QSFP28 Transceiver: Making the Switch to 100G Network

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As data centers around the world explore their options for increasing network speeds and bandwidth, 10G has been a traditional favorite, and 40G is not able to keep pace with the requirements. In this case, 100G network appears to be a preferable option to accelerate data flow for those bandwidth-hungry applications. QSFP28 transceiver module hence becomes the universal data center form factor for 100G optical transmission. This article will address the necessity of 100G network, while illustrating QSFP28 transceiver modules used in 100G transmission.

100G: The Optical Revolution in Data Centers

The 100G adoption rate in optical landscape is consistently on the rise for the past few years. It is predicted that over half of the data center optical transceiver transmission will make the shift to 100G. The traditional 10G or even 40G may not be enough considering the explosion of data, therefore, 100G is going to become the new standard, and it has the following advantages.

100G optical transmission vs. 40G optical transmission

Cost Efficiency—100G now delivers a compelling price point, offering far greater capacity increases for the cost. And it still future-proofing the network with unsurpassed bandwidth.

Proactive Scale—100G offers the expansion and scalability to support the reliability, manageability and flexibility demanded of modern networks while preparing data centers for future bandwidth and speed requirements.

Speed and Capacity—100G optical transport will not be enough for data intensive industries. Thus 100G is specifically designed to transport enormous amounts of data with ultra-low latency.

Flexibility—100G will be the preferred technology across long-haul networks. 100G networking can be customized, optimized, and easily expanded to allow for changes in the future.

Cost Decrease—The market transition to 100GE is now in full force. The growth in 100G deployments will undoubtedly drive down the cost of 100G transceiver modules.

100G QSFP28 Transceiver Unravel

QSFP28 transceiver generally has the exact same footprint and faceplate density as 40G QSFP+ . Just as the 40G QSFP+ is implemented using four 10Gbps lanes, the 100G QSFP28 transceiver is implemented with four 25-Gbps lanes. With an upgrade electrical interface, QSFP28 transceiver is capable of supporting signal up to 28Gbps signals. Though QSFP28 transceiver keeps all of the physical dimensions of its predecessors, it surpasses them with the strong ability to increase density, decrease power consumption, and decrease price per bit. The Following are some QSFP28 transceivers for different applications.

100G QSFP28 transceiver

QSFP28 100GBASE-SR4

100G QSFP28-SR4 came out firstly to support short distance transmission via multimode fiber. This transceiver module can support 100G transmission up to 70m on OM3 MMF and 100m on OM4 MMF. With MTP interface, the 100G QSFP28-SR4 module enables 4×25G dual way transmission over 8 fibers.

QSFP28 100GBASE-SR4

QSFP28 100GBASE-LR4

100G QSFP28-LR4 is specifically designed for long distance transmission. The module utilizes WDM technology for 4×25G data transmission, and these four 25G optical signals are transmitted over four different wavelengths. With a duplex LC interface, the 100G QSFP28-LR4 module enables 100G dual-way transmission up to 10 km over single-mode fiber.

QSFP28 100GBASE-LR4

QSFP28 100GBAS-PSM4

PSM4 uses four parallel fibers (lanes) operating in each direction, with each lane carrying a 25G optical transmission. It sends the signal down to eight-fiber cable with an MTP interface. The operating distance of 100G QSFP28-PSM4 is limited to 500 m.

QSFP28 100GBASE-PSM4

QSFP28 100GBASE-DWDM4

DWDM4 uses WDM technology—an optical multiplexer and de-multiplexer to reduce the number of fibers to 2. It can operate on single-mode fiber up to 2 km over duplex LC interface. Compared with QSFP28-LR4, it has shorter transmission distance and lower cost.

QSFP28 100GBASE-DWDM4

100G QSFP28 Cables

In addition to the QSFP28 transceiver modules mentioned above, cables can also be deployed in 100G transmission. The cables can be either direct-attach copper cables (DACs), or active optical cables (AOCs). QSFP28 DACs offer the lowest cost but are limited in reach to about 3 m. They are typically used within the racks of the data center, or as chassis-to-chassis interconnect in large switch and routers. QSFP28 AOCs are much lighter and offer longer reach up to 100 m and more.

Frequently Asked Questions About QSFP28 Transceiver
What Is the Difference Between QSFP28 Transceiver and QSFP+?

These two have the same size form factor and the number of ports, however the lane speeds of QSFP28 transceiver are increased from 10 Gbps to 25 Gbps. The increase in density is even more dramatic when compared to other 100Gbps form factors: 450% versus the CFP2.

How Many QSFP28 Transceiver Moduels Can Fit into One Switch?

With QSFP28 transceiver, a one rack-unit (RU) switch can accommodate up to 36 QSFP28 ports. While many more varieties of transceivers and cables (DACs and AOCs) can plug into these ports.

