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Reckoning AV Technology on Fiber Cabling

The modern world relies on technology and AV is a huge part of it besides IoT. With technical improvement over the years, Audio-Visual over the internet or AV has also improved. We use AV in our daily lives, workspace, broadcast technology, and many other aspects. So, we are reckoning AV technology on fiber cabling.

A study done back in 2005 revealed office desk space interactions reduced from 89 percent to 25 percent. Most of the techy discussions are done in meetings and it had a similar effect on education.

Entertainment at the current world is mainly sourced via the internet and even educational curriculums are 93% more effective when it is done online. All these recalls for extended bandwidth and AV falls into the column.

The Superbowl LIII in Atlanta was broadcasted by CBS. The second week of this NFL was broadcasted with 8k cameras. These are the kind of things that are going to work as a mainstream medium of AV technology in the coming days, as we have access to more tech in our hands.

Transmitting a large scale of data is possible due to the improved fiber cablings and types that suit every workload. Nonetheless, bandwidth or insertion loss is always something kept in mind.

Sourcing large amounts of data to display as visual and audio are in the need of perfect technical alignment to work together. We have the equipment to support this intense experience today.

Superior bandwidth transmission requires a lot more fiber cables than the mainstream media. There are advantages to that. Broadcasting 4k or 8k video over the internet with lower latency acting as the sweet spot is one of the most exciting features of the modern world internet.

The technology is now widely adopted. But it has some limitations like for instance, distance and it calls for huge measurement in this field. Every 100m or so the signal needs to be boosted to get picked up by the next station of equipment.

Inerrability is low and requires a separate infrastructure. The number of devices that support this huge deal of bandwidth and utilize properly is not available on every hand yet. Thus, making it quite costly and tags it as an ambitious project.

Types of fiber cables are chosen carefully for each project. Large broadcast requires more cabling infrastructure than regular ones. For bundling purposes, Cat 6 is a good choice and Cat 5e can mostly get the job done in a simpler workspace. It is also recommended by HDBaseT Alliance.

But for large-scale programs Cat 6 or Cat 6A is recommended by the manufactures, as they are more resistant to stress and can work flawlessly with a larger load. Cat 7 and Cat 7A are also available alongside proprietary cables, nonetheless.

Recommended Cat 6A has 20.9 dB per IL at 100Mhz transmission for 500 MHz specific bandwidth in ANSI/TIA-568-C.8 and ISO 11801. The approximate cost of relative installation becomes 1.5X greater than low-cost infrastructure with superior quality.

There is ABC’s of cabling system implementing the listing:

  • A for Application
  • B for Bandwidth
  • C for Connectors
  • D for Distance and
  • E for EMI

This infrastructure follows major factors so the current generation of technology can take advantage of it. 4K or UHD (Ultra High Definition) and 8K resolution with reduced power consumption that is great for the environment and at the same time acts as state-of-the-art technology.

Cat 6A can transmit 10 Gb/ 500 MHz, making it the ideal candidate suited for similar projects with good performance metrics and reliability. HDBaseT global standard recommendation follows up with the same suggestion for the large category and superior broadcasting or AV tech.

There is a fiber infrastructure around modern AV technology. It is not just bulk cables. There are also different types of special cables, connectors, tools, transceivers, patch cords, premade cables, and signal distribution electronics. So, having proper equipment and instruments that are future proof is a great idea. It is not only 4K and 8K that fiber brings to the table. There are tons of other benefits with the upcoming 800G.

 

The MTP® Fiber Optic Connector

The MTP® connector stands for Multi-fiber Termination Push-on and trademark of the US Conec. They are used in data center racks for high-density network pass through. Industrial grade applications and broadcast networks depend on MTP® fiber optic connector management. An MTP® connector is the improved version of the high-performance MPO (Multi-fiber Push-On connector). So, MPO connectors can easily be replaced by MTP® connectors, US Connc has made MTP® connectors the standard one because of improved performance enhancements. MPO is an older version of MTP® connectors. There is also an MTP® Elite version.

