Posted: September 08, 2020
Slim Down: The Patch Cable Diet
It’s easy for the once-cavernous space of a data center to turn cramped and congested. The space isn’t growing, but the equipment and need for connectivity is. The solution? Slim Cat6 patch cables to help reduce space, improve airflow, and provide easier management in a bustling data center.
Cat6 Slim Ethernet patch cables have done their share of diet and exercise, going from 24AWG on standard Cat6 cables down to 28AWG. In terms of overall diameter, that is a physical slim down from 5.3mm OD to 3.5mm OD.
Easier to Manage
Compared to standard Cat6 these slim patch cables are easier to handle and route from switch-to-server links in high-density data centers. Decreased overall diameter means increased flexibility. Running patch cables around corners, in crowded racks/closets, and through panels just got much easier. With the space saved it switching to slim, it also helps in providing a clear line of sight to identify ports on patch panels.
Smaller cable diameter equates to more airflow and better ventilation in racks and cabinets. This decongestion helps with equipment cooling in racks and server rooms and helps overall maintenance of hardworking networks.
If your data center could use some room to breathe, consider our E-Core Cat
Posted: July 28, 2020
How To Manage the TanglePatch panels are the cornerstone of a well-tuned data center. They provide some method to the madness of incoming and outgoing networking cables and help with future growth and trouble-shooting.
A patch panel is an arrangement of ports on one panel, which can be mounted to a rack or wall. Patch panels allow you to bundle and connect multiple ports for incoming and outgoing lines. They’re great cable management and network solution to centralize telecommunications and data equipment in communications closets, central offices, and data centers.
What is the purpose of a patch panel?
A patch panel is a mounting assembly with a set number of ports to connect incoming and outgoing copper and fiber lines. In most data centers a patch panel is installed on a rack in a communications closet to connect racks to one another. On the front face of the panel, patch cables, like ethernet and fiber optic cables, connect to servers and network switches. In the rear of the patch panel, bare wires are punched down to and from other patch panels.
Patch panels are commonly used in Localized Area Networks (LAN) because of how easily you can connect computers to one another, or to outside lines for internet access. To create and arrange circuits you only need to plug or unplug correlating patch cables.
What are the advantages of patch panels?
1) A patch panel provides a simple organization and management solution when dealing with an array of patch cables that can easily become tangled or mismatched. Labeling each run in a patch panel allows for easy identification and troubleshooting down the l
Posted: July 14, 2020
Choosing the Right WiFi Antenna
To identify the right antenna for your WiFi application it is important to note the differences in omnidirectional and directional antennas. Either the signal is radiating out in every direction, which is called omnidirectional, or there is a reflective surface to focus the signal in a specific direction, which is called directional.
Depending on your primary application there are ceiling, panel, Log Periodic/Yagi, fixed omni, and rubber duck antennas. These antennas operate at different frequencies and gains depending on whether they are radiating signals in omnidirectional or directional reach.
Here are some applicable network scenarios where these antennas would be put into use:
To connect two buildings:
To connect two buildings on the same WiFi network, you will need a directional antenna to create a point-to-point wireless link. A Yagi or Parabolic Grid antenna would be mounted to the top of each building and point at each other inline. It is important that there is a clear line of sight between these two directional antennas. For instance, trees and other buildings/structures will impede the signals sent and received from these antennas.
Posted: July 09, 2020
What You Need to Consider When Purchasing Antennas
When buying an antenna there several factors that go into finding the right solution for your network. Without proper consideration, you will not achieve the desired connectivity, which can result in a loss of time and money.
The basic function of an antenna is to take a signal traveling through a cable and convert it to a signal that can travel through the air. The most common applications for antennas are Wi-Fi/WLAN networks, the “Internet of Things” (IoT), and in public safety/first responder systems.
Since there are many different types of antennas, these are a few of the major items to consider before you buy an antenna:
- What is the application?
- What frequency do you need?
- Is there a certain gain or square footage of coverage you need?
- Do you want coverage everywhere, or in at a specific point?
- Which connector types do you need?