Conclusion

100G QSFP28 transceiver offers direct compatibility with your existing switches and routers, and it facilitates the process of scaling to 100G networks with the simplicity as 10G networks. With higher port density, lower power consumption and lower cost, QSFP28 transceiver is an ideal alternative for large scale data centers, as well as future network expansions. All the QSFP28 transceiver modules presented in this article are available at FS.COM. For more details, please visit www.fs.com.

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How to Integrate PoE to Your Network?

You may come across the situation when it is needed to install IP telephones, wireless access points or IP cameras to somewhere AC power outlets are not available. What would you do then? As extra power supply and wiring installation can be labor-intensified and time-consuming. The most feasible solution is to deploy PoE (Power over Ethernet)—a system standardized by IEEE802.3 that supplies low voltage power to Ethernet-enabled devices via the communication line. Here we illustrate how to upgrade your existing network to PoE.

PoE Network Explained

As its name suggests, PoE (power over Ethernet) is the technology to supply power directly via data cable, eliminating the need for additional electrical wiring. It makes network planning flexible and independent of switch sockets and cabinets, requiring no extra costs for excess wiring. Thus devices can be installed wherever structured Ethernet wiring is located, without the need for AC power outlets nearby.

PoE-power over ethernet network

Generally speaking, this technology enables network cables carry electrical power. Let’s take surveillance camera for example: it typically requires two connections when it is installed: a network connection to communicate with video recording and display equipment, and a power connection to deliver the electrical power to operate the camera. However, if this surveillance camera is PoE compatible, all we need is the network connection, as it can receive the needed electrical power from the cable as well.

PoE IP Camera

Advantages of PoE Network

We know that powered devices such as surveillance cameras and wireless access points are often located in places where traditional power outlets are difficult to install or even not available. Under such circumstances, PoE functions to facilitate the use of wireless access devices, IP phones, surveillance cameras, the benefits of which is thus obvious.

The advantages of power of Ethernet features that Ethernet is always ubiquitous, hence it greatly increases mobility for end devices. And as no AC power involved, PoE is safer to use. Moreover, it simplifies installation and operation without the need for extra AC power wiring, keeping the cabling secure while not interfering with the network operation. This makes power over Ethernet a much securer, more reliable and cost-saving solution.

How to Integrate PoE to Your Network?

Before upgrading your existing network to PoE-enabled one. You’d better firstly make clear that there are two types of devices involved in this system: power sourcing equipment (PSE) and powered devices (PD). PD refers to a power over Ethernet compatible network end device equipped to accept power transmitted over structured Ethernet cabling. PSE provides DC power to PD. A PSE may be an endspan device or a midspan device. An endspan device typically is a network switch enabled to provide PoE power on each port. A midspan device is connected in-line to each end device and adds power to the line.

There generally exist three routes to achieve power over Ethernet to your network.

1. By PoE switch: a PoE switch is a network switch that with built-in power over Ethernet injection. Simply by connecting other network devices to the switch as normal, the switch will detect whether they are compatible to power over Ethernet and then enable power automatically. This kind of switches are available to suit all applications, from low-cost unmanaged edge switches with a few ports, up to complex multi-port rack-mounted units with sophisticated management.

PoE switch

2. Using midspan: a midspan enables PoE capability to regular network switches. With midspan, one can upgrade existing LAN installations to PoE. Midspan also provides a versatile solution where fewer ports are required. Upgrading each network connection to power over Ethernet is as simple as patching it through the midspan.

PoE midspan injector

3. Via a PoE splitter: it is also feasible to upgrade powered devices (PDs) to power over Ethernet enabled ones by splitter. This splitter is patched into the camera’s network connection, and taps off the PoE power, which it converts into a lower voltage suitable for the camera.

PoE splitter

Conclusion

The simplicity of combining signal and power in one Ethernet cable connection makes PoE technology an ideal solution for enterprise network. In this case, PSE can provide power to a wide variety of PD in areas with no access to AC power. Deploying this technology in your network will lead to a safe, reliable, and economical way to deliver consistent and dependable power to common networking devices.

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Advice on Server Rack Cable Management

The proliferation of the cloud network and virtualization has brought higher network demands, which means data centers and network closets need to house and support an abundance of power and data cables. It is obvious that fail to deliver proficient cable management within a server rack can be devastated, either for network efficiency and performance, or for the overall look of the data center. The biggest challenge therefore is server rack cable management. This article intends to guide you through the process of achieving effective server rack cable management.

rack cable management

Benefits of Server Rack Cable Management

Here comes a frequently asked question: what exactly can data center operators benefit from valid rack cable management? The aspects listed below may explain.

Improved system performance: rack cable management incline to separate power and data cables within the racks, which greatly decrease the chance for crosstalk and interference between power and data cables.

Enhanced availability: mess of cable sometimes may confuse data center operators, resulting in human error that leads to an assortment of problems to the overall system. Effective rack cable management allows easier cable and IT device management, yet to reduce human error.

Improved maintenance and serviceability: effective rack cable management also ensures easier and safer access to individual components.

Increased cooling efficiency: by allowing hot exhaust air to escape out the back of the rack, cable management keeps cables organized and out of critical airflow paths.

