Server Rack Choice: How to Make the Right Decision?

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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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How to Design for FTTx MDU Deployment

FTTx has brought us incredible possibilities and total convenience in delivering high-speed bandwidth, no wonder it gains in popularity around the globe. In accordance with the spread of high-speed FTTx service, the demand of an optical distribution for MDU is increasing rapidly. MDU (Multi Dwelling Unit) plays a huge part in the FTTx network and are growing dramatically since it provides a densely concentrated service area for the service provides. This article will illustrate how to efficiently design for FTTx MDU deployments.

What MDU Stands for?

At the beginning, I’d like to briefly explain the definition of MDUs. Known as multi dwelling unit, MDUs generally refers to places such as apartment buildings, offices, and hotels, etc. MDUs come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from high-rise buildings, small condos, duplex units, or multi-use properties with a combination of business and residential customers. This means the structures and conditions of MDUs can be quite diverse. Let’s see how to classify them.

Multi Dwelling Unit MDU

Common Classifications of MDU

Basically, we can classify MDUs with reference to the construction types, for example: high, medium and low-rise buildings (usually in North America), or just like most of the countries in Europe, simply refer to them as horizontals, verticals, and mixed (hybrid). The details of each will be illustrated in the following pictures.

High, Medium and Low-rise MDU

high-rise,medium-rise and low-rise MDU

Horizontals, Verticals, and Mixed (Hybrid) MDU

Horizontals, Verticals, and Mixed (Hybrid) MDU

Solutions for MDU Deployment with Fiber

Understanding the diverse structures and conditions that may encounter lies the foundation of connecting MDUs into the FTTP network. For different connection scenario, the solution required can be various. For instance, the connection in some cases may be via a feeder fiber directly from the central office / head-end connected to a splitter hub on the premises. While for larger MDU structures, it may involve splitter hubs and subtending riser and drop cable networks with intermediate fiber terminals throughout the building. Since one design doesn’t fit all, the challenge is thus the engineering and design of FTTP network in MDUs.

The following part offers some feasible solutions in regard to the its engineering and designs. Some design scenarios are shown below.

Scenario One: Overhead Pole Feeding

In this scenario, the fiber is designed to deliver from the overhead pole distribution box. Several factors need to be considered in this design:

  • Place the distribution box on the outside power pole
  • Drops placed from the pole DP
  • No permissions required prior to installation
  • ONTs can be inside or outside of the unit

Overhead Pole Feeding

Scenario Two: Underground Feeding from RoW

This design scenario is specifically for high-rise MDU, with fiber serving from underground right of way (RoW) fiber distribution terminal. The design factors include:

  • Fiber terminal will be from underground (pit required)
  • Trench to the property required
  • Pre-place drops or paths creation is required
  • Permissions required prior to installation
  • Additional work required prior to installation

Underground Feeding from RoW

Scenario Three: Multi Floor MDU Design

In this scenario, fiber is designed to serve from an underground fiber distribution hub to each floor with different fiber cables. With a main distribution cable installed to the ground floor distribution point, each dedicated fiber will be installed from the IDP to each floor distribution point. In this way, connectivity can benefit till the end ONT.

  • Fiber terminal will be from underground (pit required)
  • Trench to the property required
  • Pre-place drops or paths creation is required
  • Internal (IFDHs) required
  • Each floor termination boxes required
  • Permissions required prior to installation
  • Additional work for interior is required prior to installation

Multi Floor MDU Design

Conclusion

Effective MDU designs simplify deployment process, ensure simply routing paths and enhance maintenance capabilities. Delivering high speed fiber network to MDU provides rich potential returns and the market is doom to grow in the near future. The design of FTTx MDU is primary yet critical, just take this article as a guide but do remember your choice should better base on the unique requirements of the MDU.