Here are a few of the most common questions to help you understand which antenna works best for your application.
What kinds of antennas are there?
The differentiating factor in antennas is how they are sending their signal. Either the signal is radiating out in every direction, which is called omnidirectional, or there is a reflective surface to focus the signal in a specific direction, which is called directional.
5 Things to Consider When Purchasing Power Cords
When purchasing power cables, knowing what qualities to look out for will help you save time, money, and stress.
1. Plug & Form Factor
Identifying which power cords you need can be confusing. There are dozens of different NEMA & IEC jacks and plugs. The problem is even more compounded when you add-in international plugs. We have created this helpful chart to help you identify which power cord you need.
Another consideration beyond fit is the orientation of the plug. Space-saving right, left, up, or down angled plugs can help you minimize space, promote proper airflow, and prevent accidental disconnects.
2. Length: Longer is Not Better
After deciding which plug or jack (inlet or outlet) you need, you need to decide on the length. This is especially true for data center applications. Excess cord leads causes restriction of airflow, causing cooling systems to work harder. It also takes more energy to push electricity over longer cables. If you have hundreds or thousands of power cords, that adds up to a lot of extra dollars spent on increased electrical costs. Finally, longer cords are harder to manage and troubleshoot. So when picking a power cord, smaller is always better.
3. Gauge and Amperage: Efficiency & Safety Considerations
The amperage rating of a cable is directly tied to the gauge or thickness of the inner conductors. Larger gauge cable carries electricity more efficiently
Posted: June 10, 2020
Ethernet Jacket Types 101
Ethernet cable jackets are made from various materials and carry different ratings assigned by the NEC. Let’s run through some commonly asked questions about these materials and NEC ratings to help answer some common questions about which material and jacket rating is used for most installations:
What is a PVC jacket?
Polyvinyl Chloride is the backbone material in most ethernet cable jackets. It is a high strength and flexible material, which makes it a go-to jacket for most ethernet cabling. PVC is the most common material found in the below jacket ratings.
What is a PE jacket?
Polyethylene is most common with outdoor rated jackets. They are good at moisture and overall weather resistance. There is also a CPE jacket (Chlorinated Polyethylene), which is even better at oxidation, weather/UV, heat, oil, and flame resistance. PE is best used for any outdoor ethernet runs, while CPE is ideal for direct burial.
What is a CM rated jacket?
Communications Multipurpose. This is the “everyman’s” jacket. CM has some ability to prevent the spread of flame, specifically to the top of a tray in the Vertical-Tray Flame Test. This jacket type is fit for cable trays and other areas that are not classified as riser or plenum spaces. CM jackets are made from PVC. For easier identification, this type of jacket is mostly used “In-Room.”
What is CMR rated cable?
Communications Multipurpose, Riser. This cable is meant for installation in vertical shafts. CMR is made from PVC, but it is a grade of flame-retardance that prevents the spread of fire from one floor to another. CMR cable can be used as a substitute for CM, but it is not meant for plenum (air return) spaces. For easy identification, this cable is mostly used “In-Wall,” for vertical runs.
How do I know if I nee
Posted: June 01, 2020
Data Line Surge Protection
You don’t need a string of statistics to understand lightning is powerful, unpredictable, and strikes often. Take my word for it. I’ve read the “fun” facts. There is an astounding number of opportunities for mother nature to completely fry your business and home networks from both direct and indirect lightning strikes. But you can’t blame lightning for damage to modems, motherboards, serial ports, and other LAN equipment. You can’t shake a fist at mother nature for network downtime leading to a loss of business, expensive repairs/replacements, and corrupted data. What you can, and should, do is think ahead and arm your network with data line surge protectors to help secure highly integrated systems so a kiss from the skies doesn’t spell disaster for sensitive telecom and data transmission devices.
Without getting into the nitty gritty of attractive terminology like “fast diode clamp array,” and “terminal differential gas discharge tubes,” at it’s most rudimentary level a data line surge protector is a high-speed, self-resetting switch to balance communication/data lines with chassis ground when the lines become over-energized from a power surge. As much as I waxed poetic about the threat of lightning, it is almost important to factor power surges from equipment turning on/off, or from power companies during a grid switch. These instances aren’t as dramatic, but they are more common than lightning strikes and can still cause damage to networking equipment.
