Editor's Picks

Dec. 23, 2020

Compiled by Matt Vincent

CommScope appoints new president and CEO

CommScope on October 1 announced that Eddie Edwards, president and chief executive officer, has stepped down after 15 years of service to the company. Succeeding Edwards is Charles “Chuck” Treadway, who has been appointed as president, CEO and a member of the CommScope board of directors. The leadership transition is the result of the company’s ongoing succession planning program led by its board of directors, said a press announcement.

Edwards commented, “It has been my great privilege to serve as CommScope’s CEO and to work with such an incredibly talented team to advance our mission of serving customers in developing the most advanced networks in the world. As a team, we have transformed the company from a structured cable and connectivity business to an industry-leading provider in virtually all aspects of telecommunications and broadband networks. I expect the company will continue to advance under Chuck’s leadership, and I look forward to the company’s future successes.”

Treadway has served 17 of the last 20 years as the CEO of various global businesses located in the U.S., China, and Latin America. Most recently, he served as CEO of Accudyne Industries, where he drove significant revenue growth and margin expansion with strategic focus, product innovation, improved sales and marketing efforts, and disciplined execution, CommScope said when announcing his appointment.

Prior to Treadway’s role at Accudyne Industries, he held various leadership positions at Thomas & Betts, including president and CEO from 2012 to 2016, president and chief operating officer from 2011 to 2012 and group president of the company's electrical unit from 2009 to 2011. He previously served in several management and executive positions at Schneider Electric S.A., Prettl International, Inc. and Yale Security, Inc.

The company also announced that Frank M. Drendel, in recognition of his unique status and distinguished service to CommScope, has been named Chairman Emeritus. Drendel founded CommScope in 1976 and has served continuously as its CEO and/or chairman of the board since.

Flexential breaks ground on new Hillsboro, OR data center

Flexential, a provider of data center colocation, cloud and hybrid IT services, broke ground for its third data center in Hillsboro, OR, located outside of Portland, on October 1. The Flexential Portland-Hillsboro 3 data center was announced this summer.

Flexential's Hillsboro 3 data center will total 358,000 square feet and 36 MW, offering 1,500 watts per square foot of power density and the highest cooling efficiency in the region, Flexential said, with zero water usage and a 100% renewable energy campus. The provider added that this data center will provide minimal latency domestically with fiber connections to all major U.S. cities. It is also home to two trans-pacific subsea cables.

Sitting on diverse metro fiber rings, Hillsboro 3 will have access to the current and future data centers in market and will service seven transpacific submarine cable systems. The newest ring consists of 3,456 fiber strands, 1,700 of which run between Hillsboro 2, the network access point (NAP) of the Northwest and Flexential's Hillsboro 3 data center.

Flexential notes its Portland-Hillsboro 3 facility's unique high-density capabilities make it an ideal environment for power intensive applications such as artificial intelligence and machine learning. The four distinct and separate 60,000-square-foot, 9-MW data halls and 24-foot ceilings provide a highly efficient cooling design.

On October 1, Flexential held a virtual groundbreaking with customers, partners, Flexential executives and area leaders. Flexential's Hillsboro 3 delivery team consists of The Mulhern Group, KW Engineering, Sturgeon Electric, and Skanska as the construction contractor.

"Together with our partners we are focusing on a customer-first approach for design and construction, working together to make sure Flexential's customers have the security, power and resources they need to succeed when we open and for decades to come," said Michael Silla, senior vice president of data center design and construction, Flexential.

LU-CIX deploys ADVA ALM fiber monitoring system

The Luxembourg Commercial Internet Exchange (LU-CIX) has deployed the ADVA ALM fiber monitoring system, ADVA announced. The deployment in LU-CIX’s backbone infrastructure enables rapid and accurate detection and troubleshooting of potential fiber network issues, the company says.

ADVA’s partner Telindus, a brand of Proximus Luxembourg, assisted in the deployment.

“We needed a solution that delivers precise, automated, up-to-the-minute root-cause analysis combined with permanent measurement. That’s why we chose the ADVA ALM. It enables our team to tackle issues more quickly and efficiently, while also addressing an area of security exposure,” commented Michel Lanners, chief information officer of LU-CIX.