Improved scalability: rack cable management simplifies moves, adds, and changes, making it easier to integrate additional racks and components for future growth.

Steps for Achieving Server Rack Cable Management

Then, we have made clear the importance and advantage of rack cable management. But how to achieve a well-organized and aesthetic appealing data center? We offer this seven-step guide for successful rack cable management.

Step One: Plan appropriately. Planning serves as the very primary stage for power and data cable management in server racks. An appropriate planning contributes to deliver smooth rack cable management process. Consulting a professional cabling contractor can be beneficial to complete the entire project.

Step Two: Determine the routes for power cables and data cables. First to consider if the power and data cabling will enter from the top or bottom of the rack. Then, determine the routes to separate power and data cables, and copper data cables and fiber. This helps to prevent erratic or interference from degrading the performance of the system.

separate power cable and data cableseparate fiber and copper cable

Step Three: Identify cables. Good cable identification and administration are investments in infrastructure. Implement best practices like using colored cables as well as labeling cables to ensure easier cable identification, which contributes a lot to rack cable management.

labeling cable for cable management in rack

Step Four: Route and retain cables. Cables must be protected at points where they might rub or contact with sharp edges or heated areas. Rack cable management accessories like flexible cable tie and cable management arms can be used to route and retain cables.

Step Five: Secure cables and connectors. Cables and connectors should be secured to prevent excessive movement and to provide strain relief of critical points.

Step Six: Avoid thermal issues. Ensure the airflow path is rather important, since restrained airflow can cause temperatures rise. Sustained higher temperatures can shorten devices’ expected lifespan and lead to unexpected failures, resulting in unscheduled system downtime.

Step Seven: Document and maintain organization. Documenting the complete infrastructure including diagrams, cable types, patching information, and cable counts is important for future cable management. IT managers should commit to constructing standard procedures and verifying that they are carried out.

Conclusion

Effective rack cable management helps to improve physical appearance, cable traceability, airflow, cooling efficiency and troubleshooting time while eliminates the chance for human error. Meanwhile, power and data cable management within server racks also ensures the health and longevity of your cables. Hope what we discussed in the article is informative enough.

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How to Use WDM for Fiber Capacity Expansion?

Imagine turning a cottage into a majestic skyscraper without having to deliver any innovation or construction. This is what wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) allows with your existing fiber optic network. The hunger for bandwidth propels service providers to make a substantial investment in upgrading fiber cabling infrastructure. This can be a challenge both economically and practically. However, the WDM technology offers an alternative to increase capacity on the fiber links that are already in place. Without deploying additional optical fiber, WDM greatly reduces the cost of network expansion.

WDM Technology Explanation

Let’s begin with the most fundamental question: What is WDM technology? Short for wavelength division multiplexing, WDM is a way of transmitting multiple simultaneous data streams over the same fiber. Since this happens simultaneously, WDM does not impact transmission speed, latency or bandwidth. WDM functions as multiplexing multiple optical signals on a single fiber by using different wavelengths, or colors, of laser light to carry different signals. Network managers can thus realize a multiplication effect in their available fiber’s capacity with WDM.

WDM-technology

To implement WDM to the infrastructure is rather simple, WDM setup generally consists of the following:

  • WDM transmit devices, each operating at a different wavelength
  • Multiplexer, a passive device that combines the different light sources into a blended one
  • Fiber infrastructure
  • De- Multiplexer, a passive device that splits the blended light source into separate ones
  • WDM receive devices

WDM-network-application

What Capacity Increase Can We Expect?

There are two variants of WDM: CWDM (coarse wave-division multiplexing) and DWDM (dense wave-division multiplexing). The only difference between them is the band in which they operate, and the spacing of the wavelengths and thus the number of wavelength or channels that can be used.

When using WDM on existing fiber cabling, you should also consider the fiber type (single-mode or multimode) and loss level. For CWDM, 8 to 18 devices may be possible, whereas for DWDM, up to 40 channels are the most common case, but it is possible to reach up to 160 channels.

use-WDM-increase-fiber-network-capacity

Choose the Right Type of WDM

We’ve known that both CWDM and DWDM are available to optimize network capacity. Then, here comes another question: should I choose CWDM or DWDM technology? Let’s make a comparison of them.

Coarse Wave Division Multiplexing (CWDM)

CWDM increases fiber capacity in either 4, 8, or 18 channel increments. By increasing the channel spacing between wavelengths on the fiber, CWDM allows for a simple and affordable method of carrying up to 18 channels on a single fiber. CWDM channels each consume 20 nm of space and together use up most of the single-mode operating range.