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Use Media Converters to Optimize Your Network

It is neither realistic nor possible for the network to stay static all the time, since the technology and capability of which advances dramatically throughout the world. In this case, there comes the constant demand for a more secure, more reliable and faster network. Media converters are such an ideal solution that designed for this dynamic networks, which enable network managers to take advantage of speed, bandwidth, and security enhancements by linking dissimilar cabling media, for example, cooper and fiber. In this article, we will concentrate on explaining how to apply media converter to your infrastructure.

What Are Media Converters?

Media converters do just what their name implies: They convert data signals on one cabling medium to signals that can be transported over another medium. Therefore, they provide the chance to extend the life of legacy networks with the latest technology, instead of having to tear everything out and start over when new technology becomes available, or even worse-being impeded by an old technology.

media converter

Media converter facilitates the connection of a multitude of devices by supporting connections to and from switches, hubs, routers, and even direct to servers. It hence brings more flexibility to the network.

Benefits of Using Media Converters

Media converter boosts the evolution of copper networks to faster, more-secure fiber-optic technology without requiring a full network retrofit. It provides the following benefits:

  • Extend network distances by allowing the integration of fiber-optic cable into copper networks to support longer distances.
  • Allow add-on devices, making it possible to connect the newest high-end, high-bandwidth switches and hubs, regardless of connector restrictions.
  • Maximize efficiency and economy in new networks by enabling a high-bandwidth fiber optic backbone to feed copper or lower-speed fiber to work groups and desktops.
  • Increase network flexibility, because media converter can be inserted almost anywhere in the network.
How to Integrate Copper and Fiber Network with Media Converters?

When extending copper UTP Ethernet cabling at distances beyond 100 m (which is maximum for UTP) to fiber optic cabling, a fiber media converter is typically used. Media converters have two types of ports that for copper and fiber respectively. For fiber, there are ports designed for optical transceivers (SFP, XFP, etc.), and for fiber patch cables (SC, LC, etc.). While for copper, ports are all designed for RJ45 copper cables.

fiber-media-converter-ports

Speaking of employing fiber media converters to the existing network, firstly we’d better know the interfaces of them. The following picture illustrates the commonly used interfaces. Among which the ST, SC, LC, MT-RJ and RJ 45 interfaces of fiber media converters can be connected to target devices directly by patch cords. For SFP, SFP+ and XFP transceivers, things are different. This will be explained in the following.

media converter interface

For fiber media converters with LC/ST/SC/MT-RJ interfaces, simply use a fiber patch cable with the corresponding connector type to connect the interfaces of two media converters directly. The RJ45 port of each media converter is connected to 10/100Base-TX HUB and computer server separately. The two fiber media converters should be supported by electricity.

fiber media converters connected by fiber patch cable

As for fiber media converter with SFP, SFP+ or XFP transceiver interface, the way to connect two media converters is a little bit different. Under this circumstance, two optical transceivers are needed. Additional optical transceiver should be inserted into the port firstly, then the two media converters can be connected via the ports of these two optical transceivers. If the port support 10G and the transmission distance between the two converters is less than 100 meters, then a SFP+ to SFP+ AOC can be used.

fiber media converters connected by optical transceivers

Reminder: In the above illustrations we showed fiber media converters being used in pairs. This is the most vital factor: fiber media converters work in pairs for transmission and conversion.

Conclusion

Media converters are the key to integrating fiber into a copper infrastructure, making it possible to migrate a local network to fiber while extending the productive life of existing infrastructure. In this article, we generally provide connecting method for fiber media converter, as media converters may come in a dizzying array of types, the methods for connecting may depend on the specific condition.

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Understanding MTP/MPO Connectivity in High Density Data Centers

With the prevalence of cloud computing and big data, there comes a more demanding request for high-speed transmission and data capacity than ever since. In this case, 40/100G networks are more commonplace and now become a trend and hotspot for data-center cabling system. Meanwhile, most IT companies have realized that MTP/MPO cassettes, patch cords, connectors and adapters are essential backbone to their infrastructure. So, we will explain some basic factors in MTP/MPO connectivity in this article, with the purpose of better understanding this connectivity method.