LU-CIX leverages the company's ALM technology to pinpoint areas of network degradation, quickly institute countermeasures, and redirect traffic away from the degraded optical routes, says ADVA.

Lanners adds, “One of the key advantages of the ADVA ALM is that it offers significant improvement without a major addition to our existing network. It delivers total insight and full control without significant investment. What’s more, the technology enables us to improve the integrity of our network and detect eavesdropping attacks. With the ADVA ALM, we can remotely measure attenuation and stay one step ahead of attacks using a splitter or bending coupler.”

The system also enables LU-CIX to differentiate system faults from problems in the fiber plant. ALM enables transparent, service-agnostic monitoring without interfering with the traffic on the fiber network, says ADVA. It also can help detect network intrusions.

Hartmut Müller-Leitloff, ADVA’s senior vice president of sales for the EMEA region, said, “Our ALM now ensures that LU-CIX has an intricate understanding of its fiber network. For maintenance teams, that means no more false alarms, no unnecessary site visits and no wasted hours finding faults. Now problems can be diagnosed and dealt with long before they affect services. Not only will this help to reduce operational expenses and maximize resource efficiency, but it’s also a key tool for maintaining valuable SLAs.

"LU-CIX is crucial to Luxembourg’s internet sector and one of Europe’s key internet hubs. By harnessing our unique plug-and-play device to further enhance the stability and efficiency of its infrastructure, it can continue to provide a secure and trusted environment in the heart of Europe.”

SOLiD intros RocketWAVE 5G mmWave repeaters

SOLiD recently introduced its RocketWAVE 5G mmWave repeaters, based on Intel mDR and FPGA technologies to address coverage challenges in high-band spectrum.

The licensing of Intel technology enhances SOLiD’s prior investment and development of 5G mmWave repeater technology. Building on the success of multiple trials, the companies' alliance leverages Intel’s field-proven technology to accelerate the time-to-market and improve the features of SOLiD’s RocketWAVE 5G mmWave repeaters, the company stated.

SOLiD noted there are three primary use-cases for enhancing coverage with 5G mmWave repeaters: mobile outdoor urban, mobile in-building, and fixed-wireless access.

Outdoor urban 5G mmWave mobile coverage faces challenges resulting from reduced range and easily obstructed high-band signals. SOLiD says its RocketWAVE 5G mmWave repeaters overcome these limitations by extending coverage distance and retransmitting signals around obstructions, which reduces capex by decreasing the required number of 5G cell sites.

For its part, in-building 5G mmWave mobile coverage is not practical with an outside-in macro-cellular approach because high-band signals do not penetrate buildings, contends SOLiD. To solve for this, the RocketWAVE repeater technology receives 5G mmWave signals from a rooftop or wall-mounted donor antenna and repeats the signals to antennas inside the building.

Finally, SOLiD notes that fixed wireless access leverages the massive bandwidth of 5G mmWave to provide high-speed and low-latency data connections. But these connections mainly benefit from line-of-sight conditions from the 5G gNb to the customer premise equipment typically located on the windows of a building.

In fixed wireless access applications, SOLiD says its RocketWAVE 5G mmWave repeaters extend line-of-sight conditions and overcome the coverage gaps in the network by intelligently repeating signals around obstructions such as foliage, buildings, and natural terrain.

Netgear debuts purpose-built switches for AV networking applications

Netgear, Inc. recently announced the addition of a series of switches, dubbed the AV Line, designed and built especially for the growing audio video over IP (AV over IP) market, and optimized for Pro AV customers who now "don’t have to settle for an IT-centric interface with settings and IT-specific functionality they will never need," as reckoned by the manufacturer.

The new M4250 AV interface presents common AV controls up front with user-selectable profiles for common AV platforms, making it intuitive to ensure settings are correct for a specific audio or video application. The M4250 line of switches also supports advanced configurations and a robust set of features for many different types of installations. The Netgear web-based IT GUI along with console, telnet, and SSH connections and a standard, out-of-band Ethernet port are all available for deeper settings adjustments. Additional features include static, RIP and PIM routing, DHCP server and PTPv2.

