OSP Expert: Don McCarty

Manufactured Cable Characteristics and Their Effects on Test Set Accuracy

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We constantly hear in the field that a test set is not performing its advertised tasks. My resistance bridge missed that trouble by 75 feet or This open meter measured short or long or The TDR indicated the fault at the wrong footage. As technicians puzzle out why measurements aren’t correct, their first step is to consider whether their input might be off. More knowledge is better! Understanding the make-up of the cable and how different types of cable can throw off your measurements, help ensure that your test set has the best information available, and that it can provide…

Take care of your customers NOW!

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New life for the old copper infrastructure — This column describes causes of service disruption. Upcoming columns will offer easy processes for identifying the location of the fault. I have been involved in provisioning and maintaining the copper infrastructure for more than 55 years. During that time, I have had the good fortune of working with many managers and technicians who practice proactive maintenance in their quest to provide quality service over copper. When proactively provisioned and maintained, good old copper will continue to provide service well into the future. Thousands of miles of copper circuits are providing service on…

Did you work safely today, or were you just lucky?

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Staying safe begins when you load up and get in the truck and (I hope!) you hook up your safety belt. I had the seat belt habit pounded into me by my old boomer line foreman, Ellis Nelson, while working for Northwestern Bell in Minneapolis. Ellis would catch me “sittin’ on the belt insteada usin’ em,” and if you’ve ever felt the wrath of a boomer line foreman in chew mode, you’ll know why wearing them became habit. Because of this safety lesson, I lived through a terrible car accident in 1991. Lesson learned! Working line crew is your basic…

Preparing the Copper Infrastructure for Advancing Bandwidth Technologies

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While most Telcos budget for hardware, test set, and training, budgets for FTTH, copper remains a critical piece of the network today, and will into the future as new technologies extend the life of copper allowing Telcos to serve a broad audience with affordable bandwidth solutions. Unfortunately, copper is seen as an old product and technology, and is often ignored by many companies and therefore not well supported. This article should provide a good tutorial for those who are left maintaining the copper infrastructure. The biggest issue for copper was, and is, the existing cable plant. It is an assortment…

Looking Forward

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Inclusive High-Speed Solutions — I write what too many providers no longer care about: twisted pair copper. While the copper infrastructure can continue its long life delivering high-speed solutions today and tomorrow, these services have, in many cases, been underutilized and the copper hasn’t been well maintained. Focus and budgets are overly fiber-focused. While fiber is an excellent, reliable, and fast, product, it’s not the “be all, end all.” Many smart providers maintain their copper, and see it as having a long-term place in their offerings. I fully agree that the move to fiber is here today and will continue…

Support From the ICEP Engineer

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Field technicians are constantly involved with, and are responsible for, unwanted noise on customer circuits, whether the circuit is copper, fiber, wireless, or any combination of the above. If the root cause is beyond the field technician’s ability to solve it, the field technician should be able to turn to network engineering for support. If network engineering cannot help, they should be able to turn to the Inductive Coordination and Electrical Protection Engineer (ICEP) to assist them and the field technician with expert technical advice and assistance. Most RBOCS have ICEP engineers. (Telcos, especially the smaller companies, who do not…

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