NCN January 2018

Page 1


Network Communications News

January 2018

Rittal takes it to the Edge The Rittal Edge Data Centre delivers real-time capabilities to companies that employ machine-to-machine communication to streamline manufacturing

inside... Knowhow

Enclosures, cabinets & racks

Fibre optic & copper cabling

Fibre cleaning master-class

Find the right home for your hardware

Tame the information super-highway


In this issue… Regulars

Knowledge Network

4 Editorial

14 Developing An Operational Revolution

Is the UK’s broadband future proof?

What’s this month’s highlights from the sector ?

Curtis Peterson of RingCentral offers insight into strengths, weaknesses and potential opportunities posed by the cloudbased communication revolution

12 On the Case

16 Openreach for the stars

who’s doing what and where?

Russell Crampin of Axians gives his view on whether Openreach’s new-found flexibility means that the fruits of ISP collaboration are at ripening stage

6 Industry News

22 Q&A Marc Sollars of Teneo jumps on NCN’S Q&A bandwagon inspiring some insightful innovation

24 Project Focus Place Bell spor ts arena has been built from the ground up and kitted out to adhere to connectivity demands

42 Company Showcase Getting to grips with new innovations

20 CCTV Networks Exposed Surveillance specialist, Veracity tells NCN that many CCTV networks may be at the peril of cyberattacks, explaining how to mitigate and protect

Cabinets & Racks

44 Know How

36 Pod Almighty

Microcare explains that not maintaining modern fibre networks can wreak havoc with optical signals, providing some interesting maintenance top tips

Lee Griffiths of Schneider Electric takes stock of the technology that remains a fundamental component of the digital transformation

40 Cabinets & Racks Products The heat is on as new editions to the market boast a heap of benefits

42 20 34

@NCNMag 2 | January 2018


Network Communications News

Rittal takes it to the Edge

January 2018

Fibre Optic & Copper Cabling 28 S triking The Right Balance Between Copper & Fibre


As bandwidth and uptime requirements increase alongside ever-shor ter latency, Mike Holmes of Nexans explains how combining fibre and copper can improve per formance

30 Precise Testing Processes Michael Akinla of Panduit explains why the margin for error is now even finer in today’s data centre environment


32 E xpanding Outside Broadcast Horizons Realising the transition to DTV/ HDTV, Howard Forryan of HARTING, explains the role fibre optics will play as the signal transmission medium continues to grow

January 2018

The Rittal Edge Data Centre delivers real-time capabilities to companies that employ machine-to-machine communication to streamline manufacturing

inside... Knowhow

Enclosures, cabinets & racks

Fibre optic & copper cabling

Fibre cleaning master-class

Find the right home for your hardware

Tame the information super-highway

Editor in Chief: Daniel J Sait 01634 673163 |

Assistant Editor: Jessica Foreman 01634 673163 |

Designer: Jon Appleton

Group Advertisement Manager: Kelly Byne 01634 673163 |

Studio Manager: Ben Bristow 01634 673163 |

Business Support Administrator: Carol Gylby 01634 673163 |

Managing Director: David Kitchener 01634 673163 |

Accounts: 01634 673163 |

34 F ibre Optic & Copper Cabling Products The most recent solutions to enter the fibre optic and cabling market

ABC membership approved, pending first audit. The editor and publishers do not necessarily agree with the views expressed by contributors nor do they accept responsibility for any errors in the transmission of the subject matter in this publication. In all matters the editor’s decision is final. Editorial contributions to NCN are welcomed, and the editor reserves the right to alter or abridge text prior to publication. © Copyright 2017. All rights reserved.

Suite 14, 6-8 Revenge Road, Lordswood, Kent ME5 8UD T: +44 (0)1634 673163 | F: +44 (0)1634 673173

January 2018 | 3


Broadband target reached


he UK government had hoped that 95% of premises across the UK would be covered by superfast broadband by the end of 2017, and it appears that target has finally been reached. That means 27.1 million homes and businesses across the country will now be able to access broadband speeds in excess of 24Mbps. The government says this is more than double what Ofcom advises is required by a typical family home. But are the figures really that positive? While many consumers now have access to broadband speeds faster than ever before, there are still many communities left in the lurch. Areas such as Epson and Ewell, Tamworth, Worthing, and Watford, all reported over 99% coverage of superfast broadband, while other areas, such as the City of London, boasted just 50.3% coverage. Consumer take-up has also lag ged that of other countries. It’s now believed that if everyone signed up for faster speeds then the UK’s average broadband speed would be around 188.6Mbps, which would far outstrip the current leader, South

