Compiled by Patrick McLaughlin
Industry veteran Herb Congdon, who as a volunteer has played a pivotal role in the development of many Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) standards covering cabling systems, has joined the TIA as a full-time employee. As of July 25, Congdon assumed duties as the TIA's associate vice president of technology and standards. He has had a lengthy tenure with TE Connectivity (previously known as Tyco Electronics and prior to that, AMP before AMP was acquired by Tyco).
Congdon has participated in the TIA's TR-42 User Premises Telecommunications Cabling Infrastructure Committee in capacities including chair, vice chair, secretary and editor. He has chaired the TR-42 Committee as well as subcommittees TR-42.1 Commercial Building Telecommunications Cabling and TR-42.8 Telecommunications Optical Fiber Cabling Systems. Congdon was one of a handful of volunteers who laid the groundwork for what would become the TIA-568-C series of cabling standards.
TIA president Grant Seiffert praised Congdon's efforts as a volunteer on several of TIA's engineering committees, saying he "has provided dynamic leadership for many years, helping to guide TIA's standard-development efforts and growing markets for the industry. We welcome him aboard, fortunate that we can now take advantage of his deep industry knowledge fulltime."
In January, BICSI awarded Herb Congdon the Harry J. Pfister Award for Excellence in the Telecommunications Industry. He also has authored numerous articles and papers, and delivered countless presentations in person and online.
TIA-942-A standard to recommend OM4
As we have reported in the past, the TR-42.1 Commercial Building Telecommunications Cabling Subcommittee of the TR-42 Telecommunications Cabling Systems Committee, continues to work on TIA-942-A, the first revision of the Telecommunications Infrastructure Standard for Data Centers.
Previously we told you that the standard will no longer recognize OM1 and OM2 multimode fiber-optic cable for backbone and horizontal cabling in the data center. Instead, OM3 and OM4 multimode fiber are the recognized media. At TR-42.1's most recent meeting, held on June 16, the subcommittee went a step further. It designated OM4 as the recommended multimode fiber for data centers. In its current draft, the TIA-942-A standard still recognizes both OM3 and OM4 as it previously had, but OM4 has been elevated from recognized to recommended.
The TR-42 Committee meets three times per year, and many of its subcommittees meet with the same frequency. The TR-42 Committee is scheduled to meet next in October. There is no established timetable for approval and publication of TIA-942-A, but based on the anticipated meeting schedule it looks like 2012, not 2011, will be the year.
Spool helps cable management
An adjustable spool recently introduced by Cooper B-Line has been designed to assist cabling installers and technicians with cable management. The spool comes with preinstalled screws and can be mounted inside cable pathways. It is expandable, adjusting between 5 and 8 inches without the use of tools. The spool has a 1.125-inch radius, which Cooper B-Line says serves to protect cable bend radii.
According to Cooper B-Line, users just rotate the spool to unlock it, push or pull it to the desired depth, and rotate it back into the lock position.
Cubs use the cloud to control access
The Chicago Cub's AAA affiliate, the Iowa Cubs, deployed Brivo Systems' ACS WebService cloud-based access-control system prior to the start of their 2011 season. Before 2011 the Cubs' facility, Principal Park, had an access-control system that included motion detectors, alerts to open doors and key/lock hardware.
The facility's director of operations Jeff Tilley said it was desirable to have more information on, and more control over, some of Principal Park's doors. Limiting access and documenting who used the doors were priorities. He got in touch with integrator Strauss Security Solutions of Urbandale, IA; Strauss demonstrated the Brivo system for Tilley and assistant manager of stadium operations Jake Samo. Both report that the system won them over with characteristics like ease of use, allowing either Tilley or Samo to operate the system from their own computer. The Brivo system controls access at Principal Park's main entrance, the front office, the facilities office that stores equipment and other items, and the personal office of the team owner.
Put in place over the winter and operational before Opening Day 2011, the system manages close to 100 employees who are divided into 12 groups of access-rights. The team is considering adding outside-contractors to the groups with facility access. They're also considering their options for using the ACS WebService's alert and reporting capabilities.
