Network Cables; How Cable Temperature Impacts Cable Reach

There is nothing more disheartening than making a big investment in something that promises to deliver what you require – only to find out once it is too late that it is not performing according to expectations. What happened? Is the product not adequate? Or is it not being utilised correctly?

Cable Performance Expectations

This scenario holds true with category cable investments as well. A cable that can not fulfil its 100 m channel reach (even though it is marketed as a 100 m cable) can derail network projects, increase costs, cause unplanned downtime and call for lots of troubleshooting (especially if the problem is not obvious right away).

High cable temperatures are sometimes to blame for cables that don’t perform up to the promised 100 m. Cables are rated to transmit data over a certain distance up to a certain temperature. When the cable heats up beyond that point, resistance and insertion loss increase; as a result, the channel reach of the cable often needs to be de-rated in order to perform as needed to transmit data.

Many factors cause cable temperatures to rise:

  • Cables installed above operational network equipment
  • Power being transmitted through bundled cabling
  • Uncontrolled ambient temperatures
  • Using the wrong category cabling for the job
  • Routing of cables near sources of heat

In Power over Ethernet (PoE) cables – which are becoming increasingly popular to support digital buildings and IoT – as power levels increase, so does the current level running through the cable. The amount of heat generated within the cable increases as well. Bundling makes temperatures rise even more; the heat generated by the current passing through the inner cables can’t escape. As temperatures rise, so does cable insertion loss, as pictured below.

Testing the Impacts of Cable Temperature on Reach

To assess this theory, I created a model to test temperature characteristics of different cables. Each cable was placed in an environmental chamber to measure insertion loss with cable temperature change. Data was generated for each cable; changes in insertion loss were recorded as the temperature changed.

The information gathered from these tests was combined with connector and patch cord insertion loss levels in the model below to determine the maximum length that a typical channel could reach while maintaining compliance with channel insertion loss.

This model represents a full 100 m channel with 10 m of patch cords and an initial permanent link length of 90 m. I assumed that the connectors and patch cords were in a controlled environment (at room temperature, and insertion loss is always the same). Permanent links were assumed to be at a higher temperature of 60 degrees C (the same assumption used in ANSI/TIA TSB-184-A, where the ambient temperature is 45 degrees C and temperature rise due to PoE current and cable bundling is 15 degrees C).

Using the data from these tests, I was able to reach the full 100 m length with Belden’s 10GXS, a Category 6A cable. I then modeled Category 6 and Category 5e cables from Belden at that temperature, and wasn’t able to reach the full 100 m. Why? Because the insertion loss of the cable at this temperature exceeded the insertion loss performance requirement.

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Easy, Cost-Effective Way to Add Power with Industrial PoE Injectors

PoE Injectors can appease the growing power demands of energy-hungry devices in applications like physical security, transportation and automation – all in one device.

  • High-efficiency, low-waste power
  • Plug-and-play installation
  • Up to 240W of power from 8 ports

For recently developed or retrofit applications in need of maximum power without device limitations, these Power over Ethernet (PoE) injectors supply a high port count and up to 240 W of power.

PoE injectors join Hirschmann’s family of products built with industrial-grade housings and specific features to provide reliable power for industrial applications. They are the easiest and most cost-effective way to add high PoE power to both new and existing applications.

Benefits

  • Choose between active (integrated power supply) or passive (standalone module) devices for increased flexibility, depending on your needs.
  • Supports up to 240 W across 8 ports without load sharing, ensuring maximum power output. Each port can provide the maximum output power of 30 W.
  • Simple plug-and-play capability and compact size saves time and space while automatically detecting connected devices.

Features

  • Benefit from up to 8 available ports that deliver 30 W of power each
  • Enable PoE communication with a high number of devices using just one PoE Injector
  • Save costs with an all-in-one-solution and an efficient transfer of power (less wasted power) of >95 percent
  • Use in extreme environmental conditions, including wide temperature ranges (-45 °C to +85 °C for injector, -25 °C to +70 °C for injector plus power supply)
  • Install quickly and easily with automatic device detection and classification (IEEE 802.3at)
  • Meet important industry standards
    – Safety of Industrial Control Equipment: EN 60950-1, EN 61131-2, UL 60950
    – Transportation: EN 50121-4

Download Bulletin

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10 Factors to consider when Choosing a Rack PDU

In it’s simplicity, rack power distribution units (PDUs) are designed to provide electrical protection and distribute power to networking equipment within racks/cabinets. As the needs and requirements of data centers altar, so do options for rack PDU performance.

There are several questions to consider before selecting rack PDUs that will work well for your data center application. This list below will aid you in the right direction, ensuring that the PDUs you choose will fit the design of your data center today and in the future.

