A Billion Loose Connectors Drain Capacity

Loose Connectors DOCSIS 3.1Like faucets leaking if one faucet was leaking in every home the capacity for water would be limited. The same goes for F Connectors in the home and the data capacity we strive to increase to meet the capacity demand.

There are billions of connectors out there. From the multi-tap to the ground block to the splitters and amplifier, through wall plates and to the CPE, at least 25 connectors per home are installed. That’s 2.5 billion for 100 million homes. Research has shown that as much as 70% of all indoor connectors may be loose and ~25% of all outdoor connections are loose. Simple fact seen in every home. Signal containment is important as both noise and ingress such as LTE creates noise that will hinder the transfer of data on platforms such as DOCSIS 3.0 and 3.1.

Enter the technology of connections that reduce or limit the noise ingress. A major source of ingress signal degradation is from a situation known as common mode current whereby the loose connections lose continuity to ground. A signal connector in this mode can affect 100’s if not 1,000’s of subscribers from receiving the minimal amount of data capacity.

While connector technology has improved reducing the effects of loose connectors, the simple fact remains that connectors that are loose or become loose still hinder performance. With human craft error and subscriber tampering within the home, a connection that locks or retains retention with electrical continuity to ground eliminates the service call and improves the customer experience for all subscribers. Such a connector exists.

Trash Talking – Recycling Should Be Reduced…

PCT's AMIGO ZEREO Waste Reel-less Solution


From: Adrian O’Leary, President, PCT International, Inc.

I was visiting an operator’s facility about a year ago and saw numerous recycle bins behind the fence. At first I thought “that’s terrific recycling.” There were empty cable reels overflowing and bails of cardboard stacked high. Well, progress in this area eliminated shipping reels and cardboard with drop coaxial cable and a reel-less system was introduced. Yes there are “reel-exchange” programs but that’s not the “reel” solution.

A good coaxial reel-less solution utilizes coils that drop into an ergonomic carrying bag made with recycled materials. Just one carrying bag with a re-usable reel allows coils to be repeatedly drop into place.

How much recycling is eliminated? For 10 million subscribers (roughly 10% of the USA) about 750,000 reels are eliminated from recycling in a single year. For the USA that is over 7 million reels annually. Put that in perspective, and we could replicate the height of 50 Empire State Buildings.


Avoiding Craft Errors with the Best Tools

We often take for granted the installation practices with respect to tools. How often have we heard “I make sure all of my connections are tight” but a significant amount are left loose, or are proven to become loose over time. The same goes with drop compression tools that are used to secure connectors to the cable. There are the ones from the DIY store, and some connector manufacturers just cut costs / quality to lower the “free” tool cost burden.  But is this serving your customers properly, or costing you more money in service calls?


Full 360 degree compression tool coverage

For decades, the industry standard compression tool used by all connector manufacturers was a 360⁰ tool, meaning that it covers the entire back of the compression sleeve as it evenly and uniformly compresses the connector.  The 360⁰ tools also capture and align the cable and connector into the correct position so the connector cannot be misaligned during compression.  This ensures that the internal components are not jammed or damaged from being compressed at an angle.

Compression tool with only 180 degree coverage
Damaged f-type connectors with improper us of 180 degree compression tools

The 180⁰ compression tools only cover about one half of the compression sleeve.  This allows for misalignment, which can result in distorted outer connector bodies, but can also result in internal damage that may not be visible externally.  The misalignment can be both vertically since the cable isn’t captured in the correct compression position, and horizontally as the rotating end wears and no longer locks in place.


Properly and automatically aligned with error free compression vs. misaligned and ruined connectors

So what’s your choice – a good, industry standard tool, or a cheap, partial coverage tool?