Brivo Systems customer-service personnel provide demonstration-walkthroughs of its online access-control system with interested parties.
Flat patch cords are Cat 6-compatible
The newest patch cords from Siemon are made with flat cable and are Category 6-compatible, the company says, meaning they support Category 6 transmission performance. Siemon says the flat-cable design enables these cords to provide a tighter bend radius than round-cable Cat 6 cords provide. The flat design also makes cable routing easier, the company adds.
The four-pair cords include 28-gauge wire oriented in a rectangular cross section 2.2 mm (0.089 in.) in thickness. Siemon says with this size and shape, two or three of these flat cords can be bundled in the space that one round cord with 24-gauge wires occupies.
Siemon acknowledges that often, smaller-gauge conductors such as those used in this flat-cable construction produce unreliable connections. But, the company says, these cords' contact design and cable construction hold up when other cords do not. Siemon conducted performance testing and found that return-loss performance degraded by 5 dB when other commercially available flat-construction cords were used. By contrast, the same testing with these new Siemon cords showed no degradation in return-loss performance.
Fiber assemblies feature short LC connectors
New multimode and singlemode fiber-optic assemblies from TE Connectivity feature LC connectors that are 35.4 mm in length, according to the company, making these assemblies a literal nice fit in environments where space is tight. TE Connectivity says the 35.4-mm length of the connector is from ferrule-tip to boot-end.
The company says the boot is constructed with bend-limiting characteristics that enable the assemblies' signal-integrity performance to hold up even under load. The connector's ceramic ferrules are 1.25-mm in diameter and the assemblies come with protection caps. They also feature anti-snag latches and are available as simplex or duplex assemblies.
TE Connectivity projects the fiber assemblies will be used in premises cabling, access and metropolitan networks, computer clusters and other systems.
Wall-mount bracket combines convenience, strength
ICC's EZ-FOLD wall-mount bracket with folding arms is not like other, similar products, the company says. In most products like this one, hinging the arms weakens them and can lead to instability of the entire bracket. Not so with the EZ-FOLD, ICC says. This wall-mount bracket can be folded to 2.5 inches in height then unfold to extend to 15 inches. However, once it is unfolded and securely mounted, the hinges do not bear weight because both arms receive support through stud or backboard mounting screws. The product's double-row screw mounting also enhances the weight that it can bear, ICC says.
The EZ-FOLD is available in sizes of 2, 4, 6 or 8 RU. In models larger than 2U, a divided hinge allows access every 2U. The bracket accommodates ties for cabling management. It is made of 16-gauge steel and covers are available for both top and bottom.
Corning's DAS boosts connectivity for Orlando hotels
Corning recently announced that its Corning MobileAccess business, which provides distributed antenna system (DAS) technology for indoor wireless connectivity, has provided DAS to seven hotels and a convention center in the Orlando, FL area. For years the Orlando-area Disney World resort has dubbed itself "the happiest place on Earth." With close to 5,000 hotel rooms and in excess of 1.7 million square feet of hospitality space covered by Corning MobileAccess DAS, some spots not far from Disney might claim to be the most connected places on Earth.
According to Corning, its systems can support multiple services, including 4G LTE MIMO, via a single infrastructure. Vice president of product management for MobileAccess, Jeff Kunst, explains that PCS carriers are the entities that made the investments for these systems in Orlando. Kunst described the carriers as "rising to the challenge" and said that MobileAccess is supporting these carriers' efforts at network improvement through its DAS technology.
Corning pointed out The Peabody Orlando in particular as one facility that benefits from the enhanced wireless coverage afforded by DAS. The four-star hotel's regional IT director Brian Seays says that a part of the property's mission is for guests to have wireless access that is as reliable inside as it is outside. He adds that the MobileAccess system eliminates dead spots and is good for staff as well as guests because it allows them to offer high levels of service and security.