CWDM-mux-demux-function

Benefits of CWDM:

  • Passive equipment that uses no electrical power
  • No configuration is necessary, much lower cost per channel than DWDM
  • Scalability to grow the fiber capacity as needed
  • With little or no increased cost
  • Protocol transparent and ease of use

Drawbacks of CWDM:

  • 18 channels may not be enough, and fiber amplifier cannot be used with them
  • Passive equipment that has no management capabilities
  • Not the ideal choice for long-haul networks
Dense Wave Division Multiplexing (DWDM)

DWDM allows many more wavelengths to be combined onto one fiber. DWDM comes in two different versions: an active solution and a passive solution. An active solution requires wavelength management and is well-suited for applications involving more than 32 links over the same fiber. In most cases, passive DWDM is regarded as a more realistic alternative to active DWDM.

DWDM-mux-demux-function

Benefits of DWDM:

  • Ideal for use in long-haul and areas of greater customer density
  • Up to 32 channels can be done passively
  • Up to 160 channels with an active solution
  • Active solutions involve EDFA optical amplifiers to achieve longer distances

DWDM-with-EDFA

Drawbacks of DWDM:

  • DWDM solutions are quite expensive
  • Active DWDM solutions require a lot of set-up and maintenance expense
  • Very little scalability for deployments under 32 channels, much unnecessary cost is incurred per channel

To sum it up, CWDM can be typically used for applications that do not require the signal to travel great distances and in locations where not many channels are required. While for applications that demand for a high number of channels or for long-haul applications, DWDM is the ideal solution.

Considerations for Deploying WDM

Making sure that the CWDM and DWDM will perform properly is critical, so one should account for the following aspects for when deploying.

1.Before buying a mux or demux for use in an unconditioned cabinet or splice case, verify that the operating temperature will fit the application. And ensure that the CWDM or DWDM will be able to operate within the temperatures in which they will be placed.

2.Take the insertion loss of WDM network into account. Using the maximum insertion loss value in the link budget is a good idea. Calculate the loss for both the mux and demux components.

Conclusion

WDM technology provides an ideal solution for fiber exhaust problem that many communication providers are experiencing. It eliminates the need for investing on new fiber construction projects while greatly increases fiber capacity of the existing infrastructure. Hope what presented in the article could help you to choose the right WDM solution.

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Server Rack Choice: How to Make the Right Decision?

Server rack functions to organize IT equipment (servers and network switches) into assembly order to make the most use of space and resources. Therefore, it can affect the availability, serviceability, flexibility and manageability of the data center to a large extent. In other words, your daily operation and maintenance rely heavily on your rack choice. Well, since not all the server racks are created equal, it is thus essential to choose the right one that matches your current needs as well as future network growth. Then, let’s see how to choose the right server rack.

What Is a Server Rack and Why We Need it?

A  server rack basically consists of two or four vertical mounting rails and the supporting framework required to keep the rails in place. Typically made of steel or aluminum, rails and framework are capable of holding hundreds or even thousands of pounds of equipment. For now, the vast majority of IT applications use 19-inch racks and equipment. As the width of which is always the same, the height and depth can be various.

data center server rack

Be it a data center, server room or even cabinet closet, racks are always needed to accommodate IT production equipment, such as servers, storage, network switches, routers, telecommunication hardware and other devices. Server rack is designed to hold all standard 19-inch rack-mountable equipment, as long as it isn’t too deep for the cabinet or too high to fit in the available rack spaces. Moreover, server rack also holds IT infrastructures and rack accessories that support the operation of the production equipment, including UPS systems, PDUs, cable managers, KVM switches, patch panels and shelves.

Common Server Rack Types Analysis

Generally, there are three types of server rack: open frame racks, rack enclosures and wall-mount racks.

Open frame racks are just open frames—with mounting rails but no sides or doors. This kind of rack is typically used for applications that do not need the rack to perform airflow control or provide physical security. Open frame racks are optimal for network wiring closet and distribution frame applications that have high-density cabling, due to they offer flexible access and lots of open space that facilitate cable management.

open frame rack

Rack enclosures are also referred to as rack cabinets, they have removable front and rear doors, removable side panels and four adjustable vertical mounting rails. The front and rear design of rack enclosures achieves ample airflow for any installed equipment. Rack enclosures provide an ideal alternative for applications which require heavier or hotter equipment. And they often include additional rails to mount accessories like vertical cable managers and PDUs. Nowadays, rack enclosures have gained in much popularity in data centers and server rooms.

rack enclosure

Wall-mount racks just do what the name indicates—they can be attached to the wall. In this case, wall-mount racks can save floor space and fit in areas where other racks cannot. They can be open frame racks or enclosed cabinets. Wall-mount racks fail to support as much weight as their counterparts since they are basically smaller than those floor-standing ones. However, by adding rolling casters, they can also accommodate floor-standing applications.

wall-mount rack

What Should I Look for a Server Rack?

There exist a dazzling array of server rack options, in terms of different heights, sizes and styles. When selecting the server rack for your installation, here are some factors to consider:

AV vs. IT-based installations: the choice should better depend on the equipment being installed. IT racks are designed for use with traditional IT equipment in which the I/O and cabling is on the front of the rack. This makes easier troubleshooting and network monitoring. AV racks, however, are typically shallower in depth, enabling a cleaner installation by using equipment with rear facing I/O so that cabling is hidden in the back.