Features and Specifications

There are two types of MTP® connectors in the market according to the pins. Male MTP® connector two pins aligning in the front and the Female MTP® connector has to consequent holes to pair up using an adaptor. The pins are aligned so there is improved performance concerning insertion loss. 12 or 24 fibers are aligned in sets in MTP® connectors and they do not require splicing. It reduces networking costs in the long haul. The connector is used in an indoor environment and has ETA/TIA-604-5 also known as FOCIS 5 standard and at the same time IEC-61754-7. MTP® connectors are used regularly in data centers with ease. Just plugging in the ends gives access to multiple simplex fibers on the set.

As MTP® is easily interchangeable with the MPO connectors. So, there is the option for flexibility. The max number of optical fibers that an MTP® connector can handle is 72, but 8, 12, 24 are the most common ones. The MPO and MTP® connectors can look the same, the performance grade is on another level. Both the connectors have a key on the plug side and pins on the inside of the opposite side. It provides an easier access plug-in. The removable housing on the MTP® connectors can be detached easily which makes maintenance and re-cabling that simpler process. Each floating ferrule holds multiple optical fibers, so working on sets is not very time-consuming.

Clearance for attaching fibers with data center uses metal or pin clamp. MTP® connector has 0.20 dB insertion loss in a single mode in a typical situation and 0.60 dB maximum insertion loss in a single fiber. But in multimode, the total calculation differs as it’s less number on average with 0.25 dB with all fibers and 0.75 dB maximum loss in a single fiber. Therese also an 8° angle polish in multimode. On the other hand of MTP® Elite there is 0.10 dB insertion loss on all fibers and a 0.35 dB maximum loss on single fibers. Multi-mode concerning MTP® Elite has the same loss radius as the single-mode connector.

Pin tips in MTP® connector use stainless steel elliptical guide. It reduces wear and guides the pin to position accurately. The connector also has four strain relief boots that are beneficial to use on various applications. So, there’s not only performance improvement in MTP® connectors but also mechanical design improvement. Mechanically transferable or MT ferrule has 0.25 mm connector pins. Ferrules in fiber connector are made with monolithic and differ relating to the connector type. For proper connection with MTP® with data, center racks need proper alignment and connector types. Male-female connectors can pass data easily with proper configuration. The TIA-568 standard has three types of configuration: Type A, Type B, and Type C. They handle the fiber connector polarity with MTP® connectors. 

 
Maintenance

Getting proper performance using the MTP® connectors needs to be done with care and even in a controlled environment, things may not work out sometimes. So proper maintenance is necessary. Once removed from the rack the connector ends should be properly inspected after removing clamp. Opening the cap will reveal the socket heads and they should be cleaned via professionals. After cleaning final inspection is required, on both ends. If one end is clogged or has dirt particles, proper connection will not happen and will cause a loss of performance. Endface should be checked thoroughly. Designated MTP® connector cleaning tool kit is available on the market and using them is recommended than regular tools. As they can be used in a parallel manner to interconnect between PC and patch cables.

MTP® or MTP® Elite or MPO?

As MPO is still being used in a lot of areas and they are constantly trying to cope with the transmission demand, upgrading to MTP® or MTP® Elite connectors would be a great jump. A bottleneck in the patch system can cause plenty of insertion loss in all steps of applications. If possible, data center engineers recommend MTP® Elite. Regular MTP® also has a flexible, simple, and reliable cable management system. Recurring 5G support and Gigabit network will impact IoT. It is the correct time to have a look into MTP® connector and implementation. Further data emission and effective bandwidth control will pass with the MTP® connector application. 

Wireless Security Protocols Explained

Wi-Fi signals are all around us. As most of us use the internet via a Wi-Fi connection, it must have proper security. Otherwise, our data are just transmitting without any security. It is important to know what kind of security measurements there are to protect us from potential hacking or data loss. Security measurements have been updated every few years. In this article, we are going to discuss them broadly. Wi-Fi signals are transmitted via electromagnetic waves. Browsing through the router wireless security page, all the security settings can be tweaked and controlled. All the security protocols are explained properly.

WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy)

WEP was the first full-on security measurement for wireless networks introduced in 1999. At the time it was equivalent to formal wired security. It was functional for the time being with a set of keys as passwords with the IEEE 802.11 security algorithm. A simple protocol that used 10 or 26 digits as a security measurement. There was a massive flaw in this system as it was very easy to crack. Security relies on randomness which lacks in WEP. 64-bit encryption soon became outdated and there was no use for it. The evolution of new tools and technology made WEP so backdated and weak that routers got firmware updates just to remove this protocol.

WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access)

WPA was introduced in 2003 as 80.11i as the updated standard from WEP. It is the first of the WPA Wi-Fi alliance series that is more robust than WEP. WPA came out to public use for protecting wireless internet security later. WPA uses a wireless encryption method to utilize a 256-bit system. WPA has two versions, one is WPA-Enterprise, and the other is WPA-personal. General consumers use the WPA-personal in-home wireless network system. It is a massive improvement from WEP. WPA uses TKIP (Temporal Kye Integrity Protocol) for security measures. Though it is the updated version, it had major security flaws.

WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access 2)

WPA2 is the direct update of WPA as the name suggests. A year later of the original WPA release, WPA2 was introduced with a big firmware upgrade for users. As WPA was using WEP alongside to support users with old hardware, there is a massive flaw in the system. People can get into the system using this venerability. AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) was introduced with it. Just like all encryptions, WPA2 is doing a tremendous job by replacing WEP from the system. WPA2 can utilize both TKIP and AES. WPA2 is also known as WPA-PSK (Pre-Shared Key). This key is shared with users by the administrator. A plain key can be used as a password to access the SSID. Routers that are currently using WPA2 have WEP disabled by default.

WPA3 (Wi-Fi Protected Access 3)

WPA3 is the latest version of WPA. It has the highest standard of encrypted security for wireless devices to date. It was introduced back in June 2018 by the Wi-Fi Alliance as WPA3-Personal. We do not see too much of WPA3 today because the standards are still too high and not all devices support it. For this reason, its usability is still lower than expected. But once established WPA3 will simplify Wi-Fi security. For this protocol to work, no manual encryption is needed. As for dictionary attacks, each key is authenticated after input. So, there is no room for brute force. Thus, it takes forever to successfully guess a simple password. The latest devices nowadays come with WPA3 built-in as default and satisfy users only with WPA3 enabled devices.

WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup)

In general, WPS is used as a push-button for connecting to SSID. The button is hidden at the back of the router. This button holds a simple security measure. Home devices such as printers, smart-TV, or even smartphones can use WPS for gaining quick access to the SSID. Pushing the button right after configuring the smart device to use the push key enables it to connect. Devices search for router access in the process. A simple passcode can also be shared after pushing the button. It is enabled only for a few seconds and can be processed as manual connections. WPS can come in handy in case of a forgotten password or a quick connection without sharing the password.

Access Control

Access Control is an honorable mention in this list. It gives a flexible security option. The network admin can host, set a group of rules, or mention dedicated IP’s and schedule for devices to utilize the channel. Rules can be set up using status, direction, and protocols with a name that can be easily identified later.

Which Wireless Security Protocol Works Best for You?

Like the ever-changing upgrade to the newest technology, security in wireless protocols got their share of updates too. From the above descriptions and details, it is clear to choose what kind of security measures a hotspot need. The recommendation is to use at least WPA2 if possible and WPA3 if available. Random encryption helps against malicious tools and other people. Current generation and widely used WPA protocols are not only secure but they provide sustainable performance at the same time.

Basis of Fiber Loss and Calculation

Attenuation/loss of data

Transmitting light through an optical fiber is prone to some losses. Does not matter how adequate everything fits in the system, there will be some loss at any point. Suppose transmitting light via fiber cable from point A to point B, where Point A is the sender and B is the receiver. The distance between them is X km. Data is transmitted in the form of light reflecting inside the core. While traveling, there is some loss of light or some property loss. So, data is not the same as it was before. If we are sending ‘m’ dB of data from A, we are receiving like ‘m/2’ dB, and this loss is inevitable. Light is distorted even in the core that has been made of reflective glass. This happens in the energy transfer module. Even when electricity is passed via cable. There is some heat generated by electric electrons striking with the transmitting material's electron. Same with the fiber and signal amplitude gets decremented and some data is lost which is called fiber attenuation. 