Daniel J Sait, editor in chief, ATM

While 95% of the UK now has access to broadband speeds in excess of 24Mbps, even faster speeds could be on the horizon…

4 | January 2018

Korea, which boasts an average speed of just 28.6Mbps. The UK government isn’t stopping at just the 24Mbps target, however. In fact, it has already pumped considerable cash into the roll-out of ultrafast broadband, which could see speeds soar to as much as 1Gbps. Hyperoptic, the UK’s largest gigabit broadband provider, has already received £100m worth of investment to connect even more towns and cities, with it hoping to improve on the roughly 350,000 homes and businesses that are already connected to its network. Openreach, the company charged with the maintenance of the UK’s ageing digital infrastructure, is also investing huge amounts of money on faster internet speeds. Towns and cities such as Gillingham in Kent, Edinburgh and Glasgow in Scotland, as well as Bath and Swansea, are starting to be connected to the company’s broadband network. This

should enable speeds of up to 330Mbps through existing copper cabling, rather than the more reliable fibre optic cabling that is preferred by operators such as Virgin Media and Hyperoptic. All this investment is costing the public purse significantly, however. One criticism of the government’s plan comes from it awarding many of the broadband infrastructure contracts to Openreach. This has annoyed some of BT’s competitors, as the former state-owned enterprise still boasts a significant monopoly over much of the country’s cabling infrastructure. That backlash from BT’s competitors is what forced Ofcom into calling for the separation of BT and Openreach. In a post-Brexit world, the UK government is clearly keen on ensuring the UK stays ahead of the continent when it comes to broadband speeds. Whether it can achieve its ambitious goals for 100% of the island’s citizens is another story…

success through Value, InnoVatIon and exceptIonal serVIce

If It’s needed on your network, we stock It! Comtec are suppliers of over 100 industry leading brands including:

T: +44 (0)1480 415000 E:


Bitdefender and Netgear Team Up To Fight Crime Global security technology company, Bitdefender, announced a partnership with global networking company Netgear that will see its IoT security technology integrated with Netgear devices. This joint offering aims to deliver several outcomes including securing users’ IoT devices at the Wi-Fi router level, protecting sensitive user data from cybercriminals, detecting devices within the Netgear Nighthawk Wi-Fi Router network and identify those with vulnerabilities and blocking malicious URLs to protect from phishing and online fraud via the ‘Safe Browsing’ feature Bitdefender’s integration with Netgear will first be introduced on the Nighthawk AC2300 Smart Wi-Fi router (R7000P) later this quarter. Netgear Armor powered by Bitdefender will be made available for the Orbi Whole Home Wi-Fi system and the Nighthawk per formance routers later in the year via firmware updates. The move comes as much has been made of the vulnerability of ‘smart products’ particularly in the home as criminals use networks to break and enter in a whole new way, stealing information, rather than physical valuables. In short, this move looks to block at router level, reducing the threat. “Bitdefender is a leader in providing comprehensive security solutions for the connected home.” said David J. Henry, Netgear senior vice president of Connected Home. “Together we are providing customers with breakthrough technology to provide smart home security as part of our Nighthawk AC2300 Smart Wi-Fi router. The key benefit of Netgear ARMOR, will be to provide a central security solution that protects all the devices in the home against cyber threats.” Ciprian Istrate, Bitdefender’s VP of consumer solutions, added, “We are excited about our new relationship with Netgear. The integration of our solutions will help prevent damaging breaches and attacks through various types of IoT devices, from doorbells to thermostats to baby monitors to security cameras to smart TVs. We’re pleased that our long history of breakthroughs in IT security can now be a part of a new offering that helps protect IoT devices from cyber criminals.” Bitdefender