Airflow and cooling: these two factors are critical to the performance and longevity of the equipment installed in the server rack. Depending on the airflow condition of the place where the server rack will be located, you may need to increase the rack’s cooling capability. Fortunately, multiple cooling options are available now, but remember to consider the noise level tolerated.

Equipment width: with 19-inches being the traditional standard for rack mounted network hardware, some vendors make custom sizes for other types of equipment. Make sure to check what size of server rack your equipment requires.

Security options: while there might be a great amount of expensive equipment installed on the server rack, you have always to bear security in mind. A server rack that meets the security goal is thus essential. Locking cabinet and tinted door glass can help protecting your network from prying eyes and hands.

Conclusion

Although selecting the server rack may not sound like a big decision to make, your choice can actually affect the overall performance and operation of the network. The right type of server rack that meets your installation demand helps you improve power protection, cooling, cable management, and physical security. Taking the above factors into consideration and thinking thoroughly before making the choice.

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How to Install Splice Protection Sleeve in Splice Holder?

Fusion splicing offers a simplified and convenient way to achieve fiber optic connectivity. Providing a rather consistent and low loss mating of fiber optic stands, fusion splicing is preferred by many installers as an efficient method to connect fibers together. Fragile as the fiber joint is, it is easily impacted by stress and outside force. Hence, a splice protection sleeve should be necessarily used to safeguard the fiber splice in field and factory operations. We will present several common types of splice protection sleeve here, and try to explain how to install it in splice holder.

Splice Protection Sleeve Description

Generally speaking, splice protection sleeve is typically used to protect fiber joint in the fiber optic fusion splicing work. It basically consists of three parts: a hot melt type adhesive inner tube and a strength member, enclosed in a cross-linked, polyethylene heat shrinkable outer tube. The design ensures consistent and reliable protection of spliced fiber, and secures fiber alignment from damage during shipping, handing and installation. Here we introduce the commonly used splice protection sleeve for you.

splice protection sleeve

Single Fiber Splice Protection Sleeve

Single fiber splice protection sleeve is often with 40mm or 60mm length, whereas 45mm sleeve is specifically provided by some vendors. It is designed to offer simple, convenient and highly reliable ways to protect and reinforce single fiber splice. The highly transparent tube of single fiber splice sleeve allows for direct view of the inside joint part, which facilitates regular inspection and maintenance.

single fiber splice protection sleeve

Ribbon Fiber Splice Protection Sleeve

Ribbon fiber splice protection sleeve is used to protect mass fusion splices of ribbons. Different from single fiber splice protection sleeve, it is capable of accommodating multiple fiber splices, ranging from 2, 4, 8, and up to 12 spliced fibers. The tubes of ribbon fiber splice protection sleeve are clear to allow viewing of the fiber during and after splicing. The entire assembly is designed to ensure that all members maintain perfect alignment during handling and shrinking.

ribbon fiber splice protection sleeve

Considerations Before Installing Splice Protection Sleeve

Before installing the splice sleeve to the splice holder, do not forget to carefully inspect the finished sleeve. Basically there may exist the following common problems.

1. Debris inside the sleeve, which can cause an attenuation increase or fiber break. The solution is to thoroughly clean the fiber before sliding on the sleeve and to store the sleeves in a plastic bag to prevent debris from entering the splice protection sleeve during storage.

Debris inside the sleeve

2. Improper tension on the fiber. Fail to maintain tension on the fiber during the heat shrink process my cause non-parallel fibers that result in an attenuation increase or broken fibers. So it is essential to maintain tension on the fibers when placing into the tube heater, and avoid twisting the fiber when placing or removing from the heater.

Improper tension on the fiber

3. Cable gel or grease inside sleeve. This may have a similar effect on the fibers as solid debris and may cause bending of the fibers in a relatively short span. The solution is to thoroughly clean the fiber before sliding on the sleeve, and to not touch the fibers once they have been properly cleaned.

cable gel in sleeve

4. Sleeve splitting when heated. This happens due to improper tube heater settings or because the sleeve suffered a cut or puncture before being heated. This can be avoided by ensuring correct tube heater settings and by keeping the splice protection sleeve in the plastic bag until ready for use.

split sleeve

Method to Install Splice Protection Sleeve in Splice Holder

The spliced fibers are always stored in a splice sleeve holding apparatus of splice trays. The holders can be foam or plastic depending on the construction and dimensions of the splice tray. In this part, we offer you a proper way to achieve safe and successful installation.

splice protection sleeve in splice tray holder

Correct Installation Method

The strength member inside the splice protection sleeve is designed to provide protection during installation and removal from splice holders. To this end, one could insert the spliced fiber into a holder with the strength member in the down position. Which means it is the strength member, not the fiber, that should be installed firstly into the target holder position. This minimizes contact of the fiber and facilitates remove a splice sleeve whenever necessary.

correct splice protection sleeve installation

Incorrect Installation Method

Never install the fiber prior to the strength member or put the fiber and strength member parallel to the base of the fiber holder. This would exert excess stress to the fiber, splice protection sleeve and the fiber holder as well. The consequence is increased insertion loss of the fiber.

incorrect splice protection sleeve installation

incorrect splice protection sleeve installation-2

Conclusion

Small as it might be, splice protection sleeve provides robust and reliable protection to fiber splice in fusion splicing work. Appropriate installation of splice protection sleeve ensures optimum performance and accessibility when placed in splice holders and trays. And do remember to visually inspect the splice protection sleeve before seating them in holders.