Fiber-system design covered in DVD
Fiber Optic System Design is the title of a DVD available from The Light Brigade. The menu-based DVD demonstrates how to design fiber-optic transmission systems for LANs, MANs and WANs. It covers physical layout, component integration and loss-budget calculation.
Organized into chapters, the DVD includes emphasis on factors that can degrade signal quality, such as attenuation, dispersion in singlemode fibers, and bandwidth limitations in multimode fibers. The design processes discussed range from point-to-point networks, to far more complex DWDM, ROADM and FTTH/FTTB systems.
Among the materials on the DVD are a student quiz written in Microsoft Word so that it can be customized.
Water-cooled ceiling-mount AC
The CMW30 is a water-cooled, ceiling-mount air conditioner from MovinCool, which the company engineered for data centers and other environments in which heat loads are dense but there is insufficient space for an air-cooled conditioner unit. MovinCool says the CMW30 has a 29,400-Btu total cooling capacity.
Its 20-inch height enables it to be placed above a drop ceiling, the company says. It does not require external condensing, connections for refrigerants or charging. Its IEER (integrated-energy-efficiency ratio) is 17.0. The company says that high number is achieved through a variable-speed inverter compressor and inverter fan motors. The company also notes that the unit uses R-401A refrigerant.
Cabinet PDUs monitor individual device power
Smart POPS (Per Outlet Power Sensing) power distribution units from Server Technology Inc. make up a new product family of cabinet power distribution units (CDUs). The products are capable of individual device power monitoring with secure "always-on" outlet status, the company says. Server Technology's president Brandon Ewing said the company developed the Smart POPS product family based on the needs of data center managers who require measurements of individual device-level power, with secure outlet power that is always on.
The company recalls the history of the product line's development: A financial institution was looking for technology that would provide power measurements on individual servers, while also providing assurance that the outlet state would never be turned to "off." Server Technology's Switched CDUs provide outlet-reboot status, the company says, but its Smart CDUs maintain "on" status for its outlets at all times. Product manager Steve Hammond explains that some customers prefer the security of non-switched receptacles, in part out of concern that a person could unintentionally power down the wrong outlet. The Smart POPS CDUs answer that call.
Server Technology says that once the financial-institution customer began using Smart POPs CDUs, it began to measure power consumption per device with the "always-on" outlet state. The data this customer gathered allowed it to identify underused servers and take appropriate action, Server Technology says. The customer also uses the monitoring package Sentry Power Manager, through which it monitors and trends power on all its connected devices.
Toolless Cat 6A jack slims down
The toolless Category 6A screened jack from Excel Networking Solutions is 16.2mm wide x 28.3mm deep x 21.5mm in height. The cabling manufacturer says that 28.3-mm depth is 10-percent shallower than other available Cat 6A screened jacks.
Excel says the overall size reduction, along with the jack's strain-relief capability built into its butterfly-style termination clamp, allows for entry from top, rear, sides and below. This smaller version of the jack includes a die-cast housing, 360-degree screening and butterfly opening like the previously released standard-depth jack does.
According to Excel, third-party testing lab Delta has verified the jack to Augmented Category 6/Class EA specifications as defined in ISO 11801 2nd Edition Amendment 1 and ANSI/TIA-568-C.2 cabling standards.
Excel product manager Simon Robinson says the jack is particularly appropriate in confined spaces like shallow back boxes, floor boxes, and data centers where space is a concern.
Cable labeling standards seek harmony, backward-compatibility
The forthcoming TIA-606-B Administration Standard for Telecommunications Infrastructure is likely to fulfill the double-duty of being backward-compatible with its predecessor TIA-606-A and being harmonized with the international labeling/administration standard ISO/IEC TR 1476-3-2-1. In order to achieve both of those objectives, the TIA-606-B standard most likely will permit two identification schemes. Differences between the two schemes would be minor, mainly consisting of different delimeters between fields.
The international cabling administration standard, ISO/IEC TR 14763-2-1 was recently approved for publication. Early in that standard's development it adopted the identifier scheme that also will be specified in TIA-606-B. The ISO standard's official title is ISO/IEC/TR 14763-2-1 Ed. 1.0 Information technology - Implementation and operation of customer premises cabling - Part 2-1: Planning and installation of copper cabling - Identifiers within administration systems. The standard was recently approved for publication.