Our data line surge protection page offers an in-dep
Posted: May 11, 2020
1 Hour of Data and Bandwidth Usage
As offices and schools head home, competition for bandwidth is intensifying. A usually smooth operating home network can be ground to a halt under new data demands. Running multiple video conference calls, streaming binge-worthy TV, listening to music, and streaming a lecture can cause all parties to suffer extra loading times or lower quality.
To help you understand the most demanding activities, here is a list of the data usage rates for some of the most popular work from home activities.
Email <1 MB an hour.
Email is one of the lightest weight activities you can do. While usage varies based on attachments, typically, text email takes less than one megabyte per hour.
Web Browsing 60MB an hour.
Browsing the web is a multi-media experience as you read text, graphics, and video. Each element has to be downloaded, which takes up data. For typically mixed usage internet browsing, you will use around 60 MB an hour.
Skype 130MB - 700MB an hour.
Skype allows you to connect with your co-workers, friends, and family. Voice calls require around 130 MB an hour, and video calls require 700 MB an hour.
Google Hangouts 45 MB - 600 MB an hour
Similar to Skype, Google Hangouts offers voice and video calls. Voice calls are the least data demanding at 45 megabytes per hour, and voice calls higher at 600 megabytes an hour.
Zoom 810 MB an hour
Zoom is popular for its affordable video conferencing solutions. A typical hour-long Zoom video conference
Posted: April 29, 2020
Dealing with Impedance Mismatching
When selecting coax cable or certain types of coaxial connectors and adapters there are a variety of factors to consider such as jacket type, shielding, and loss. Today we want to focus on impedance, specifically what to do if you encounter differing impedances.
In coax, there are two categories of impedance 50 Ohm and 75 Ohm. Ohm is the measurement of electrical resistance. The physical properties of the cable determine if it's impedance. The hallmarks of 50 Ohm coax are high power handling and low attenuation and are used in RF applications. 75 Ohm coax is designed for low power, signal transmission efficiency, which is typically used in audio/video applications.
An easy-to-overlook aspect of cable choice is impedance. In alternating current (AC) circuits, impedance (measured in ohms) represents how effectively voltage may be transmitted through the cable, before meeting the counterforces of resistance, inductance, and capacitance. In very general terms, a low impedance rating indicates that the cable is designed to transmit a higher degree of power. Cables rated for higher impedance, on the other hand, are often more appropriate choices for data applications that prioritize signal coherence above high voltage transmission.
The problems begin when a cable with one impedance rating is coupled to a device with a different one. Called impedance mismatching, this creates a situation in the circuit where only part of the intended voltage is reaching the load. The rest rebounds back through the cable as standing waves - a phenomenon called reflection - which in turn creates echo problems for the
Posted: April 29, 2020
MPO Fiber Optics
As the need for bandwidth speed outpaces the capabilities for physical expansion, networks are evolving by offering higher density higher throughput solutions. This allows for increased data rate performance without having to invest in new physical locations. MPO cables provide high-density termination capabilities and are an ideal choice for delivering the fastest link and enabling high-speed interconnects.
Multi-fiber push-on connectors (MPO) are multi-fiber cables terminated in a single connector. They are typically available in 8, 12 or 24 fibers and are common for data center and LAN en- environments. They ease cable management and allow faster deployment in duplex 10 Gig fiber applications.
You may also see the term MTP used interchangeably with MPO connectors, but the term MTP is a registered trademark of US Conec to describe their brand’s offered connector. Moving forward in this article, we will be using the term MPO, which offers the same benefits.
MPO cables can be broken down into three categories: MPO Patch Cables, MPO Conversion Cables, and MPO Breakouts. Each type of cable is available in numerous configurations including standard, riser or LSZH jackets and OM3, OM4 or OM5 modes.
MPO cables are all about high speed and high density, which have been designed for reliable and quick operations in data c