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MFH2 via fiber optic?


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20 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   Stephen M. Smith

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Posted 01 September 2008 - 12:06 AM

I'm a little confused. We have a very persisent local company that really wants to wire all 450 condo units here w/fiber optic cabling, on their dime. In return, they just want us to drop our current sysop and bulk DirecTv through them.

This is a sales team that's bugging us so it's difficult to get accurate technical information from here. Our MFH2 upgrade has just started her it sounds to me and I fully understand MFH2 and it's components, but I'm totally confused how fiber optic cabling fits into a DirecTv MDU installation.

I think they saying that DirecTv service is transmitted via some method other than the dish(es) on our roof and then delivered to individual units via fiber optic cabling. And residents would have to use some Motorola receiver instead of the DirecTv receivers and DVR's. Is that correct? That just sound too unappealing to be true, especially for DVR users accustomed to TiVo's and HR's.

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Steve

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#2 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 01 September 2008 - 10:09 AM

Fiber can be great, as distance/loss is so negligible compared to copper.
What you're describing sounds more like a CATV system than DirecTV. Fiber tends to be limited to under 1 GHz bandwidth, so "they'd" have to do some real work to get all of the DirecTV channels into one fibers. Since they are requiring Motorola DVRs, this too points to cable.
With what I've worked on with fiber, I'd really want to hear from their engineering before I'd believe their "sales" group.
A.K.A VOS

#3 OFFLINE   redpeppers

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Posted 01 September 2008 - 12:58 PM

That install would be easy! You would achieve this by using 4 fiber trasmitters for the 4 ports on the Slimline dish. There is a fiber "splitter" that would allow you to distribute the fiber feeds. You will need 4 fiber strands to each building. Each building would have a fiber receiver that would turn the light spec. back into rf. From there you will install the MFH2 swm modules at each building. Also if analog CATV is needed you could add another fiber strand per building for the downstream and one for the upstream if internet service is needed. We offer this service under our system operator program. You should contact me and we will discuss a turn key solution for your company. ***-***-**** ext. 1.

P.S. MFH3 is also a good solution for you. It would allow an IP based system that would run fiber to cat5 and would require special IP based directv receivers, this system is more costly but very effective.
"If there is a wire there is a way."

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#4 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 01 September 2008 - 01:10 PM

That install would be easy! You would achieve this by using 4 fiber trasmitters for the 4 ports on the Slimline dish. There is a fiber "splitter" that would allow you to distribute the fiber feeds. You will need 4 fiber strands to each building. Each building would have a fiber receiver that would turn the light spec. back into rf. From there you will install the MFH2 swm modules at each building. Also if analog CATV is needed you could add another fiber strand per building for the downstream and one for the upstream if internet service is needed. We offer this service under our system operator program. You should contact me and we will discuss a turn key solution for your company.
P.S. MFH3 is also a good solution for you. It would allow an IP based system that would run fiber to cat5 and would require special IP based directv receivers, this system is more costly but very effective.

"BUT" this wouldn't require the Motorola DVRs mentioned.
BTW: the fiber count can be reduced with the use of different Lasers 1320 nm, 1550 nm, etc.
A.K.A VOS

#5 OFFLINE   AntAltMike

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Posted 01 September 2008 - 02:17 PM

You'd have to have some really, really long trunklines to need fiber to support a simple MFH2 system. I can see it if your 450 unit complex consists of a few dozen separate building clusers, but even then, you'd have to demodulate at every building cluster which is a lot of cost to swallow for small numbers of subscribers per building cluster.

More likely, they are planning on shifting the twenty-six Sat 101 transponders to cable frequencies and then the residents would use the Motorola receivers to tune those basic channels, and beyond that, maybe there would be an MFH2 overlay to handle the HDTV, but I don't know the state of the art of the Motorola Boxes, so I don't know if there are Motorola HDTV capable boxes and DVRs.