The 606-B standard will have a longer wait than the ISO spec. The TIA TR-42.6 Subcommittee on Telecommunications Infrastructure and Equipment Administration continues to work out details of 606-B. The standard is still going through industry balloting, which is a standard-development stage that precedes default balloting. After default balloting is completed the standard is submitted for publication.
10-GbE grows while overall Ethernet shipments decline
In-Stat's most recent quarterly report on the shipment of Ethernet ports says 10-GbE gained in early 2011 while overall Ethernet port shipments receded. The year-over-year (first quarter 2011 vs. first quarter 2010) growth for 10-Gbit Ethernet was 21 percent. Otherwise, In-Stat released Q1 numbers for Ethernet as a whole. Or, perhaps we should say, as a hole. Port shipments fell 7 percent in Q1 compared to Q4 and revenues were down 12 percent. Gigabit Ethernet was a key subset, with port shipments falling 6.5 percent and revenues down 15.6 percent from Q4-2010 to Q1-2011.
In-Stat noted a shift in consumption by geographic region, with Asia-Pacific and "rest of world" (including Latin America) gaining share in the first quarter of this year. APAC consumed 31.7 percent of shipments, gaining a full point from the 30.7-percent share it held in Q4. And In-Stat analyst Brad Shaffer pointed to Latin America as the primary reason the ROW region climbed to 7.5 percent of all shipments in the first quarter.
BICSI releases 5th edition of OSP design manual
BICSI has released the 5th edition of its Outside Plant Design Reference Manual (DRM), an 11-chapter, 909-page volume that soon will be the basis for the association's suite of courses covering OSP cabling system design.
It replaces the 4th edition of the DRM, which had 13 chapters. BICSI calls this 5th edition "a complete update" to the previous edition. A chapter that is new to the 5th edition covers passive optical networks, wireless broadband, intrusion-detection and alarm circuits and other information. BICSI also says that much of the material from the 4th edition has been reformatted into new appendices. The 5th edition has six appendices that follow its 11 chapters. The association says the chapter on pathways and spaces underwent significant revision, including the addition of detailed design information on aerial, underground and direct-buried cabling infrastructure.
The Outisde Plant Design Reference Manual 5th edition is available in print, CD-ROM, downloadable and multi-user versions.
Tray holds up to 2,200 Cat 6 cables
The Hoffman Quick Tray Pro line of cable tray from Pentair Technical Products is available in sizes that accommodate between 122 and 2,200 cables of a standard Category 6 diameter. The line is available in depths of 2, 4 and 6 inches and widths of 4 to 24 inches. Custom sizes are also available.
Accessories and supporting components are also available, such as splices, connectors, brackets, cable guides and supports. The company says that these accessories, as well as the trays themselves, equally distribute the weight of the cables they support. Standard finishes are pregalvanized and black powder-coat; custom options available include electro-zinc plated, pewter and stainless steel. Pentair also offers the Hoffman Quick Tray Pro products with flat-shaped wire, which the company says increases the contact area between the tray and the cables, and consequently reduces wire pressure by approximately 75 percent.
Pentair says the trays' T-weld design eliminates sharp edges and catch points. The trays are UL- and cUL-listed, and NEMA- and NFPA-approved.
Ixia buys WiFi test company VeriWave
Network-test-equipment manufacturer Ixia announced in June it has reached an agreement to acquire WiFi and WLAN tester maker VeriWave in a deal the company expected to be completed in July. Ixia did not release the purchase price or other conditions of the deal.
What Ixia did say is that the proliferation of sophisticated mobile devices, along with the growing number of applications and services moving to "the cloud," make this deal worthwhile. When announcing the acquisition, the company said that the prevalence of devices like smartphones, tablets and netbooks increase customer-access demands and quality-of-experience expectations. And with the move to the cloud, ever-increasing numbers of apps and services are being accessed remotely by these wireless devices. Ixia said that as a result, WiFi is now mainstream in industries like healthcare, education, retail and hospitality, though many people might amplify that statement by saying wireless has been mainstream in these industries for a long time. But these wireless systems are now being required to perform better than they ever have.