1. Type of Mount

Depending on where you want to station it, a rack PDU can be mounted horizontally or vertically. Installed horizontally inside the rack (taking up RU space) is one option; another option is to vertically mount a PDU on the back or side of the enclosure (not taking up any RU space). You will often see one vertically mounted PDU on the left side and one on the right side of a data center cabinet (although rack PDUs can be mounted on either side, based on preferences).

PDUs can be mounted so that power cords exit either at the bottom or top of the enclosure. (If your data center is on a slab, for example, the power cord needs to exit at the top of the enclosure because there is no raised floor for it to pass through.)

2. Amperage

Your power rating – the amount of sustained power draw a PDU can handle – determines the amperage level you’ll need. Why is this important? Because, for example, a PDU with a 30A fuse will blow if a 30A circuit experiences more than 30A of power for an extended period of time.

Per the National Electrical Code, 30A PDUs or higher are required to be equipped with a 20A breaker to prevent injury in the event of a short circuit.

3. Voltage

In addition to different amperages, there are different input voltage options for rack PDUs as well; 208/240V is the most common voltage output to computing gear, with a new trend moving toward 400V input. Confirm your infrastructure voltage, and you’ll know what type of voltage you need in your PDU.

4. Single- or 3-Phase Power

What type of input power do you have access to: single-phase power or 3-phase power? The type of power distribution in your data center will determine whether you need a single- or 3-phase PDU.

The difference involves where in the distribution system the phase is broken down. When it’s broken down at the distribution panel, power to the rack will be single-phase service (requiring single-phase rack PDUs). When all three phases are brought to each rack, then a 3-phase PDU is needed. In most data centers, the input power is 3-phase service.

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Which is Right for You: 40G vs 100G Ethernet?

Companies like as Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook started their migration toward 100G in 2015 – and smaller enterprise data centers are now following suit. Plenty of these new 100G deployments adopt a singlemode fiber solution for longer reach that best suits their hyperscale data center architectures.

Comparing 40G vs. 100G optical transceivers currently available in the market, both have been developed and cost optimized for their designated reach and applications.

While weighing 40G vs. 100G Ethernet, and deciding which migration path makes more sense for your organization, here are some facts you should know:

  • Switches with 10G SFP+ ports, or 40G (4x 10G) QSFP+ ports, can support 10G server uplinks
  • Switches with 25G SFP28 ports, or 100G (4x 25G) QSFP28 ports, can support 25G server uplinks
  • 100G switches have already been massively deployed in cloud data centers; the cost difference between 40G vs. 100G is small
  • Most new 100G transceivers can easily support 40G operation
  • Some non-standard 100G singlemode transceivers are designed and optimized for cloud data center deployment; product availability for other environments is limited for the short term
  • Traditional Ethernet networking equipment giants Cisco and Arista have already started selling switch software on a standalone basis that goes into networking devices (such as a “white box” solution with merchant switch ASICs); this move accelerates hardware and software disaggregation and lowers overall ownership costs for end-users
  • According to Dell’Oro, 100G switch port shipments will surpass 40G switch port shipments in 2018.

When considering system upgrades from 10G, it’s essential to understand that 40G will also be needed to support the legacy installed base with 10G ports; 40G/100G switch port configurability will certainly accelerate 100G adoption in the enterprise market.

In 2017, 100G Ethernet is already ubiquitous – it will be mainstream, not just in hyperscale cloud data centers. Next-wave 200G/400G Ethernet will soon hit the market; standards bodies have already initiated a study group for 800G and 1.6T Ethernet to support bandwidth requirements beyond 2020.

Wrapping Up the Road to 800G

We’re almost finished with our blog series covering the road to 800G Ethernet. Subscribe to our blog to follow this series, as well as receive our other content each week. As part of this blog series, we’ve covered the following topics:

 

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Cabling Demands for Digital Buildings

2017 to be the year of the digital building, and there has certainly been progress in this direction as predicted. In fact, according to Deloitte, sensor deployment in commercial buildings could potentially grow by 79% between 2015 and 2020.

Support for Internet of Things (IoT) is growing, bringing standalone building systems onto one platform. As all these systems and devices are being connected on a single IP network, they can be integrated to gather data, make automatic adjustments and provide intelligence and analytics for informed decision-making to reduce operating costs and energy use, increase occupant satisfaction, improve safety and reduce time spent on troubleshooting and maintenance.

In some cases, existing infrastructure are already being put to the test due to cloud adoption. As augmented and virtual reality move into the workplace – whether office settings, hospitals, hospitality environments or educational institutions – and more devices join the network, demands placed on infrastructure will become more intense. (And even though this newer technology is not widely deployed yet – check back in a few years.)

