How to choose and use PVC and plenum cable

Deciding between PVC and plenum cable is very important because the type of cable you choose can have critical consequences.

The difference between PVC and plenum is the type of jacket that surrounds the cable. Whether you choose PVC- or plenum-jacketed cable depends on where you are going to use the cable. Most of the time, the type of cable depends on your local building codes and/or the age and design of the building.

What’s plenum?
First, let’s define plenum. The term plenum is an HVAC term. A plenum space is the part of a building, or pathway, designed for circulating heated and cooled environmental air and for return airflows. In most buildings, the space above the ceiling or below a raised floor is used for HVAC air. Duct work is also considered a plenum. A plenum ceiling is where the air is forced through the ceiling rather than being ducted.

Plenum spaces are air tight and usually have a greater atmospheric pressure and a greater oxygen content. Plenums can be particularly dangerous in case of fire. The oxygen can turn a small spark into an out-of-control fire. And because the air is forced through the plenum, smoke and fire can very quickly travel throughout the building. If cable is run through a plenum, it must be a plenum-rated cable if no conduit is used.


Building_Plenum_Normal Continue reading

Why you should use digital signage enclosures

A digital signage deployment isn’t truly complete until an enclosure has been included. The practical benefits to even the most simple digital signage enclosure are numerous, and if a signage display is going to be outdoors, it’s ever more important to pick the right enclosure for a player.

An enclosure is the first line of defense signage has against any type of tampering. At its most basic, a locking metal box around a player prevents vandalism, cable disconnects, or even repositioning. An enclosure protects the investment that digital signage represents. Most enclosures feature Gorilla® Glass, which is easier to clean off than an LCD or plasma screen of a display. Plus, it’s tough, and can usually prevent damage from thrown or wielded objects.

DS EnclosureAesthetically, an enclosure is the difference between a nicely framed and matted picture and a poster tacked to a wall. A digital signage screen in the proper enclosure has a neat appearance. The enclosure encompasses cables and other connections, giving a mounted display a contained, well-maintained appearance. Additionally, an enclosure is an opportunity for branding—a canvas as it were, for logos, team colors, and other messaging.

Another practical consideration for digital signage is mounting, and enclosures give users more options than a player on its own.

If digital signage displays are going to be placed outside, enclosures are not optional. Enclosures protect signage from the elements and regulate operating temperatures. Rated with an Ingress Protection (IP) Code, it is clear what digital signage enclosures protect against. Usually two numbers, the IP Code rates for solid particle protection (0-6) and liquid ingress protection (0-9), with 0 meaning no protection; 6 meaning dust-tight; and 9 meaning protection against close range, high-pressure water jets. For most outdoor applications, the most popular ratings are 65 (dustproof and water resistant) and 67 (dustproof and waterproof, including short immersion in water). Continue reading

3 Ways to use wireless Ethernet extenders

IT professionals are the unsung heroes when it comes to Ethernet LAN extension. Network users don’t care how the network is extended, they just want it to work.

Why wireless Ethernet extension.
Ethernet has a maximum distance or range of 100 meters over CATx cable. If the network needs to go beyond that, fiber is the best medium. But it’s not always practical or economical to trench new fiber. That’s where wireless Ethernet extension comes in.

Here are three examples of how you can extend an Ethernet network quickly and economically with wireless extenders.

Application 1: Point-to-point enterprise LAN extension.
This is the simplest form of wireless Ethernet extension between buildings, such as in a business park or a school campus. Point-to-point LAN extension can also be used to connect networks between buildings across town at data rates of 40-80 Mbps up to six miles apart.

Extenders, like the LWE120 Series, usually come in kits for this type of application. The kits give users a fast deployment time because the access point and the subscriber unit are already pre-synchronized to work together right out of the box. These units feature internal directional antennas with LED indicators for alignment. Dual antennas are used for better speed and range. Power over Ethernet simplifies installation. Continue reading

The importance of properly cleaning fiber during termination – Part 3

This is part three of a three part series on fiber cleaning. For part two, click here.

From the August, 2014 Issue of Cabling Installation & Maintenance Magazine
By Sean Sheedy

Unless you are working in the tropics, never select a water-based fiber cleaner. It is very slow to dry and will freeze in cold weather.

One excellent characteristic of IPA is its ability to dissipate static. With a static charge, particulate will bind to surfaces surprisingly aggressively. For example, a large 500-micron (μ) particulate takes twice the force of gravity (2 G’s) of “scrubbing” (mechanical action) to remove. But a 5-μ flake of solid residue takes 20,000 G’s to break loose from the intermolecular grip the particulate has on the substrate. How do you get 20,000 G’s of scrubbing force inside an LC connector? You don’t. So solvents help solve the problem by neutralizing the static charge.

In the past decade there have been at least two studies looking at static on endfaces. iNEMI’s results were presented in “Accumulation of Particles Near the Core During Repetitive Fiber Connector Matings and Dematings,” at NFOEC in 2007. And during the development of the IPC-8497-1 standard, 18 researchers worked on the problem of static. Their findings were presented in “Cleaning Methods and Contamination Assessment of Optical Assembly,” at NFOEC in 2006. This research clearly observed that wiping an endface with a dry wipe did not dissipate the static on the endface, and indeed may have added a triboelectric charge to the endface, which made the endface even more prone to attracting particulate. This problem was eliminated with a wet-dry cleaning process, in which a cleaning fluid was used to dissipate the static, and then a dry wipe was used to polish away any residual fluids. This is an excellent procedure and should be used by everyone in the fiber industry. Continue reading

6 Reasons to switch to digital KVM

Analog technology can’t keep up in the digital marketplace. Digital video is sharper and digital KVM is faster. Don’t get left behind in the digital revolution.

1. The VGA standard is being discontinued.
The VGA standard will not be supported going into 2015. Analog KVM and video won’t work any longer either. VGA sources and displays are getting increasingly difficult to find. We recently heard from a client who had to buy VGA parts on eBay.

2. Digital technology is distinctly better.
Digital technology improves users’ experiences by providing crystal-clear images at any supported distance. HD video is delivered pixel by pixel to digital displays at higher resolutions and increased color depth.

3. Digital systems are bigger and better.Broadcast Booth
New larger matrices and IP-based systems increase flexibility and enable connecting to a much higher number of endpoints. Thousands of devices can be incorporated into one unified system. On a digital matrix system, I/O ports are interchangeable, making changes and adds as simple as plugging a device into a port. Continue reading