MTP/MPO Connector Explanation

The need for transmission speed and data volume over short distances must be satisfied by choosing the right type of connectivity. So let’s start from the most basic yet critical part of MTP/MPO connectivity—MTP/MPO connector. It is known that 40/100G transmission utilizes parallel transmission, in which the data is simultaneously transmitted and received over multiple optical fibers (click here to know more about serial transmission and parallel transmission), thus a multi-fiber connector is required. MTP/MPO connectors which have either 12 fiber or 24 fiber array, will better support this solution.

MTP/MPO connector is the up-and-coming standard optical interface for 40G and 100G Ethernet network. The terms “MPO” and “MTP” are used interchangeably for this style of connector. MPO is the generic name for this Multi-Fiber Push On connector style. While MTP is a registered trademark and identifies a specific brand of the MPO-style connector.

MTP MPO connector

MTP/MPO connectors are pin and socket connectors-requiring a male side and a female side. Cassettes and hydra cable assemblies are typically manufactured with a male (pinned) connector. Trunk cable assemblies typically support a female (unpinned) connector. The connectors are also keyed to ensure that proper end face orientation occurs during the mating process.

MTP MPO connectivity

Functions of MTP/MPO Connectivity in 40/100G Network

The widely used 10G system generally would utilize a single MTP/MPO (12 Fiber) connector between the 2 switches. Modules are placed on the end of the MPO connector to transition from a MPO connector to a 12 Fiber breakout LC duplex or SC duplex cable assembly. This enables connectivity to the switch. 40G and 100G systems require a slightly different configuration.

In 40G MPO connectivity system, an MPO connector (12 Fiber) is used. 10G is sent along each channel/fiber strand in a send and receive direction. This “lights up” 8 of the 12 fibers providing 40G parallel transmission.

MTP MPO connectivity 40G

For optical 100G MPO connectivity system, an MPO connector (24 Fiber) is used (or alternatively 2 x 12F MPO Connector). 10G is sent along each channel/fiber strand in a send and receive direction. This “lights up” 20 of the 24 fibers providing 100G parallel transmission.

MTP MPO connectivity 100G

MTP/MPO Connectivity Components

Along with MTP/MPO connector, there are some other MPO components that used in high-density network interconnection. In essence, part of the MTP/MPO connectivity solution is a variety of fiber optic cabling components. Generally, there are two types of cables used in this solution:

One is a standard MTP trunk which has an MTP/MPO connector on either end of a 12 or 24 fiber ribbon cable. The connector construction can vary to the point where the 24 fibers are terminated into a single MTP/MPO connector, or they can be terminated into 2 separate 12 fiber MTP/MPO connectors.

MTP MPO trunk cable

Another option used in this cabling configuration is a MTP/MPO breakout cable. This cable has an MTP/MPO connector on one end while the other end of the cable can have a variety of standard optical interfaces such as LC or SC connectors.

MTP MPO breakout cable

Moreover, these can connect directly into patch panels, MTP cassettes and active equipment. The MTP/MPO cassettes provide a central patching and fiber optic breakout point where the MTP interface can be changed to SC or LC type interface. MTP/MPO cassettes are typically housed in patch panel or fiber storage tray.

MTP MPO cassettes

Conclusion

In summary, MTP/MPO connectivity solution has proven to be an effective, feasible and flexible option to achieve 40/100G transmission, especially with the case of large- capacity and high-density data center environment. Not to mention that it also provides a reliable alternative for quickly connecting and rapid deployment. Hope the information offered in this article could at least help you understand this connectivity method. And for more information about MTP/MPO connectivity tutorial and products, please visit www.fs.com.

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Advice on Pulling Fiber Optic Cable

According to many experienced cable installers, fail to pull cable properly will eventually lead to a series of network problems and disasters. Since installing cable is a routine yet fundamental task, its importance thus cannot be underestimated. Therefore, to ensure a smooth and efficient cable pulling process, installers should get fully prepared for the work, and take various factors into consideration to avoid damaging the cable. In this article, we try to explain how to prepare for pulling fiber optic cable and as well offer suggestions to help get the work done.