Analyst report warns of hybrid cloud performance issues A new whitepaper by Quocirca on behalf of data centre operator Next Generation Data (NGD) alerts user organisations to the per formance risks of using the public internet for providing wide area (WAN) connectivity between their private, public and legacy environments. The report also indicates the alternative of using dedicated WAN links will prove cost prohibitive for many. The whitepaper addresses an array of concerns, discussing the benefits and pitfalls of hybrid cloud implementations and the increasing importance of colocation data centres for delivering optimum hybrid performance. Taking the recently launched Microsoft Azure Stack hybrid cloud solution as an example, it advises using a colocation facility rather than on premise in order to minimise latency when connecting to Azure public cloud services. As part of this, it emphasises the need for colocation data centres with sufficiently dense power availability and direct gateway connections into Microsoft’s dedicated ExpressRoute WAN. However, it warns there are currently very few data centres with such capabilities, potentially exposing organisations to facilities that are purely points of presence (PoP) along the ExpressRoute. “In many cases, end customers will have to strike a deal with these PoP providers who will provide dedicated connections using quality of service technologies to connect into the end customer’s facility,” said Clive Longbottom, Quocirca’s principal research analyst. “So, there is still the issue of the last link between data centres that must be monitored and managed outside of the Microsoft environment.” Clive added, “Such complexity is hard to avoid but can lead to problems for those aiming for a seamless logical hybrid cloud platform. The obvious solution is to find a colocation provider who is also an ExpressRoute termination point. Here, the end customer takes space within the colocation facility and places their Azure Stack equipment within it. Using intra-facility connectivity speeds, they then connect through to the ExpressRoute environment, giving an Azure Stack/Azure Public Cloud experience that is essentially one consistently performing platform.” Simon Bearne, commercial director at NGD commented, “Relying on a hotchpotch of wide area network connections could be the downfall of any hybrid cloud implementation. Choosing a fit for purpose colocation facility will ensure user organisations enjoy a seamless, reliable fullyfunctional experience. For maximum flexibility, look for colocation providers which offer direct connectivity into the main public clouds and have dedicated high per formance networks underpinning connectivity between their own and other facilities.” Next Generation Data

6 | January 2018


5G to AR: What tech to watch in 2018 2017 brought us blistering fast networks, inescapable digital assistants, which are, well everywhere, and coming into 2018 the rise of augmented reality (AR). The promise of 5G and the popularity of ubiquitous digital assistants are already very familiar – but they really are only just getting star ted – so well wor th keeping your eyes on as we move into 2018. Sure enough, these featured technologies won’t be the only innovations that will land on our doorstep in the coming months and you can bet there are some technologies under the radar awaiting to sur face. In this ever-evolving tech world, we can expect this. The freshest of developments will surely exploit advances in machine learning and ar tificial intelligence (AI), promising to allow tech we engage with on a daily basis to become that much more useful.

The ubiquitous digital assistant Most of us are already well acquainted with Amazon’s Alexa or the Google Assistant, Google Home speakers and maybe even third-party speakers making your home that much smarter. So, what can be expected from these chatty AI digital assistants moving into the new year ? Well among other digital assistants – Microsoft Cortana, Apple’s Siri and Samsung’s Bixby – we should expect to hear their voices elsewhere, TV’s, fridges, smart watches, headphones, cars and even the workplace. But how will they evolve so that they are not just reciting weather forecasts and playing music? Efforts to make them sound more human are underway, with developments for assistants to get to know us better – moods and accomplishments. Gartner projects that the voice-enabled wireless speaker market will reach $2.1 billion by 2020, up from $360 million in 2015.


Augmented reality

Covered a lot by NCN in 2017, 5G. Defined by Lindsay Notwell in our November issue as having the potential to be, “as transformative as electricity itself”, the hype will only get big ger as we can expect to begin to get a taste of 5G potential. A major early 5G test will be launched in February at the Pyeongchang Olympic Winter Games, South Korea. Trials are also set to take place in the U.S. too, with Verizon announcing plans to offer 5G ser vice in three to five U.S. markets in 2018, Sacramento being one of them. But what should we expect when it does arrive? The broad consensus is that 5G will go beyond just the blazing fast phone in the pocket. It has the potential to influence everything from self-driving cars and the Internet of Things (IoT) to vir tual reality and remote medicine.

Interest in virtual reality may have waned to some extent but augmented reality could pick up steam in 2018. Apple and Google have thrown their respective weighs around their ARKit and ARCore developer platforms. Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft are also banking on AR.

Pushing computing to the edge You don’t have to follow tech closely to recognise the profound impact that cloud computing has had on society during this past decade. Under cloud computing, computers have largely been centralised in the Internet or what is referred to as the cloud. But the proliferation of IoT, connected sensors, autonomous cars Etc. has really been a driving a hot topic among technologists and featured more often than not in NCN over the past few months.