Ixia's top executive Atul Bhatnagar said the weaving together of VeriWave's capabilities with those of Ixia will enable stakeholders of all types (carriers, MSOs, enterprise and network equipment manufacturers) to access test capabilities for the complete end-to-end wireless ecosystem. The company said, "VeriWave's leading WiFi capabilities will enable Ixia to provide one of the industry's most comprehensive end-to-end testing platforms for converged performance testing."
USConec scientist awarded for optical-connection technology
Dr. Toshiaki Satake, chief scientist at USConec Ltd., was recently given a special achievement award and cash prize for "Development of Optical Fiber Connection Technology" by the Japan IEICE organization, for Dr. Satake's work developing MT multi-fiber connection technology.
The basic MT ferrule design and selection of material for molding the ferrule and process for termination fiber ribbon was completed by Dr. Satake at NTT Laboratory in the 1980s. Widespread use followed in the NTT network, which proved the low-loss, long-term reliability, and economical method for ribbon connections.
In 1992 Dr. Satake was a founding member of USConec Ltd. At USConec, he introduced the MPO-style dry mating connector with MT ferrule, which became popular in the United States for connections in large-scale digital switch/router systems and for data center cabling.
Dr. Satake presented the merits of MPO connectors, capable of connecting up to 80 fibers, at many standards meetings held by TIA, ANSI, IEEE and IEC. All those organizations adopted standards based on the MT technology. More recently, MT-style connectors have been used in FTTx networks and supercomputer backplanes.
Bill Blubaugh, president of USConec, remarked, "Dr. Satake has had a large impact on the optical connector industry and the success of USConec, enabling several key applications with high-density, reliable and cost-effective solutions. He has tirelessly shared his knowledge to gain acceptance for one application after another for over 25 years. Everyone at USConec is proud of his receiving this IEICE award and prize for this accomplishment."
AFL supplying Nigerian fiber-backbone infrastructure
AFL recently announced it is supplying fiber-optic cable and equipment to Nigeria's first open-access fiber-optic backbone network. Nigeria's National Broadband Carrier Network Project includes 14,000 kilometers of fiber-optic network linked through regional network owners to enable advanced communications to all regions of the country.
Network owner Dangote Industries Limited is installing more than 3,000 km of fiber-optic cable supplied by AFL to link to this open-access backbone network, which is operated by Dancom Technologies and will interconnect directly with Phase3 Telecom. The Dancom network construction incorporates AFL's SkyWrap solution, a fiber-optic cable that is helically applied on existing ground or phase conductors using specially designed installation equipment.
"AFL is honored to participate in such an important project that will directly impact the lives of the people of Nigeria," said Paul Thompson, managing director of AFL in Europe. "Given the difficult terrains, wetland and environments of the Niger Delta region where part of this installation is located, SkyWrap was the perfect solution for this project."
Boye Olusanya, managing director of Dancom Technologies, commented, "The lower eastern half of the project was completed and is now ready to carry commercial traffic. The SkyWrap solution has enabled this first stage of installation to be deployed quickly at an average rate of between 5 and 9 kilometers per day with minimal disruption to existing power services."
Aliko Dangote, president and chief executive officer of Dangote Industries, offered similar praise for the cable construction: "AFL SkyWrap technology is allowing us to bring secure and reliable high-bandwidth data services to many regions of Nigeria where capacity and quality of network services were very limited. When completed the Dancom and Phase3 network will be part of the only neutral open-access national fiber backbone in Nigeria."
Stanley Jegede is Phase3 Telecom's chief executive officer. He said, "The deployment of the Dancom network is a welcome development to the telecom industry in Nigeria as it helps to achieve a one-network objective that will enable transmission on a more secure right-of-way across the country."