OSP Expert: Don McCarty

Finding Cable Trouble With a Multi-Function Test Set


We constantly hear in the field that a test set is not performing its advertised task. “My resistance bridge missed that trouble by 75 feet.” “This open meter measured short or long.” “The TDR indicated the fault at the wrong footage.” These test sets measure footage based on the test set design engineer’s input when he built the test set, and the field technician’s input when he is using the test set. Garbage in, garbage out, folks. When trouble is isolated to a section, and the technician decides to go after it, a conceptual picture must be built to analyze…

Even Badly Neglected Copper Has Life Left!


The following opening paragraphs are contributed by Chuck Blume, someone who’s been in the industry for a very long time, starting as a cable repairman and moving into selling and training on more types of equipment than we can name. Sometimes I feel I’m alone at the pulpit so I appreciate hearing my oft-preached messages coming from someone else! From Chuck: If you had told me in 1972 that by the mid-1980s I would be working in an electrically lit, air-conditioned/heated, and water-proof manhole (Controlled Environmental Vault), I would have thought you escaped from Area 51 in Nevada! And I…

Unwanted Noise on Cable Pairs


A field technician called me to help him with a noise complaint that affected the customer’s POTS circuit and the Internet. The customer and the technician could hear the noise. When testing the vacant cable pair, the technician found the following: • AC voltage tip and ring to ground measured 8VAC: acceptable • Longitudinal balance measured 58dB: marginal • DC volts tip and ring to ground 0VDC: acceptable • Insulation resistance tip to ring, tip to ground, and ring to ground 999 megohms: very acceptable • Opens tip to ground 5,400 feet, ring to ground 5,350 feet. From that information,…

Testing Copper Infrastructure


Every time someone says copper is dead, it isn’t and there is often a resurgence as new technology increases copper bandwidth and reliability. One day, which is still in the rather distant future, we can expect wholesale FTTP but not yet. Therefore, how can you take care of your copper today so that you are profitable and you can keep your customers happy? A quality multi-functional test set is an absolute necessity for today’s field technician. I have tested and used all of the leading test sets for many years: EXFO’s MaxTester 635, Tempo Greenlee’s Sidekick Plus, TesCom’s 990 CopperPro…

Start the New Year Right


Rethink Your Commitment to Quality Service, Regardless of Cable Type — Most ILECs are transitioning from a copper infrastructure to a fiber-to-the-premises infrastructure. However, at this time less than 25% of US residential bandwidth customers are served by fiber-to-the-premises. The rest of the residential bandwidth customers are fed by copper cable pairs, high-speed wireless bandwidth, or cable TV companies. Meanwhile, until a full transition from copper to fiber occurs, if traditional ILECs want to thrive and retain customer loyalty, they must maintain the copper infrastructure until fiber is in place. ILECs have been in transition since the telephone was invented,…

Training Field Technicians in the Past and the Present


The transition to fiber is finally progressing with more consistency. Nevertheless, copper is still around for most companies, and it requires repair and maintenance. Yet what we find is that the demands to move to cable means there is little respect and training for the copper technician. I get it. You don’t find it critical to your long-term strategy. But that’s short-sighted. Give your copper techs the tools and training (and respect), and they will perform their role more efficiently, which means they will spend less time on each call, and that results in more money to put towards fiber.…

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