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Use Wireless Access Point to Extend Wi-Fi Network

It is widely accepted that one annoying fact about Wi-Fi networks is their signal reach. The range of a typical Wi-Fi sometimes cannot even cover a house properly. However, Wi-Fi networks can be boosted, which means that their corresponding coverage area and signal strength can be increased via various methods. Installing a wireless access point is such an ideal and efficient way to extend the network. This article offers rudimentary information about wireless access point, and explains several vital factors concerning its installation.

What Is Wireless Access Point?

Sometimes referred to as AP, wireless access point is a device that allows other wireless devices, such as laptops, cell phones and wireless printers—to connect to the wired network through Wi-Fi. In a wireless local area network (WLAN), an access point is a station that transmits and receives data. It also serves as the point of interconnection between the WLAN and a fixed wire network. A small WLAN may only require a single access point, and the number increases corresponding to the network users and size. In the vast majority of the time, the terms Wi-Fi hotspot and wireless access point are synonymous.

wireless access point

Functions of Wireless Access Point

Wireless access point ensures enterprise-level security and high performance for any LAN environment. Which facilitates connectivity between devices and the Internet or a network. An access point can be used in conjunction with a router to extend the wireless coverage around your home/business.

wireless-access-point-function-application

Businesses sometimes deploy dozens of wireless access points to cover larger office buildings. Each of them can serve multiple users within a defined network area, as people move beyond the range of one access point, they are automatically handed over to the next one. Besides, wireless access point may be used to provide network connectivity in office environments, public places (coffee shops, airports and train stations) and larger residence. It especially helps cover those hard-to-reach corner rooms or outdoor patios.

Considerations for Installing Wireless Access Point

The wireless access point must be strategically installed to ensure seamless coverage

Building Floor and Coverage Area

Floor plan of the building is the first element when designing the placement of your wireless access point. Multiple access points may be required to ensure each can provide a strong and steady signal. Therefore a survey of your building before the installation of the access point can ensure seamless coverage and connectivity of the entire space.

Number of Employees and Devices

As for companies and enterprises, even if your company is located in one central location within the reach of one wireless access point, the device may not be able to support numerous people’s work volume. High traffic use of the Internet can slow down the speed and efficiency for everyone. Under this circumstance, you’d better install multiple access points, often limiting each to 15-20 users, for optimal signal strength in heavily occupied office spaces.

wireless-access-point-installation-factor

Obstacles

Here the obstacles refer to walls, doors, windows, and furniture that may impede the wireless signal from reaching your work-zone. Remember to keep your wireless access point away from these stuffs. Your building layout makes sense during the placement and installation process.

wireless-access-point-installation-consideration

Interference

Electronic equipment inside a building may interfere with the wireless signal. For example, health care facilities accommodate some medical electrical equipment that can decrease the signal. So it is crucial to understand the possible interference and place the wireless access point away from these factors.

Mounting

After deciding on the optimal placement of your wireless access point, you have to account for other factors concerning mounting. Never place the wireless access point to extreme temperatures or moisture environments. And try to make it aesthetic within your office. Mounting wireless access to ensure it is functional and integrated into your property.

Conclusion

By extending signal reach and network coverage, wireless access point exerts great value on optimizing network performance and capacity. It serves as an optimal solution that delivers superior performance, business-grade security, reliability and flexibility. Investing in wireless access points is the best decision you can make when it comes to getting more from your IT infrastructure and boosting productivity.

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Feed-Through Patch Panels Installation Guide

Network Patch Panels are intensively used in the Ethernet cabling installation, and they are generally regarded as a critical component in the entire cabling systems. Serving as the nerve center of the cabling network, the importance of patch panels cannot be neglected. Among the different forms of patch panels, feed-through patch panels are less messy than traditional punch down patch panels, offering an ideal alternative to existing data centers that require additional patching.

Feed-Through Patch Panels Description

Feed-Through patch panel is an in-line series of connections mounted onto a frame, which enables network cables to be terminated in an orderly manner. The numbering of the panel ports allows for the network installer to label the wall plates to match the corresponding connection at the patch panel. Feed-through patch panels are the ideal way to create a standards-based, flexible, and reliable copper platform in your data center. Available with 1U (24 ports) and 2U (48 ports) configuration, feed-through patch panels are the perfect complement to further facilitate your ease of installation and maintenance, as well as optimal flow of information. Cat5e and Cat6 feed-through patch panels are commonly used in data centers nowadays.

