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News and comments on community broadband networks, the communities deploying them and the technologies that support them. Published by Denise Frey and Al Bonnyman.

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Friday, February 27, 2004


Designing practical BPL deployments in light of the FCC's proposed rules

As noted in my post of a few minutes ago, successful BPL (broadband over power line) deployments will require careful planning in light of the FCC's proposed rules.

In the U.S., a good place to start is to see who already holds licenses in the proposed service area by using the FCC on-line license search (use the advanced search feature to search by frequency range and zip code). That will give a potential deployer an idea of how much spectrum they might have to avoid, assuming the emissions from their BPL system do not propagate very long distances. It also gives license-holder locations that can be plotted (at least those that aren't mobile).

The next step will be to evaluate different vendors' equipment for their level of emissions and their ability to immediately and automatically shift frequencies (and/or lower power) on the fly to avoid interfering with licensed services.

More available local spectrum will mean larger service cells per injection point and less fiber required for back-haul.

The system should be designed to accommodate both increased market share (more customers in a give area) and increased bandwidth demand per customer over time. That means potentially smaller cells and more injection points in the future. The designer should determine these projected locations now so as to ensure the supporting fiber cable plant is designed correctly.

The fiber cable system layout should provide sufficient extra fiber for future growth in the number of cells. While cable doesn't have to be built out to every future injection point location now, it should be be routed as close to future locations as possible and storage loops provided to allow future taps. (For more on utility fiber cable system design, see the Fiber Planners web site, especially the "Best Practices" and "Turnkey design" sections.)


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