January 2018 | 7


ISC president says IIoT lacks communication standards The development of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), which is an important support for smart manufacturing, lacks communication standards for interconnection and data security, according to Internet Society of China (ISC) president Wu Hequan. IIoT structurally consists of four main parts: hardware terminal devices for collecting data, communication services (data transmission), cloud computing platforms and software systems; and they account for 5%, 10%, 10% and 55%, respectively, of the IIoT supply chain, said Wu, who is also a member of Chinese Academy of Engineering. Large q ua ntities of s e ns o r s a re u s e d in Io T. In te r ms of the n umber of s e ns o r s u s e d , IIo T ra nk s t hi rd next to Io T a pplicat io ns fo r s m a r t p h o ne s and au tomobiles , a rg uab l y t h o u gh it is l ike l y to su r pass them. While th e re is l a rge d ive r s it y of I IoT -u se s ens ors *, flow, p re s s u re a nd te m p e rat u re se nsor ta ke up 21%, 19% a nd 1 4 % re s p e ct ive l y of all I IoT s ens ors . Past devel o pment of IIo T wa s h a m p e re d b y a lack of ef ficient commu nic at io n te c h no l o gie s . Fi eld bus ba r wa s the init ia l co m m u nic at io n te c hnol o gy us ed in IIo T, b u t t h e re we re to o many dif ferent s ta n da rd s . Wh il e E t h e r net wa s later u sed in IIoT, in dus t r ia l E t h e r net s aw m a ny i ncomp atibl e s ta n da rds . IIoT is vulnerable to data breach. It always connected, and despite closed connectivity, physical separation renders it likely to be attacked by external viruses’ due to management negligence, Wu said. As the impact of IIoT data insecurity is immeasurable, it is necessary to adopt strict information security technologies, such as real-time network monitoring and early warning, distributed sensing for industrial data, user recognition, tracking, decentralised authentication and experimental models, energy-efficient encryption and privacy protection for heterogeneous data. It is also necessary to set up bridges between suppliers of IIoT technologies/products and industrial users and develop different solutions to meet demand from various industries and enterprise users. * Sensors generate information and collection of information needs to use smart instruments, spot meters, distributed control systems, field control systems, PLCs (programmable logic controllers). Internet Society of China

Flowmon joins F5 Networks technology alliance program Flowmon Networks, a vendor of advanced monitoring and security solutions for network infrastructures, announces that it has joined F5 Networks’ Technology Alliance Program (TAP). Together they aim to bring automated DDoS protection solution to service providers and enterprises. The latest outbreaks, such as Mirai botnet utilising IoT vulnerabilities, have shown that the DDoS attack landscape is entering a new phase. With IoT, attackers have uncovered a new vector of lucrative denial-of-service extortions with unprecedented magnitude. Simultaneously, organisations must still defend against longstanding attack methods, such as DNS flood. Flowmon and F5 Networks have joined forces in a bid to help service providers fight multi-vector DDoS attacks and to protect their customers’ businesses. The companies say the solution also fits the needs of enterprises which need to ensure availability of their applications. “Our joint solution combines Flowmon’s top notch DDoS detection capabilities with the mitigation excellence of F5’s BIG-IP platform. All of this on a previously unseen level of automation. The solution ensures the fastest mean time to resolution while freeing the administrator from manual drudgery,” stated Petr Springl, director of products & alliances at Flowmon Networks. “At the same time, the administrator has the entire mitigation process under control.” The joint solution is delivered by Flowmon’s partner Infradata in the United Kingdom. The solution is built upon the integration between Flowmon DDoS Defender and F5 BIG-IP Advanced Firewall Manager (BIG-IP AFM). Flowmon says their solution learns and observes network traffic to detect violations and anomalies, and when a DDoS attack is detected, the solution provides its characteristics, diverts the traffic to BIG-IP AFM, and triggers configuration of BIG-IP AFM. As a result of this, F5’s BIG-IP AFM can automatically initiate an appropriate mitigation path. When the attack is over, Flowmon is informed by BIG-IP AFM, changes the routing back to normal, and cleans the configuration of F5 BIG-IP AFM. “With deep threat intelligence services and flexible mitigation options, F5 BIG-IP AFM defends against DDoS attacks to all network layers, stopping them before they cause real damage. Specifically, F5 BIG-IP AFM scales to shut down high capacity DDoS attacks that can overwhelm applications, intrusion detection and prevention systems, firewalls, and even networks,” said Frank Strobel, director of business development security partnerships at F5 Networks. Last year, Flowmon reached a 500% year-to-year revenue growth in UK. Aspiring to keep this momentum going, the company say it is fortifying its channel and broadening its partner base. Its recently formed business development team, led by Filip Cerny, aims to bring Flowmon’s network intelligence especially to internet service providers and the enterprise market. Flowmon