Cat6 feed-through patch panels

Highlights of Feed-Through Patch Panels

The feed-through patch panels have RJ45 ports on both sides for easy installation, and each panel accommodates 24 ports in 1 rack unit. The panels are available in Category 5e, Category 6 and Category 6A configurations. General features of feed-through patch panels are listed as following.

  • Simple solution for managing cables patching in high-density IT environments
  • Loaded with feed-through adapters, providing quick and easy connectivity
  • Numbered and labeled ports for easy identification and reference
  • With universal 19-inch rail spacing, sturdy metal construction
  • Without punching down the wires to the ports, it saves time and energy while maximize productivity
  • Perfect for voice and data transmission up to 10 Gbps.

feed-through patch panel

General Procedures of Feed-Through Patch Panels Installation

Use the feed-through patch panel in relay racks or communication cabinets. They neatly organize and support the data cables you’ve installed in the rear of the patch panel. Follow these steps to install the feed-through patch panels.

Step One: Find an empty rack space.

Step Two: Install the panel with the supplied 10-32 or 12-24 cup head screws.

Step Three: Install the RJ-45 patch cables on the front and rear connectors. Make sure the rear patch cables are resting on the cable management bar.

Step Four: When using the shielded feed-through patch panels, make sure to attach the necessary drain wires. Use one drain wire for each shielded module on the patch panel. Attach the drain wire in either of the two places as shown in the following picture. Connect the other end of the drain wire to proper ground. The following picture shows drain wire installation options for shielded models.

drain wire installation options for shielded models

Step Five: Use cable ties to secure the cables to the cable management bar. The figure of a completed installation is shown below.

completed installation

Conclusion

Feed-through patch panels enabling patching without punching down bulk wire to the back of the panel, and keeping patch cables neat and tidy on the rear of the panel. Moreover, feed-through patch panels also deliver excellent performance and facilitate quick and easy installations. Which makes them optimum especially for high-density data center environment, as well as for Gigabit Ethernet applications.

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Fixed-Design vs. Modular Wall Plate

Network wall plates serve as one of the basic components of a structured cabling system, which are usually placed near a workstation. Just as its name indicates, a wall plate is a flat plastic or metal plate that generally mounts in or on a wall. Actually some of the wall plate can even be mounted in floors and ceilings. Wall plates commonly include one or more jacks, here the jack is the connector outlet in the wall plates that allows a workstation to make a physical and electrical connection to the network cabling system. There exist two configurations of wall plates: fixed-design and modular wall plate, let’s see how to choose between them.

Fixed-Design or Modular Wall Plate Description

Before installing wall plate, one decision you have to make is whether to choose fixed-design or modular wall plate.

Fixed-design wall plate has multiple jacks that are molded as part of the wall plate, which means you cannot remove the jacket and replace it with a different type of connector. Fixed-design wall plates are cheap and simple to install, so they are usually used in telephone applications. However, they have limited flexibility since their configuration cannot be changed. Moreover, it is not compatible with high-speed networking systems.

Fixed-design wall plate

Modular wall plates are generic and have multiple jack locations. In a modular wall plate system, this kind of plate is often referred to as a faceplate: unless it has its jackets installed, it’s not a wall plate. Jacks for each faceplate are purchased separately from the wall plates. When using modular wall plates, remember to use the jacks designed for that wall plate system. Because jacks from different wall plate systems are not interchangeable.

Modular wall plates

Considerations When Choosing Fixed-Design Wall Plate

Before choosing a specific fixed-design wall plate for your cabling system, there are at least three factors you should take into consideration: number of jacks, types of jacks and labeling.

Number of Jacks: Because fixed-design wall plates have their jacks molded into the faceplate assembly, the number of jacks that can fit into the faceplate is limited (mostly one or two jacks). They are usually in a configuration with one jack above the other. Additionally, most fixed-design wall plates are for UTP or coaxial copper cable only.

fixed design wall plates with varying numbers of sockets

Types of Jacks: Fixed-design wall plates can accommodate a wide variety of jacks for different types of data-communications media. However, you cannot change a wall plate’s configuration once it is in place. The most common configuration of a fixed-design wall plate is the single six-position (RJ-11) or eight-position (RJ-45) jack, which is most often used for home or office telephone connections.

Labeling: It is rather important to label fixed-design wall plates so that you can distinguish one connection from another. You may find labeling extremely helpful when troubleshooting. Meanwhile, although some jacks look exactly the same, they may be used for a completely different purpose. So it is beneficial to label which is which for better maintenance and easier identification. The most prevalent method for labeling is using adhesive-backed stickers or labels of some kind.

Considerations When Choosing Modular Wall Plate

Modular wall plates have individual components that can be installed in varying configurations depending on your cabling needs. Just like fixed-design wall plates, you have to account for these three factors when making your choice: number of jacks, types of jacks and labeling.