Before-Pulling Considerations

Preparation always serves as the very primary phase of the whole installation task. It can impact other stages in the process of pulling fiber optic cable. To get well-prepared, the following factors must be valued.

pulling fiber optic cable

1. Avoid Cable Damage

The first step in pulling  fiber optic cable is to measure and cut the material. Inaccurate measurements can result in disastrous issues. The glass fiber within the cable is fragile and requires greater care during the process of cable pulling. Damage to cable can come in many forms, and the common broken fiber is difficult to detect. The most common form of damage, a broken fiber, is also the most difficult to detect.

2. Despooling Cable Properly

Improper pulling and despooling of the cable can cause optical cordage failure. One should also avoid cable twist when despooling fiber optic cable to prevent stressing the fibers. Therefore, cable should be reeled off the spool, not spun over the edge of the spool. This will eliminate cable twist, which will make coiling much easier.

despooling fiber

3. Pulling Force

The pulling force must be kept below a designated limit for the specific cable being installed. This is usually 600 pounds for outside plant (OSP) cable and 300 pounds or less for other cables. The pulling force must also be kept uniform. When using power equipment to pull OSP cable, tension monitoring equipment or breakaway swivels must always be used.

4. Bending Fiber Too Tightly

Another most common problem is bending the fiber on too tight a radius. A minimum bending radius of 10 cable diameters must be maintained over long-term, static conditions. When cable is placed under a tensile load while being pulled, a minimum of 20 cable diameters is recommended.

Which Jacket Type Is Right?

Indoor (Plenum): The cable is rated for all indoor installations, including plenum rated spaces. A cable rated for plenum installation will have low-smoke characteristics.

Outdoor: Outdoor cables are filled with a water blocking jell and are rated for all outdoor applications except for “direct bury”. This cable is suitable for underground installation in conduit, overhead lashed to a guy wire, or secured to a building or other permanent outdoor structure. The only difference between outdoor (jell-filled) and direct bury cable is that the latter has an added overall metallic sheath which gives it protection from rodents.

Indoor/Outdoor: Indoor/Outdoor cables are approved for use in underground conduits, even if the possibility of water infiltration exists. Indoor/Outdoor cables are not recommended for aerial installations. This cable has an overall PVC sheath and is not rated for plenum spaces.

Procedures for Pulling Cable

Step One: Inspect the cable run to ensure there are no sharp bends or corners that exceed the minimum bend radius of the fiber.

Step Two: In many runs, if the pulling distance is short enough and the pathway straight enough, fiber-optic cable can be pulled by hand, without the use of special equipment. However, first make sure the pull does not exceed the tensile-loading limit established by the manufacturer for installation.

Step Three: When additional mechanical force is needed for a pull, use external pulling grips. This device locks onto and tightens around a cable as a tensile load is applied. The load is applied to the strength members of the cable rather than the optical fiber, itself.

Step Four: With some cables, such as outside-plant cable, it may be necessary to attach the pulling grip to strength members that surround the cable core as well as the outer jacket. This is done by sliding the grip past the end of the cable and then cutting the cable jacket back to expose the strength members.

Step Five: Use a swivel when pulling fiber optic cable to make sure twists in the pull rope are not translated to the fiber-optic cable. Also, use a tension meter to monitor the tension being applied to the cable during the pull.

procedures of pulling fiber

Step Six: After pulling fiber optic cable, cut off approximately 10 feet of cable from the pulling end to remove any portion of the cable that may have been stretched or damaged during installation.

Note: Leave enough cable at either end to reach the work-area and closet terminating locations. You are now ready to terminate or connectorize the cable.

Conclusion

Pulling fiber optic cable is a dispensable and rather important part in fiber cable installation. During the process, installers should avoid cable damage, despoiling the fiber properly, and take pulling force into account. Since the real fiber pulling environment could be more complex, the recommended procedures we offered below simply provide guideline, and I hope it can be helpful.

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