The concern I'd have about committing to bulk is, first, that the length of the contract will be very long and second, it gives them a de facto monopoly since no competitor is going to overbuild a complex that already has someone else's bulk. I'd be concerned that cable TV internet would no longer be available if the complex is not already wired for cable.

Also, you say that the SWM transition has begun. I would think that most system operators would not begin any kind of SWM upgrade unless they had a contract extension in place.

#6 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 01 September 2008 - 02:56 PM

You'd have to have some really, really long trunklines to need fiber to support a simple MFH2 system. I can see it if your 450 unit complex consists of a few dozen separate building clusers, but even then, you'd have to demodulate at every building cluster which is a lot of cost to swallow for small numbers of subscribers.

Yes, the loss in fiber per kilometer is like the loss in copper per 10-100 feet.
A.K.A VOS

#7 OFFLINE   redpeppers

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Posted 01 September 2008 - 10:15 PM

You'd have to have some really, really long trunklines to need fiber to support a simple MFH2 system. I can see it if your 450 unit complex consists of a few dozen separate building clusers, but even then, you'd have to demodulate at every building cluster which is a lot of cost to swallow for small numbers of subscribers per building cluster.

More likely, they are planning on shifting the twenty-six Sat 101 transponders to cable frequencies and then the residents would use the Motorola receivers to tune those basic channels, and beyond that, maybe there would be an MFH2 overlay to handle the HDTV, but I don't know the state of the art of the Motorola Boxes, so I don't know if there are Motorola HDTV capable boxes and DVRs.

The concern I'd have about committing to bulk is, first, that the length of the contract will be very long and second, it gives them a de facto monopoly since no competitor is going to overbuild a complex that already has someone else's bulk. I'd be concerned that cable TV internet would no longer be available if the complex is not already wired for cable.

Also, you say that the SWM transition has begun. I would think that most system operators would not begin any kind of SWM upgrade unless they had a contract extension in place.


What are you talking about? For a 450 unit bulk complex running fiber is best way to go unless you plan to have dishes on every building. Most MDU systems will consists of a analog headend for basic CATV and Internet downstream service running over one piece of fiber per building......upstream for internet will be located on another peice of fiber. And four strands per building for the slimline directv dish. other than mfh3 this is the best way to run the system. Bulk contracts are a benifit not a down side....and most operator will have internet also.
"If there is a wire there is a way."

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#8 OFFLINE   Stephen M. Smith

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Posted 01 September 2008 - 10:39 PM

OK, so it is technically possible. So then the next question is -- why? what would retro-fitting our whole complex w/fiber optic cabling give us that we don't already have w/a coax-based MFH2 setup? The only thing they're offering that we don't currently have is a (slighty) faster internet option.

BTW, these guys originally arrived w/an a whole list of requirements for them to retro-fit us w/fiber on their dime -- exclusivity for TV and internet and a long list of installation requirements that would not fly here. We have non-exclusive agreements w/our current providers and aren't willing to give that up. So they dropped their exclusivity requirement and have since dropped all their installation requirements except for bulking tv through them instead of our current sysop. TW cable tv and internet, and Verizon DSL all remain as resident options.

So why again? Why does this still make sense to them since retro-fit this expensive on their dime ain't gonna be cheap?

#9 OFFLINE   AntAltMike

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 05:01 AM

So why again? Why does this still make sense to them since retro-fit this expensive on their dime ain't gonna be cheap?



If the TW system is already upgraded to 860 MHz, 2-way, then it will surely stay available to your residents.

Quite often in this industry, there are companies that enter a market with more capital than brains. That could well be the situation here, but I really can't tell that for sure without more information.

I service several abandoned DirecTV MDU systems that never should have been built. The original MDU installers had no idea what a realistic stream of income and useful hardware life were when they installed them. I have relations with one condo in which the DirecTV fiber system just occupies hallway wallspace while they distribute their MFH2 over the older coax cable.