One highlight feature designed into the new M4250 product line is full support for Audio Video Bridging (AVB), an industry standard for transporting content over a network. AVB is used most often when very low latency is required such as in live performances when lip sync is critical. All of the AV Line M4250 switches can be optionally licensed for AVB support. Further, the manufacturer notes that codecs for transporting AV signals over a network are generally identified based on bandwidth requirements: 1 or 10 Gbits/sec per stream. The new AV Line of M4250 switches targets the widespread 1-Gbit/sec codecs, giving installers a much wider range of AV-over-IP applications than is usual, according to Netgear.

“Until today, AV professionals had only a few suitable options for network switches; they had to use IT-based products and learn how to make them work, resulting in a lot of frustration,” notes Laurent Masia, director of product line management for managed switches at Netgear. “Netgear has collaborated intensively with the Pro AV world to better understand the challenges they face. The result is this new AV Line of M4250 switches with out-of-the-box functionality and an industry-first concurrent second user interface solely designed with the AV Pro in mind.”

The M4250 switches are designed for a clean integration with traditional rack-mounted AV equipment, according to Netgear. A black display panel provides port and activity status in the front, with all power and network cabling organized in the back. However, when ports are desired on the front of the rack, reverse rack mounting is possible with an included pair of recessed rackmount ears that allow room for the cabling. Additional options for mounting outside the rack are available with universal, threaded holes located on the bottom and the front of each switch.

The switches launching as part of the AV Line series range from 8 to 16 ports with a variety of PoE+ (30W per port) and Ultra90 PoE++ (90W per port) options. In addition, uplink choices include 1G for audio installations or standalone video installations as well as 10G uplinks for larger-scale video deployments. The AV Line M4250 series also includes 12-port multi-gigabit Ethernet and 16-port 1G/10G fiber models for plug-and-play aggregation in a star topology.

Software-controlled fan adjustments enable the fans to be turned off when ambient temperature and PoE loads are appropriate for fanless operation of the M4250 switches.

Single-pair Ethernet PHY transmits 10-Mbit/sec signals up to 1.7 km

Texas Instruments (TI) has introduced a new Ethernet physical layer (PHY) capable of transmitting 10-Mbit/sec Ethernet signals up to 1.7 km through a single pair of twisted wires. The company notes the extended cable reach of its DP83TD510E PHY is 1.5 km more than the 200-meter requirement of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802.3cg 10Base-T1L single-pair Ethernet specification. TI says this additional cable length helps designers extend the reach of industrial communications without increasing system weight or cabling costs.

As explained by a TI press announcement, “As the complexity of factory and building automation systems continues to grow, so does the need to transmit more data to and from nodes at the network edge. The ability to directly access edge-node applications can improve control and status monitoring while also streamlining data sharing between networked systems. Current solutions for bringing connectivity to edge nodes often use a fragmented system of multiple fieldbus protocols supported by protocol conversion through network gateways. Unifying networks through protocol conversion increases complexity and cost while also limiting the ability to remotely monitor edge-node applications. The DP83TD510E helps designers implement a single communications network, from controller to edge node, that is capable of transmitting full-duplex data over a single pair of twisted wires. By eliminating the need for additional protocols, gateways and cables for higher-bandwidth communications, designers can simplify network management while improving system control and interoperability in long-distance applications including HVAC valve and actuator control, field transmitters, elevator main controls and fire alarm control panels. When upgrading to single-pair Ethernet from two-wire fieldbus technologies, such as 4- to 20-mA current loops, designers can further streamline network design and reduce installation costs by reusing existing two-wire fieldbus infrastructure for data and power transmission.”

TI further notes that the DP83TD510E is designed for use in intrinsically safe Ethernet advanced physical layer (APL) systems. Ethernet-APL is an Ethernet specification based on the IEEE 802.3.cg 10Base-T1L standard and was developed to streamline implementation of Ethernet networking in process automation systems with intrinsic safety requirements.

The company adds that a key design consideration of intrinsically safe Ethernet-APL systems—especially systems designed for use in hazardous environments with explosive potential—is the ability to reduce Ethernet PHY power levels and temperature during system failure conditions. By supporting external termination resistors, TI says the DP83TD510E can reduce inrush current and maintain lower operating temperatures when used in long-distance process automation applications, such as field transmitters.

In addition to helping designers more easily meet their intrinsic safety requirements, TI says the DP83TD510E's ultra-low power consumption of less than 45 mW at 1 V p2p provides additional power margin that can be reallocated to other critical circuits for increased system performance.

