling and connectivity challenges is to minimise the amount of manual splicing required by technicians to connect new subscribers to the network. This not only reduces the time, cost and specialised labour required for subscriber activation, but it also makes the network more efficient to operate and maintain over time, and it improves resilience. With the right solutions, it’s possible to greatly reduce the amount of manual splicing and this is not a difficult transition for service providers to make.

What solutions can be used to eliminate manual splicing when activating new subscribers?

The most common solutions we recommend are pre-cabled fibre terminals. They come equipped with pre-spliced fibre cables that extend from the terminal and can be routed directly to subscriber homes or other network locations. This eliminates the need for technicians to spend an hour—or even two—on cable preparation and splicing for each terminal, and they can be used for aerial, façade and underground applications. By using this technology, service providers can ensure that terminals remain closed and sealed to prevent cable nests, dangling fibre and physical damage, while making it fast and affordable to activate new subscribers. Preconnectorised, hardened fibre terminals provide another option for service providers who want to minimise manual splicing.

What are the benefits of preconnectorised, hardened connectivity technologies?

Like our pre-cabled solutions, preconnectorised, hardened fibre terminals remain closed during new subscriber activation, preventing the development of cable nests and offering robust protection for crucial connections inside. But rather than extending cables from within the terminal, external adapters can be used to quickly and easily attach preconnectorised fibre cables instead. This gives service providers the option to evolve fibre connectivity to a truly plug-and-play approach that makes FTTH networks fast and economical to deploy while boosting reliability.

How can service providers improve fibre connectivity within their central office facilities?

The central office serves as a single service launch point for every broadband subscriber, which makes it a strategic place for service providers to focus their efforts on streamlining fibre connectivity and minimising downtime. One of the best ways to do that is with a cross-connect strategy, which allows critical connections to be kept in the rear of the panel and out of reach during day-to-day operations. This reduces cable-related errors such as exposed slack, dangling loops and orphaned cables, while making it fast and easy for technicians to perform routine configuration changes.

Where can service providers find more information to help improve their FTTH connectivity

CommScope has developed a whitepaper that details the unique dynamics of aerial, underground, façade and central office infrastructure. It provides strategies and solutions that service providers can use to meet their goals of accelerating FTTH deployment, reducing CAPEX and improving network reliability across these infrastructure types. It’s called “Lessons learned in Europe’s largest FTTH roll-outs: A playbook for success for façade, underground, aerial and central office connectivity” and it can be found here.

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