I have no trouble sustaining a 2GHz DirecTV stacked signal over 1000 feet of RG-11 trunkline with just three, 30 dB gain amplifiers. If your system operator determines that it is to his benefit to spend another $50,000 to $100,000 to change your system over to fiber, then you really need to have a lawyer with experience in the communications field scrutinize their right of entrance agreement and any other agreements they require you to sign, just so you know what risks you make be undertaking if things don't go well, or even if they do.

#10 OFFLINE   Stephen M. Smith

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 09:14 PM

Our current sysop provider, who we're quite satisfied with, is currently doing our MFH2 upgrade (or rather addition to MFH1) using RG6 coax which they say is sufficent. I have no reason to doubt them.

It's these guys (who call themselves are "fiber-optic amenity company") that want to retro-fit our whole property w/fiber-optic cabling on their dime in return for bulking tv service through them, which in effect, means replacing our current D* sysop. TW isn't going anywhere and will be an option for tv and internet. They dropped their exclusivity requirement when we told them exclusivity didn't work for us.

The question they have yet to answer is -- from a resident perspective, what are they giving us that we don't already have? Why would we drop our current sysop, who we're happy with, and take a risk on them?

#11 OFFLINE   AntAltMike

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 09:16 PM

Is your current system operator offering you the Motorola bulk? That entails a significant committment of capital.

#12 OFFLINE   evan_s

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 10:06 PM

I really don't know a whole lot about the MDU stuff but I have to say this doesn't make any sense to me. It sounds like a whole lotta costs, running a lot fiber cable, what ever hardware is needed to get the signal in and out of the fiber, who know what to convert directv's signal to something motorola boxes would handle etc etc etc. Simple common sense says the cost to cover this has to come from somewhere which is probably why they wanted exclusivity. I'd also check the contract carefully to make sure you aren't committing all your residents to their bulk TV plan even if they want use another option. If the residents have to pay for it even if they want something else it might as well be exclusive since 99% of people aren't going to pay for TV service twice just to get their preferred provider.

On the motorola boxes in general they definitely do make hd dvrs (comcast and verizon both different version of them) I haven't been impressed with them. Among the problems I've seen is they all still seem to come with 160gb hds which is a joke for an HD DVR system. I'm not sure if anyone has them working with external HD's either. The comcast boxes I worked with where horrible at freezing for 15 seconds to minutes and not responding to any remote commands but queuing them up to be done after they unfroze which half the time lead them to freeze again while they tried to figure out all those button presses. By comparison an hr21 is much much more responsive.

#13 OFFLINE   AntAltMike

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Posted 03 September 2008 - 02:35 AM

...On the motorola boxes in general they definitely do make hd dvrs (comcast and verizon both different version of them...

But this would be a different series of boxes that can process DirecTV's QPSK, encrypted signals.

#14 OFFLINE   Stephen M. Smith

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 01:15 AM

Is your current system operator offering you the Motorola bulk? That entails a significant committment of capital.


I've never of Motorola bulk? What is being bulked? Our current sysop is your standard D* MDU provider. I just checked their web site and they offer only Directv and internet services, plus some appliance leasing service which we don't use.

But this would be a different series of boxes that can process DirecTV's QPSK, encrypted signals.


And that ain't gonna work, especially for us DVR users who are accustomed to TiVo and almost-TiVo (HR series) functionality. Plus, it's a lot to ask all 450 residents to change out their receivers for (to them at least) no apparent reason.

#15 OFFLINE   Stephen M. Smith

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 01:21 AM

I really don't know a whole lot about the MDU stuff but I have to say this doesn't make any sense to me. It sounds like a whole lotta costs, running a lot fiber cable, what ever hardware is needed to get the signal in and out of the fiber, who know what to convert directv's signal to something motorola boxes would handle etc etc etc. Simple common sense says the cost to cover this has to come from somewhere which is probably why they wanted exclusivity.


We haven't seen any contract from them and are a long, long way from seeing one, even if we had reason to proceed w/these fellows. Which we don't.