8 | January 2018


Cisco unveils Infinite Broadband Unlocked for cBR-8 Cisco has announced a new, highly flexible DOCSIS licensing plan for its cable operator customers using the Cisco Converged Broadband Router (cBR-8) platform to deliver high-speed broadband, video, and voice services. The company says Infinite Broadband Unlocked (IBU) is the first licensing program of its kind in the cable industry designed to help cable operators compete with fibre-tothe-home systems. With this new program, Cisco aims to improve the economics of offering multi-gigabit ser vices via distributed access cable architectures employing Remote PHY (RPHY) technology. The new Cisco IBU licensing program is set to allow cable operators to focus on business outcomes by simplifying license acquisition and management. Cisco says, unlike traditional licensing models for converged cable access platform (CCAP) devices, which require cable operators to purchase large numbers of new bandwidth licenses for every service group where they want to offer the expanded service, IBU has only one license type based on bandwidth consumption. The company proclaims that for the first time, cable operators have the capability to provision all of the capacity of their CCAP plat forms without restrictions or upfront licensing expense. So, what are the business benefits of IBU to cable operators? Cisco has said IBU assists in: Provision and promote multi-gigabit service tiers across their footprints without the risk of stranding capital Simplifying service group splits and video/data convergence by eliminating the need to purchase additional license types.

IBU licensing is aligned to the number of subscribers across the network, so license investment is highly aligned to revenues. This makes licensing investment much more predictable and simpler to manage. “IBU helps cable operators be more competitive and gain subscriber market share,” said Sean Welch, vice president and general manager, cable access, service provider business, Cisco. “We have listened carefully to our customers, and with this new offer we have specifically focused on making DOCSIS licensing simple and aligned with their business objectives.” The IBU licensing plan is available for current and new Cisco cBR-8 customers worldwide. Cisco

Broadcom targets Qualcomm investors in acquisition bid Back in November Broadcom approached Qualcomm with a deal worth $130 billion and though firmly rejected, it doesn’t appear that Broadcom got the memo. Shareholders of the US chipmaker are now being directly contacted by post and a letter has been sent extolling the virtues of a potential deal. The acquisition, which would give stakeholders $60.00 in cash and $10.00 in Broadcom stock per share, was quickly rebuffed by Qualcomm which said the proposal ‘significantly undervalues’ Qualcomm, its place in the chip market, and the firm’s future prospects.

“It is the board’s unanimous belief that Broadcom’s proposal significantly undervalues Qualcomm relative to the company’s leadership position in mobile technology and our future growth prospects,” said Paul Jacobs, executive chairman and chairman of the Qualcomm board at the time. Bro a d co m, h oweve r, i n si st s t h e p ro p o s a l of fe r s i nve sto r s a d d i t i o n a l va l u e , a nd sh o u l d t h e b u y o u t ta ke p l a c e , t h is wo u l d c re ate a “ st ro n g , gl o b a l co m p a n y w i t h a n i m p re ssi ve p o r t fo l io of i n d u st r y l e a d i n g te c h no l o g i e s a n d p ro d u ct s. ” Qualcomm’s 2018 Annual Meeting of Stockholders is scheduled for the 6th March 2018. Broadcom’s letter, sent in advance of this meeting, is encouraging investors to vote for a complete replacement of the board via a blue proxy card. T h e l ette r, p e n n e d b y Ho c k Ta n , p re s id e nt a n d C EO of B ro a d co m , s tate s t h at si n c e Qu a l co m m re j e cte d t h e a cqu is i t i o n p ro p o sa l , B ro a d co m

h a s “ sp o ke n w i t h m a n y Qu alcomm sto c k h o l d e r s a n d c u sto me r s , an d we h ave h e a rd t h e i r d e si re fo r Q ualcomm to e n ga ge w i t h u s re ga rd i n g our co mp e l l i n g p ro p o sa l . ” “We have heard their desire for Qualcomm to engage with us regarding our compelling proposal,” the letter continued. “It remains our strong preference to engage cooperatively with Qualcomm’s Board and management team, and we are prepared to meet immediately to work toward a mutually acceptable definitive agreement.” In the meantime, Broadcom wants to apply a level of pressure which cannot be ignored. The semiconductor firm wants shareholders to vote for all ‘11 independent and highly qualified individuals’ to replace the board. The company says that if the 11 fresh faces are appointed, they would – upon election – reappoint three existing Qualcomm directors, Mark McLaughlin, Tony Vinciquerra and Jeffrey Henderson. Broadcom

January 2018 | 9


Rittal takes it to the Edge Companies that employ machine-to-machine communication to streamline manufacturing require real-time capabilities. IT resources deployed in close geographical proximity ensure that latency is low, and data readily available. Meet the Rittal Edge Data Centre, which delivers on both.