Number of Jacks: When using modular wall plates you firstly have to decide how many jacks you want in each wall plate. Jacks on modular wall plates can be either side by side or over and under. Modular plates come in a couple of different sizes, and the number of jacks a plate can hold is based on the size of the plate. They are available with single-gang (smallest size), double-gang, triple- and quad-gang plates. Generally, a single-gang wall plate can accommodate at most six jacks.

single gang and double gang wall plates

Types of Jacks: As the most common type of wall plate used for data cabling, modular wall plates have the widest variety of jack tapes available. All the jacks available today differ based on a few parameters, including the following: wall plate system type, cable connection, jack orientation and TIA 568B wiring pattern.

Labeling: Just like fixed-design wall plates, modular wall plates use labels to distinguish the different jacks by their purpose. In fact, modular wall plates have the widest variety of labels—varied colors and styles of labeling. However, as with fixed-design plates, the labels are either text or pictures of their intended use, perhaps permanently molded in the plate or on the jack.

Conclusion

Serving as a visible component and an essential part of a structured cabling system, the importance of wall plates cannot be overestimated. In this article, we have reviewed three factors concerning whether to choose fixed-design or modular wall plates. Hope this would be helpful for you to choose the optimum one for your cabling system.

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Labeling Cables: the Virtue and Value

Change in wiring is a commonplace in data centers, as the demand for higher bandwidth speeds the installation and updating process of cables and components. Labeling cables is considered as a critical part in data center management, which allows for easier identification and quicker isolation of cables. Meanwhile, a properly labeled cabling system could benefit installers with increased efficiency, profitability and reliability. In this article, let’s talk about the benefits of labeling, and perhaps more important, how to effectively label your cables.

Benefits of Labeling Cables

Labeling cables at each end is quite essential, especially when there is a problem. In this case, the cable can be simply identified. By doing so, labeling help reducing the time it takes to track down and resolve an issue. Besides, labeling the cable to power source ensures you are capable of tracing cables to power source, thus making equipment upgrades or replacements easier.

labeling cables

Here are the main benefits of proper and reliable labeling system:

  • Increased Productivity—Simpler troubleshooting and maintenance procedures, which saves repair and movement requirements (both time and costs). You can keep downtime to a minimum and operations running smoothly by being able to track cables, wires and components at-a-glance.
  • Improved Profitability—With the right planning and labeling, you make the job easier and more efficient for your workers, more professional-looking for your customers, and in turn, more profitable for your operations.
  • Heightened Safety and Security—Along with efficiency, convenience and clarity that brought by labeling, it can be used to keep your workplace more secure and more compliant.
Solutions for Labeling Cables

There are a wide variety of labels and makers out there available to help ease your labeling work. Some of the most commonly used ones are illustrated in the following:

Cable Tags

A cable tag typically consists of a tie that loops around cables (or cable bundles), with a tag on the end that used to identify the cable. These tags allow for an easily readable, highly visible flat surface to clearly show the ID. Tags are widely adopted for labeling, ranging from the networking and electrical fields to home-use.

Cable Tags

Wire markers are used to wrap around the cable, they typically have an identifying mark, usually a number or a color. This allows you to easily identify a cable at a glance. The numbers and colors of wire marker simplify the labeling process, since it is hard to read longer text around the surface of a thin wire. Wire markers can be a plastic expandable ring that clips around a single cable, with the fact that they aren’t large enough to accommodate bundles.

Wire Markers

These Labels fit around cables, then shrink to conform to the size and shape of the cable via application of heat. This creates a snugly fit label around wires and cables that won’t peel or slip off, and can be used in a wide variety of environmental conditions. So, for an application that needs to be long-lasting and withstand tough environmental conditions, sleeves may be preferable to typical adhesive wire markers.

heat shrink labels

Considerations for Labeling Cables

Labeling cables is not a difficult job, but it is time-consuming thus you need to be patient enough. When selecting the label for your cable identification needs, there are at least three factors that need to be taken into account.

Label material: There are various options when it comes to label material, which depend on your specific applications and environment. Polyolefin labels are for wet environment and resistant to chemical and high temperatures; vinyl labels are ideal for non-flat sub surfaces since they offer oil and dirt resistance; while nylon is the optimum choice for use on curved surfaces due to their flexible and strong features.

Cable thickness: Depending on the thickness of your wires or cables, you need to decide which sleeves or self-laminating labels to use in order to make sure they’ll fit. Generally, cable sleeves should have at least twice the height of the cable diameter, and very thick cables can be identified using straps and a cable bundle tag.

Cable Types: If you want to limit the contact surface between your wire or cable and your label, use a P- or T-shaped flag label to leave space for printing a code or bar-code on. When you need to identify cables or wires that are already attached, tags can be used as a non-adhesive alternative. And wraparounds and flag labels are a self-adhesive alternative for terminated cables.

Conclusion

Properly-labeled wires and cables contribute to facilitating data center management, and it offers immediate insight into how your network operates as well as aesthetic appeal. In a well labeling system, you can install and upgrade your infrastructure in a more secure and cost-effective way. So never and ever underestimates the value of labeling cables.

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