I'd also check the contract carefully to make sure you aren't committing all your residents to their bulk TV plan even if they want use another option. If the residents have to pay for it even if they want something else it might as well be exclusive since 99% of people aren't going to pay for TV service twice just to get their preferred provider.


I'm pretty sure that's how all bulk arrangements work -- the HOA pays a fee which is reflected in every residents dues, whether they use the service or choose something else. We don't keep track of who subscribes to D* (which is bulked) and who has TW cable. All we know is that ~70% of the units subscribe to D* via our sysop and of that only ~60% have paid D* subscriptions above the "free" bulked total choice package.

#16 OFFLINE   AntAltMike

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 04:50 AM

I've never of Motorola bulk? What is being bulked? Our current sysop is your standard D* MDU provider. I just checked their web site and they offer only Directv and internet services, plus some appliance leasing service which we don't use.


Pardon my abbreviated system description. As far as I know, DirecTV can be distributed in bulk either in the same modulated and encrypted from in which it is received by using conventional DirecTV boxes, or it can be re-encrypted using a system called "Pro-idiom", which is intended for hotels, or it can be somehow "transcoded" to cable TV frequencies and tuned using some limited production boxes that used to be made by General Instruments (model DSR410? I forget) and now I think are made by Motorola.

#17 OFFLINE   Stephen M. Smith

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 11:21 PM

That sounds like what these guys must be doing -- transcoding D* and transmitting via fiber to Motorola receivers. And that would explain the various D* questions she couldn't really answer for us.

OK... so that's sound absolutely 100% completely unappealing from any angle. And completely pointless for a MDU that (as of tomorrow) has complete RG6-based MFH2 system that works perfectly plus over 400 D* receivers already installed throughout our 450 units.

#18 OFFLINE   woodybeetle

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Posted 04 November 2008 - 09:40 AM

I hate to say it, but it sounds like this "fiber company is trying an old switch routine" they go to a property, upgrade from coax to fiber, then get D* to give them the commissions from the property. The only downfall to this type of takeover is the infrastructure. If it is not broke dont fix it. I have the pleasure of working dozens of sites, and can tell you the only time I would want fiber is in a garden style enviroment with multiple buildings and multiple outside locations. In practice, coax for riser enviroments, fiber for garden enviroments. AFL makes a great laser designed to work with the MFH2 gear, about 1000 per satellite feed and the reception targets run about 1000 per building or site. The only place I would change the layout would be a riser senerio with three or more buildings, there I would dish one building, coax the riser and fiber to buildings 2 and 3. In this world today, fiber has its benefits, cost per strand is great, does not have lightning issues and keeps the clarity of the signal perfect along with limited loss over distance. I wish you luck in the endevor. My recommendation would be to contact a couple of D* certified MDU designers and have them look at your property. Then ask them the fiber vs coax question.:)
Daniel D. Corum
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#19 OFFLINE   Stephen M. Smith

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Posted 04 November 2008 - 12:16 PM

We told those guys to buzz off. They just couldn't explain their value proposition over our current MDU provider.

We are curious about exploring fiber here w/FIOS via Verizon. A Verizon tech that was here claimed that they could deliver D* service via fiber w/o requiring all residents to replace their DVR's and/or receivers. I hadn't heard that before and am not sure it's accurrate, b/c I know FIOS is a tv service in addition to a internet service.

#20 OFFLINE   woodybeetle

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Posted 05 November 2008 - 07:36 AM

We told those guys to buzz off. They just couldn't explain their value proposition over our current MDU provider.

We are curious about exploring fiber here w/FIOS via Verizon. A Verizon tech that was here claimed that they could deliver D* service via fiber w/o requiring all residents to replace their DVR's and/or receivers. I hadn't heard that before and am not sure it's accurrate, b/c I know FIOS is a tv service in addition to a internet service.


That is correct, Fios is verisons television product. They do not deliver D*. Its good to hear that you told the other company to take a walk.
Daniel D. Corum
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