T The Rittal Edge Data Center offers an easy to deploy modular approach

he Rittal Edge Data Centre is designed to provide an effective answer to the complex needs of the market. It is a turn-key, pre-configured solution based on standardised infrastructure. The maker says it can be implemented rapidly and cost-efficiently – paving the way for Industry 4.0 applications. Rittal’s solution delivers an end-to-end product with standardised, preconfigured IT infrastructure. The Rittal Edge Data Centre comprises two Rittal TS IT racks, plus corresponding modules for climate control, power distribution, UPS, fire suppression, monitoring and secure access. These units are available in various output classes and can be combined for rapid deployment. Moreover, to safeguard critical components from heat, dust and dirt in industrial

Data Centre In A Box All the key data centre capabilities..... .......just on a smaller scale. ENCLOSURES




Rittal. Power and vision environments, the solution can be implemented in a self-contained high-availability room. Clive Partridge, Rittal’s technical manager for IT infrastructure, observes, “The Edge Data Center allows organisations to quickly and simply establish IT environments equipped for the challenges of what’s been termed ‘the fourth industrial revolution’. Combined with the as-a-ser vice offering that we jointly provide with iNNOVO Cloud, the Rittal Edge Data Center is a complete, one-stop solution for enterprises of all sizes.” They are then free to focus on their core tasks while harnessing the benefits of the Internet of Things (IoT) for their business. Hand-in-hand with its IT-as-aservice (ITaaS) platform provider iNNOVO Cloud, Rittal also offers private-cloud data centres in shipping containers, plus ITaaS. The containers are fully equipped with all key active components, such as servers, network connectivity and storage for immediate use.

The Rittal Edge Data Center can be extended two racks at a time and the modular approach provides diverse options, allowing for a variety of scenarios – for example, installation in an IT security room, or in a container, to be located wherever it is required. Many of Rittal’s IT solutions can be seen in March as the company is exhibiting at Data Centre World, March 21-22, London’s Excel Centre, get along to stand D510 and check them out. Rittal 01709 704 000,

Since its foundation in 1961, Rittal has continuously evolved to become one of world’s leading systems providers for enclosures, power distribution, climate control, IT infrastructure and software & services. Today, ‘Rittal – The System’ offers technicians and customers a coordinated system plat form. It unites innovative productions, pioneering engineering solutions and global ser vice to accommodate the most diverse requirements. It caters to a whole host of industries, from machinery and plant engineering, to the automotive industry, through to information technology. All from a single source, all in top quality. A workforce of 10,000 manufactures and develops the ‘Rittal – The System’ concept. Companies can also tap into synergy potential with sister company Eplan, a leading manufacturer of software for cross-disciplinary engineering solutions.

As well as the Edge Data Center, Rittal has a huge range of products and solutions to offer

Challenging the Edge: The “Data Centre in a Box” concept enables equipment to be deployed in non-traditional Data Centre environments.


TS-IT rack platform Demand-orientated climate control System monitoring Intelligent power rails



Pole Position Over the past ten years Sahara Force India has risen to become one of the sport’s most prominent success stories. For that reason, SAS has been very vocal in announcing that is has been selected as an official technology partner by the Sahara Force India F1 team. SAS is set to work closely with the team to maximise the per formance and reliability of its network and infrastructure using its advanced monitoring technology. SAS will monitor the Wide Area Network (WAN), LAN, ser vers and applications at all Sahara Force India F1 team locations, and the team will work to optimise per formance, troubleshoot issues and gain insight into trends. Colin Mattey, chairman of SAS, said, “F1 teams monitor huge amounts of data to help them perform at the highest levels of the sport. They rely on their network and infrastructure to handle that data. This partnership will showcase the technology, skills and services that we use to help organisations who need the very best performance and reliability from their infrastructure.”