TI expects the device to be available in volume production at the beginning of 2021.

Study reveals concerns in current U.S. federal 5G environment

According to a recent study from market research firm Market Connections, underwritten by CommScope, only 46% of  U.S. federal government respondents to a recent survey feel their current network infrastructure is capable of supporting 5G, but 68% think 5G will have a significant impact on their agency operations within one to four years.

As noted by the study's summary, "Fifth-generation wireless (5G) is the next major phase of mobile communications. 5G is set to deliver higher data transfer rates for mission-critical communications and will allow massive broadband capacities, enabling high-speed communication across various applications such as the internet of things (IoT), robotics, advanced analytics and artificial intelligence."

From April 23 to May 13, 2020, 200 federal government decision makers involved in wired or wireless network and communications infrastructure solutions participated in the study’s blind online survey. Respondents included: 56% federal civilian or independent government agency; 40% defense, military, or intelligence agency; 3% federal judicial branch; and 2% federal legislature. (Numbers total more than 100 due to rounding.) All respondents had some knowledge of 5G adoption within their agency: 71% evaluate or recommend firms; 65% are on a team that makes decisions; 50% develop technical requirements; 38% manage or implement solutions; 17% make the final decision; and 3% have some other involvement.

Of the survey's respondents who do not feel their current infrastructure is capable of supporting 5G, none have deployed 5G, 19% are piloting, 43% are planning to pilot, and 52% are not planning or evaluating whether to pilot 5G. According to the new report, ongoing and initial costs are reported as top barriers for federal agencies wishing to implement 5G. Forty-four percent believe initial/upfront costs will be the biggest barrier and 49% are concerned about ongoing costs.

“There is no single approach to 5G and no one-size-fits-all 5G solution,” observed Chris Collura, vice president, federal business for CommScope. “This study indicates that federal agencies are at the beginning stages of 5G evaluation and deployment. As they are looking to finalize their strategy for connectivity, agencies should also consider private networks, whether those are private LTE networks, private 5G networks, or a migration from one to the other to ensure flexibility and scalability.”

The study found that remote employee productivity (40%) is one of the top desired outcomes for federal agencies looking to implement 5G, along with introducing high bandwidth (39%), higher throughput (39%) and better connectivity (38%).

Additional findings from the research include: 32% hope that 5G will make it easier to share information securely and 32% would like to see easier access to data; 82% plan to or have already adopted 5G with 6% having already deployed 5G, 14% piloting 5G and 62% evaluating/planning to pilot 5G; 71% are looking at hardware, software or endpoint upgrades to support 5G; 83% believe it is very/somewhat important for mission-critical traffic on the agency network to remain onsite while 64% feel it is very/somewhat important.

New products for power distribution, management

Two recently introduced products enhance power delivery and management in multiple applications.

Tripp Lite says its new monitored PDUs make it easy to determine the power usage of network devices. For use in data centers, computer rooms and other IT environments, these new PDUs feature outlet-level current monitoring. With this feature, the power consumption of an individual connected device can be monitored locally and remotely in real-time. The company notes that per-outlet monitoring can be especially helpful for comparing the power needs of network devices and determining exact power usage in co-location environments and other shared spaces. Available in single- and 3-phase models, the monitored-by-outlet PDUs have an HTML5-based LX Platform network interface for remote monitoring. A digital ammeter (single-phase models) or a touchscreen LCD (3-phase models) enables local monitoring. In addition to per-outlet load information, the PDUs provide the total load and the load level per bank (where applicable) of connected equipment.

Altronix, a specialist in power and data transmission products for the professional security industry, recently introduced its LINQ8ACM Dual-Voltage Access Power Controller with LINQ Network Power Management product. This system facilitates a wide range of locking devices while providing network monitoring, reporting, and control of eight independently controlled fuse or PTC protected access control outputs. When combined with the company's VR6 Voltage Regulator, the LINQ8ACM is able to select different voltages for multiple outputs from a single power source. For instant on-site verification, the LINQ8ACM is equipped with bi-color LEDs which indicate 12 or 24VDC on each of the 8-outputs. The Altronix LINQ8ACM Dual-Voltage Access Power Controller is manufactured in the U.S.A. and backed by a lifetime warranty.

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