What demands do these digital buildings place on cabling infrastructure? A well-designed, high-performance cabling infrastructure is what brings IoT and digital buildings to life. All of the data (and power, in most cases) required for these devices and applications is traveling via the network’s category cabling. Without it, devices wouldn’t be able to communicate to each other, gather and relay important information or be controlled and adjusted remotely.

As digital buildings take over, it’s important to keep in mind the demands they place on a structured cabling system.

Demand No. 1: More Power Needs

Digital building cabling will need to support Power over Ethernet (PoE). This cabling technology safely transmits power and data over a single standard network cable, allowing devices – cameras, lighting systems, wireless access points, etc. – to be deployed anywhere. This allows remote control and data collection on one infrastructure. As device complexity continues to increase, the amount of power these devices need also increases (up to 100W in some cases). Outdated cabling systems won’t be able to safely and successfully carry this power level.

 

Demand No. 2: Increased Temperatures

Running more power inside a network cable can increase the cable’s internal temperature. When cables get hotter, insertion loss increases. This can cause unplanned downtime and may ultimately damage the cable, hurting its long-term performance.

If cables are tightly packed in trays and pathways, temperatures could rise even more because they can’t dissipate. When a cable’s temperature exceeds the recommended level, it may need to be de-rated – which means it won’t reach the full length promised.

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Expectation for Fiber Connectivity: Layer 0

The footprints of cloud data centers continue to increase substantially to accommodate massive amounts of servers and switches. To support sustainable business growth, many Web 2.0 companies, such as Google, Facebook and Microsoft, have decided to deploy 100G Ethernet using single mode optics-based infrastructure in their new data centers.

According to LightCounting and Dell’Oro, 100G transceiver module and switch port shipments this year will outpace last year’s shipments, with 10 times as many being shipped in 2017 vs. 2016. Shipment for 200G/400G switch ports will begin in 2018.

Data Center Architecture and Interconnects

Most intra-rack fiber connectivity has been implemented with DAC (direct-attach cables). As we discussed in our fiber infrastructure deployment blog series, system interconnects with a reach longer than 5 m must use more fiber connectivity to achieve the desired bandwidth.

100G, 200G, and 400G transceivers for data center applications have already been showcased by various vendors; massive deployment is expected to start in 2018. Based on reach requirements, different multimode and signal optical transceivers are being developed with optimized balance between performance and cost. Examples include:

  • In-room or in-row interconnects with multimode optics or active optical cables (AOCs), with a reach of up to 100 m. (New multimode transceivers, such as 100G-eSR4, paired with OM4/OM5 multimode fiber, can support a maximum reach of up to 300 m for 100G connectivity, which is suitable for most intra-rack interconnects.)
  • On-campus interconnects (inside the data center facility), with transceiver types such as PSM4 (parallel singlemode four-channel fiber) or CWDM4/CLR4 (coarse wavelength division multiplexing over duplex singlemode fiber pair) for 500 m reach.
  • On-campus interconnects (between data center buildings), with transceiver types such as PSM4 and CWDM4/CLR4 for a reach of 2 km.
  • Regional data center cluster interconnects, also referred as data center interconnects (DCIs), using coherent optics (CFP2-ACO and CFP2-DCO) for a reach of over 100 km, or direct modulation modules, such as QSFP28 DWDM ColorZ, for reach of up to 80 km.

Multimode Fiber Roadmap to 400G and Beyond

Multimode optics use low-cost VCSELs as the light source. When compared to singlemode transceivers, which utilize silicon photonics, VCSELs have some native performance disadvantages:

  • Fewer available wavelengths for wavelength division multiplexing
  • Speed is limited by the singlemode laser
  • Less advanced modulation options
  • High fiber counts needed to deliver required bandwidth
  • Shorter reach in multimode fiber (limited by fiber loss and dispersion) compared to singlemode fiber

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IP-Based Systems and PoE in Digital Buildings

Digital buildings, smart buildings, intelligent buildings, connected buildings – no matter what you name them, the sentiment is the same: A building with devices and systems that are designed to collect and share data to run as efficiently as possible without human intervention.

IP-based systems – also known as networked systems – are what make this idea possible. These systems use Internet Protocol (IP) to communicate with each other through IP addresses and data packets. All types of building devices can be IP-based:

  • Access control
  • AV systems
  • Building controls/HVAC
  • Digital signage
  • Fire/life safety systems
  • LED lighting
  • Surveillance cameras
  • Voice/data systems
  • Wireless access points (WAPs)

To function, an IP-based system needs access to power and data. When deployed in digital buildings, they offer many benefits:

Simple Scalability

Only need 15 surveillance cameras today? Then that’s all you need to install. If you decide you need more devices, the system can quickly and easily be expanded. If you decide that you need fewer devices, they are easy to uninstall. The system doesn’t require you to install a certain number at a time.