O t m a r Szaf n a u e r, c h i e f o p e rat i n g of f i c e r of S a h a ra F o rc e I n d i a a d d e d , “ T h i s i s a n i m p o r ta nt p a r t n e r s h i p fo r S a h a ra F o rc e I n d i a b e c a u s e SA S i s a l e a d e r i n t h e m o n i to r i n g a n d m a n a ge m e nt o f g l o b a l n et wo r k s .

T h e a p p l i c at i o n s t h at we r u n f ro m a l l c o r n e r s o f t h e wo r l d d e p e n d o n re l i a b l e n et wo r k s a n d we h ave eve r y c o n f i d e n c e t h at t h e SA S s o l u t i o n i s t h e b e s t o n t h e m a r ket . ” SAS

Network partner agreement provides connectivity platform Epsilon, a communications service provider, has partnered with Bulk Infrastructure, Norway’s distinguished Data Centre Developer to deliver rapid access to the world’s leading cloud service providers. Bulk Infrastructure is set to deploy the Cloud Link eXchange (CloudLX) module of the Infiny by Epsilon ondemand connectivity platform in its Oslo Internet Exchange (OS-IX) carrier hotel. The company says service providers in the Oslo Internet Exchange will now be able to rapidly interconnect new services globally in and out of Bulk’s OS-IX facility at the click of a button. The deployment is said to create a major aggregation point for local network ser vice providers, internet ser vice providers, carriers and cloud ser vice providers. The par tner agreement will see Epsilon deploying a full Point-of-Presence (PoP) within Bulk’s OS-IX facility, expanding its global interconnect fabric in the Nordics and enabling it to ser ve local and global customers. Bulk Infrastructure is a Norwegian data centre infrastructure developer specialising in the development of data centre real estate, data centre services

12 | January 2018

and fibre optic infrastructure with a focus on dark fibre. Its OS-IX carrier hotel facility acts as an aggregation centre and enterprise connect point for Norway. “Bulk Infrastructure has a unique vision for the market and we are proud to support them with ondemand connectivity to the Cloud. The combination of robust data centre infrastructure and presence in the OS-IX creates an ideal scenario for deploying CloudLX and giving its customers rapid access to a global cloud service provider community. It gains the scalability and flexibility to support the growth of the Cloud locally and around the world,” said Carl Roberts, CCO at Epsilon. Peder Naerboe, owner and chairman at Bulk Infrastructure commented on the partnership with Epsilon, “We want to create Norway as one of the world’s most attractive locations for digital services and data centres. CloudLX gives our customers the ability to serve growing Cloud demands with new agility. It has a model that matches user expectations while also offering them the flexibility to grow. Epsilon is greatly simplifying a multi-cloud connecting

Norway’s leading Data Centre Developer has signed a network partner agreement with Epsilon to provide an on-demand connectivity platform delivering Global Cloud Access at the click of a button

strategy, enabling our customers gain control over their services which will in turn allow them to benefit from new efficiency and speed when accessing the Cloud. That will support their growth in the long-term.” The CloudLX module of Infiny by Epsilon claims to provide users with on-demand access to Cloud Service Providers like Alibaba Cloud, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure as well as the world’s leading Internet Exchanges. Epsilon


Critical cost-effective connection

Highways England has awarded a contract worth nearly half a billion pounds to UK technology and network services company, telent Technology Services, to help keep England moving into the future. Highways England has awarded the contract for the operation and management The contract will see telent take over the current of NRTS (National Roads NRTS network and provide an end-to-end managed Telecommunication Services), service from the 24-hour network operations centre a critical component of at Quinton, Birmingham. national infrastructure supporting the country’s 4,400 mile strategic road network, to telent Technology Services Ltd (telent). The contract will see telent take over the current NRTS network and provide an end-to-end managed service from the 24-hour network operations centre at Quinton, Birmingham. Field services will transition from the current suppliers to telent, including current staff that will transfer under TUPE to join the telent team. Commencing spring 2018, telent, together with its technology partners, will collaborate with Highways England to transform the NRTS network and roll-out innovative, carrier grade network technology, which will support the provision of new telecommunication services. The projects aim is to increase safety for road workers and users, helping to ensure that drivers and their passengers can travel with minimal delays, and facilitate the development of future communications-based services alongside the strategic road network. telent CEO, Mark Plato, said, “This large, seven year contract is an outstanding accomplishment. With telent’s proven capability designing, delivering and supporting England’s critical national infrastructure, we are uniquely positioned to support Highways England who we have had a relationship with for over 20 years. We are excited to begin work transforming the NRTS network, ensuring we deliver a service that consistently upholds health and safety standards and delivers the required performance. Currently, NRTS is used to connect Highways England’s seven regional control centres with over 30,000 roadside devices, including CCTV cameras, message signs, emergency roadside phones and smart motorway equipment. Today, NRTS comprises approximately 6,000 miles of fibre and copper networks, 145 transmission stations and almost 5,000 roadside cabinets. Highways England’s requirements for the new contract included effective service continuity and the ability to undertake a transformation programme without impacting on the service, whilst also reducing roadside maintenance activity. The upgraded programme will improve reliability, increase remote services, and support the introduction of new services such as wireless and IP CCTV.