What causes fiber attenuation?

There are four baselines that attenuation depends on. They are Dispersion Loss, Absorption Loss, Scattering Loss, and Bending Loss. Let us go through them shortly.

  1. Dispersion: The passing light through an optical fiber follows certain measurements. Some light wave travels at a longer wavelength and some travels at a shorter length. If we call short length A and it travels at a wavelength of λ1, Longer wavelength bending B with λ2 angle. They both transmit to the endpoint, but their travel time is different. This causes some loss. This pulse broadening method is called Dispersion. The more different the wavelengths are in the light; the more dispersion is created. There are two kinds of dispersion loss. They are intramodal and intermodal also known as IsI. Multimode optical fibers are used to pass led light through because it is not diameter is greater. And because the diameter is greater, it can accept more lights of different wavelengths. Lasers transmit monochromatic light and easily usable in single-mode fibers. So, less dispersion is created.
  2. Absorption: Absorption loss is just like it is suggested in the name. When lights are passed through a fiber, multiple wavelengths are created. When the waves strike glass core molecules inside the fiber, heat is generated. And this is the practical rule of physics. Energy is transferred from one form to another and some energy is lost at the time of this transfer in the form of heat. Transmitting from point A to B happens nonetheless, but data gets lost in this way. This is the fundamental of absorption loss. There are also two types of absorption loss in attenuation. One is intrinsic absorption and the other is extrinsic absorption. When the glass core absorbs the energy, it is called intrinsic absorption. The refractive index is made of some impurity on purpose. So, when this impurity absorbs the light and generates heat in the form of data loss is called extrinsic absorption.
  3. Scattering: Scattering is the direct loss of data for the medium inside the fiber that blocks the light in some way to lose some of its dimension. Suppose skydiving from an airplane with a hat on top of the head. Now after the jump, the hat falls off due to the air blocking as the falling speed is greater. And it was intended to happen. The same process is the scattering loss. While traveling, the light gets scattered inside the fiber and produces a loss. There are two types of loss in scattering. They are linear and non-linear. Forward direction scattering is called linear scattering and bi-directional is tagged as non-linear scattering.
  4. Bending: Bending loss happens when a length of fiber is being bent and inside various wavelengths of light create a radius of curvature. When it happens outside the fiber, we can call it ‘R’ and when it happens inside, we may call it ‘r’. And light is being reflected. At the time of transmitting, the radius of curvature is created. This causes bending loss. There are two types of bending loss. One is macro bending, and another is micro bending. And for example's sake, we can easily implement R>r. So, these are the reasons behind loss in fiber.

Calculation

As we said before, loss of light inside the fiber is a must whether it’s a multimode or single-mode fiber. This does not necessarily mean all of it happens inside the fiber. There is also a loss in the connector. It happens due to the connector pairs match with the connector loss allowance. Also, the number of splices pair with splice loss allowance. It is measured in dB. So, the total link lost is the combined loss of fiber attenuation, connector loss, and splice loss. There is also a calculation of the power budget. Power loss is calculated for the sake of ensuring if the loss is happening in the fiber. Helps resolve some issues quickly by knowing where exactly the issue is. The receiver power budget or PR and the transmitter power budget or PT has a difference and explained as PB.  So,PB = PR- PT.

This is the Basis of Fiber Loss and Calculation. Proper measurement and calculations are done periodically to have a minimum loss in the transmit process.

 

Cable Issues Can Be Complex But Do They Really Need Complex Solutions?

Cabling is the part of networking, without which no networking is possible. It is an inescapable and must-have part. However, as the cabling is widespread and is used all over, there are many problems and issues that arise in the cabling, and so there are such solutions for them too. Well, while some issues are not so complicated, they are solved quickly. Whereas there are some issues in the cabling as well, which seems to be very complex (might be complex too), but they have solutions, which can be complicated, and solutions which are straightforward too. So, it depends on you, on which solution you would want to put your hands into. Also, suppose if you want to put your hands into the solutions that are scalable, sustainable, and right. In that case, you will need to remember that not too much investment, and only the latest technology or fancy solutions are right. It would be best if you do your homework of research to get the best and straightforward solutions to your complex problems. Because, not all complex cable issues would require complex solutions! 