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Single-Pair Ethernet Cabling: Four New Applications

Four New Types of Single-Pair Ethernet Cabling

For years, Ethernet cabling has used four twisted pairs to carry data without worrying about noise in data lines. Recent developments in IEEE 802.3 (Ethernet Working Group) and TIA TR-42(Telecommunications Cabling Systems Engineering Committee) has unveiled four standards projects which may change that; instead of four balanced twisted-pairs cabling, these standards feature a single balanced twisted-pair Ethernet cabling.

Of these four, one will impact enterprise networks the most. We will cover this standard first, and then explain the three other types of single-pair Ethernet cables below.

IoT 1 Gbps Applications: 100 m Reach

2017 Ericsson Mobility Report says that there will be nearly 28 billion connected devices in place globally by 2021 – and more than half of these will be related to Internet of Things (IoT).

With the ability to deliver data at speeds of up to 1G, and PoE power, this standard is intended specifically for IoT applications. Known as ANSI/TIA-568.5, it will provide cable, connector, cord, link and channel specifications for single-pair connectivity in enterprise networks.

This single-pair Ethernet cable may help network professionals connect more devices to their networks as the industry moves toward digital buildings – where all types of systems and devices integrate directly with the enterprise network to capture and communicate data.

Most of the devices used in digital buildings – such as sensors – have minimal power and bandwidth requirements (in applications like building automation and alarm systems). In these cases, single-pair Ethernet cable can provide a cost-effective cabling solution. The cable is smaller and lighter than a standard four-pair Ethernet cable, so it can also reduce pathway congestion.

The three other single-pair Ethernet cable types don’t apply directly to data centers or enterprise networks, but they’re still important to understand.

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Data Centre Audits: What’s the Difference?

There are numerous things to “audit” inside a data center in order to keep it operating at peak performance. When your team starts talking about a data center audit, make sure you know your options.

Depending on your goals, and what you hope to accomplish, there are several varieties of data center audits that be conducted. Here is a summary of the most common, and what types of information they can uncover.

Security Audit

A data center audit focusing on physical security will document and ensure that the appropriate procedures and technology are in place to avoid downtime, disasters, unauthorized access and breaches. It will revolve around things like:

In addition to analysing current security processes, a security audit can also provide you with improvement recommendations.

Energy Efficiency/Power Audit

A data center energy efficiency audit helps you pinpoint potential ways to reduce energy usage and utility bills. By taking a close look at power use, the thermal environment and lighting levels, an energy audit can uncover things such as malfunctioning equipment, incorrect HVAC settings and lights being left on in unused/unoccupied spaces.

During a data center audit that focuses on energy efficiency, power usage effectiveness (PUE) can also be calculated (based on dividing total power usage by IT equipment power). By tracking this number, you can establish benchmarks and determine whether data center performance is improving or declining over time.

 

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DCIM/AIM Webinar – 24th Jan 11AM SAST

DCIM/AIM Software & Hardware Solution – Belden PatchPro®

24th January @ 11am SAST (South African Standard Time)

Join Wolfgang Schröder and Christos Birbilis from Belden to learn more about PatchPro®, Belden Data Centre Infrastructure Management (DCIM) software and Automated Infrastructure Management (AIM) hardware solutions.

PatchPro®Infrastructure DCIM/AIM solution works with PatchPro® hardware to achieve transparency and accuracy in complex, demanding environments. Adapting to any environment – small businesses, large enterprises or sophisticated data centers – PatchPro®I modular architecture allows you to license only the components you need.

Licensing is based on concurrent users, allowing you to install the software on as many workstations as you like – and allows you to grow in the future. It can also be adapted to your specific requirements without programming or expensive consulting.

With PatchPro®, you can:

  • Monitor vital systems for early recognition of potential bottlenecks, such as hotspots, excessive power usage and other critical conditions that could impact business continuity
  • Minimize the effort required to prepare for assessments, delivering data and documents to auditors for a fast signoff
  • Extract business-critical, real-time data from your network and display it in tables, charts or combined dashboards
  • Make sure existing data center capacity is utilized before investing in an expansion
  • Support any topology (star, ring, bus or mashed network structures) or any voltage (low-, medium- or high-voltage [230 V, 400 V, 500 V])
  • Integrate air conditioning, alerting, fire and intrusion detection, facility management and IT server monitoring systems

More than 2150 Clients Worldwide

Core Business:

  • Development, Distribution and Services of, Technical Software (PatchPro® DCIM-AIM)“
  • Building Information Systems, “BIS”
  • Including Cable Management and IT-Network Planning & Documentation (DCIM / AIM)