OSP Expert: Don McCarty

Underground Conductor Locating


Pity the poor cable locating tech. This is the type of job that requires great skill and dedication, and more than just a little luck. It is also a job that can produce terror and prayer. All this is compounded by cable maps without proper footage, not drawn to scale, and outdated by 2 or more years of change. Yet, the locator is expected to be 100% accurate in the task. A cable cut is an instant judgement of the accuracy of the location. No excuses are acceptable, and no quarter is given. You cost us money; you go home…

Line Powering vs. Commercial Power


Line powering is a way to power remote equipment from a central location using existing cable pairs in the copper network. It is an alternative to commercial power which can be expensive and sometimes it is unavailable. This is not something new. Line power has been used as far back as the early 1960s by Telcos for T1 power and then HDSL powering and more recent DSLAM powering. Today there are a plethora of applications such as fiber-to-the-node (FTTN), distributed antenna systems (DAS), and remote unit powering among other applications including FTTH for many independent Telephone companies. Following is one…

Give us your best guess: What is the life of fiber?


I received an email from Glen Copeland, who is a Registered Communications Distribution Designer (RCDD) and the Principal Engineer for a large Utility in Central Washington State. The Utility has built a fiber optic network that extends to most of their county, providing residents with broadband access speeds up to 1 Gbps. As a utility provider, their main business is to provide power to their customers. Their electric rates are among the lowest in the nation, while their customer service standards are among the highest. With a focus on the customer, their goal is simple: safely provide utility services that enhance…

Maintaining the copper infrastructure coverage until it is replaced by fiber


The PSTN, or POTS, network may be at the end of its life, but the copper infrastructure properly maintained continues to generate revenue from special access circuits to homes and businesses for years to come. In 2015, the FCC released new data claiming that there was over $40 billion in broadband and data service revenues known as special access. The majority of special access service is still mostly copper-based services, and that revenue-generating copper infrastructure is paid for. To date, only 25% of the homes and businesses in the US are fiber-served. Fiber is deployed as fast as it is…

Placing G.fast vs. FTTH in Brownfield Construction


Many Telcos are now comparing the cost of placing fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) vs. G.fast in brownfield construction. FTTH is common in greenfield construction. Placing fiber in subdivisions that are already served with paired copper networks, both aerial and buried, is an arduous task and it is extremely expensive. G.fast is, for most, a viable, less expensive alternative. G.fast is a digital subscriber line (DSL) protocol standard for local copper loops shorter than 1,600 feet (500 meters) offering speeds over 100 megabits. G.fast uses fiber to existing buried pedestals or aerial terminals, and then uses existing copper to the residence, and uses existing…

Oops! Sometimes We Don’t Know the Best Answer


We post our phone numbers at the end of every column, and we train hundreds of technicians. Therefore, we also get hundreds of calls each year asking for our help in resolving a tough case of trouble. While we often, even usually, help find the cause of the trouble, we aren’t right all the time. Following are some cases where we got it wrong. Hi Don, It has been a long time since I have” bothered” you. My 72-year-old brain is letting me down. A technical issue has come up where when we cross-connect a POTS line to a cable…

1 2 3 4 5 8