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Created on Friday 3rd January, 2014.

RF Digital have recently completed the design supply installation and commissioning of a Fibre IRS (FIRS) distribution system to feed 167 apartments and a 14 storey office development. The system was designed around a conventional 13, 9 and 5 wire IRS copper system but utilised the latest fibre technology. From the initial design meeting it was decided that the market block would receive services from 3 satellite positions and the affordable block would receive 2 satellite positions all from the same satellite dishes. The services to be received where Astra 28 for Sky, Hotbird 13 and Arabsat 26 to provide a variety of foreign language channels. The main infrastructure utilises fibre optic technology starting with fibre LNB's through ODU's various lengths of fibre cable to Gateway Termination Unit (GTU's). At each GTU location the signal reverts back to copper for the final connection to each dwelling.

The project posed several issues due to the location and size of the site, the need to provide different services to each of the 3 buildings and the location of the satellite dishes. With careful planning and consultation between RF Digital, the consultants, the client and main contractor we overcame all issues to successfully deliver a working system with the provision to utilise satellite dishes 800 metres away if the existing dishes ever loose line of site.

The apartment side of the development was split into 2 systems, the Market block containing 95 apartments with 5 individual feeds providing Freeview and services from all 3 satellites on all 5 cables. The affordable block contained 72 apartments with 3 individual feeds providing Freeview and services from 2 satellites on all 3 cables.

When it came to testing and commissioning we chose to use the Promax HD Ranger + analyser enabling us to set the dishes directly from the fibre LNB and test the fibre cabling and components but also test all TV and Satellite services. The Promax also allowed us to Disec switch between all satellites  directly from the switches which was a huge advantage over other meters when it came to witness testing.

Adam Beardsmore comments that it is important for them to provide a quality and reliable distribution system and whether on conventional coax or Fibre the only way to do this successfully is by the use of the Promax HD Ranger+ analyser as it gives them confidence that the system is working correctly at every point.

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