So, to make your approach right for the cabling solutions, you need to remember that the problem might get solved in only a penny, to which your well-engineered solution plans might take up dollars. 

Now, we understand that you might be thinking that what can be the cable issues, which are complicated, but the solutions to the same are uncomplicated and undemanding of the money. 

To answer those queries, here are some real world examples of the cable issues that you might face. And here we will also mention the solutions to the same, one that is complex and the other that will be easy and sorted.

Example No. 1

Fiber Cabling For Different Applications

Often there are customers who want the fiber cabling for different applications but in one place only. The requirement of the cables can be for six, seven, ten, or more applications. But as the cables have to stay in one place, it often happens that customers make a cable design in their heads, and in that design, they include different colours of cables for different applications.

Now, getting the cabling done for the different applications while keeping the cable in one place, can be confusing. So, there can be two solutions to the same.

One, which is fancy, money-taking, and hard to maintain, but seems easy in the books and the planning. And the other one is very simple, very less money taking, easy to maintain, and easy to change and move as well.

If you get the cabling that is of different colours, then you will face the following things:

  • There is a minimum quantity to manufacture the cable, which is very high in quantity, be it of any specific colour. This means unnecessarily overspending the money, which will also result in the cable's wastage.
  • If you take different colours of cables for different applications, say as, if you take eight different colours cables, then managing them all will be tough. You will need to keep all the colour cables in stock so that you can install the new one immediately if any of them gets damaged. So, managing it all will be a complex thing.  

However, the cabling colour does not really matter once it is run through the cable tray. However, it only matters at the endpoint, where the same is administered. 

However, if having this idea of getting the cabling structure made of different colours seems complicated, money taking, hard to manage, and tough to maintain, then you can switch to the next idea. The next idea is that you can have all the wires of the same colour, add the bands or wraps of different colours at the cables' endpoints. This will easily distinguish between the cables, not be money taking, and easy to manage.

Example No. 2

Pre-Terminated Cable & Field Terminated Cables

Often people who have a tight deadline to complete the project in the given time, opt to use the pre-terminated cables. However, as the pre-terminated cables which are manufactured in factories have the modular components come with the connectors already attached, which are tested, and qualified and are ready to plug and play in the network, seems to be the great solution on the surface. However, if you use these cables without exploring more options, you might meet your deadlines for completing the project, but you will end up spending a lot of money unnecessarily. 

As these cables are 100% factory terminated or spliced, they are best for the works, where lengths are predictable, the installation environment access is limited, or the skilled resources are not readily available. These cables will help you complete the work at a higher speed than that of the field-cables.

But, did you think that if the places where these cables have to be installed are not of the predictable lengths, and the cabling is not so perfectly planned, then the issues that pre-terminated cables can bring will be much more than that of the field terminated cables. Because, pre-terminated cables will require pre-planning for the cabling, and you will have to be sure about the length of the cable’s upfront. So, having the pre-terminated cables at the places where these things are not possible is not suitable. Even though it seems suitable on the papers and in the books!

So, for these places, if you get the field terminated cables, which have to be stretched between the two points, then after stretching the cables, connectors be attached and then connected to a patch panel, it will be cost-effective and also will save the time of planning, measuring each cable’s length and on more things.

Endnote

So, you see, it is not necessary that whatever is latest, fancy, easy to install, and seems simple is really the solution. But according to your project, you need to understand the requirements, and only after comparing several options, whether new or old, should you decide what the sustainable solution really is.

Well, these are only two examples which we have encountered lately. You can relate your version of the cable problem in the same context, and then you might find an easy solution for the same. All you need to do is research well about the possible options, compare, and then take the decision. Because by now you know, what all is latest, and what all seems to be the easy solution in the papers might not really help you practically. 

 

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