Silver Peak, known for its broadband and hybrid WAN solutions, has revealed that one of the UK’s prominent not-for-profit healthcare organisations, Nuffield Health, has deployed Silver Peak Unity EdgeConnect software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) solution as part of its cloud-first IT strategy. Since deploying Silver Peak’s SD-WAN, Nuffield Health has reduced WAN traffic by up to 75% and seen a 4-6x increase in bandwidth. As a widely-distributed organisation, with two data centres and around 20,000 users across more than 260 sites throughout the UK – including 31 hospitals, 111 fitness and wellbeing gyms, and 121 corporate fitness and wellbeing centres – Nuffield Health was finding that its legacy multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) WAN was struggling to connect its users to business critical cloud-based applications. They include Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications such as TrakCare for Electronic Medical Records and Office365, as well as Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) applications such as Microsoft Azure. Following a review of its WAN usage, Nuffield Health found that more than 60% of its WAN traffic was being backhauled through its two data centres to the internet, which was significantly impairing network and SaaS performance. As such, Nuffield Health turned to Silver Peak through its partner Ampito, a provider of technology solutions, to design a WAN edge architecture that would intelligently and securely route WAN traffic over the internet-based on application-driven policies, without compromising performance. “As a not-for-profit healthcare organisation with sites located across the UK, our staff rely heavily on data-critical applications to care for patients and to meet the needs of our customers,” said Dan Morgan, IT operations director at Nuffield Health. “Whether it’s accessing digital images on the operating table, or using the latest high-tech gym equipment, it was clear that our existing network infrastructure wasn’t up to scratch. As such, we required a reliable WAN solution that would improve network performance and securely support our cloud-first IT strategy.” As a result of the Silver Peak deployment, Nuffield Health claims it is now able to run dual internet links to its branches, with some sites able to run on 4G LTE for connectivity until its fibre internet service is delivered. “We are delighted that Nuffield Health is benefitting from a reliable network for such a large and geographically distributed organisation, and that its proven so successful,” said Chris Helfer, senior vice president of worldwide sales, Silver Peak. “Applications continue to move to the cloud and Nuffield Health is a classic example of how organisations are taking advantage of our cloud-first SD-WAN solution to build a new, more cost-effective and high-per formance WAN edge.”


Silver Peak 0408-935-1800

Highway to the future

January 2018 | 13


From Ford to Watson: Developing an operational revolution Curtis Peterson, SVP Cloud Operations at RingCentral, provider of cloud-based communications and collaboration solutions, offers insight into the strengths, weaknesses and opportunity posed by the cloud-based communication revolution.


rom the early car production lines to artificial intelligence; building smarter, efficient, and ultimately better processes is the goal of business. The current trend toward DevOps (the engineering practice that aims at unifying software development and software operation) typifies this journey, but for many the barrier is still telecommunication systems that often reside in a separate and largely isolated world. Yet, the arrival of cloud-based communication and collaboration platforms with more open API’s offers developers new ways to build

14 | January 2018

Curtis argues the comms industry is facing huge change

better applications able to leverage voice, video and messaging. It might seem like a simple change, but up until that point in 1913, building a car was about teams of people adding elements to skeletal chassis that would stay in situ until the car was ready to be driven off the factory floor. Although possibly an early example of parallelism, with many elements sometimes running in sequence, the reality was massive inefficiency due to a lack of specialisation, duplication of tools that were often left idle for long periods of time and delays while dependent tasks were completed in series. The switch that year to

the moving conveyor belt driven production line reduced car manufacturing time from over 12 hours to 150 minutes; a dramatic shift for Ford that helped it to quickly establish the Model T as the flagship and most cost effective vehicle of its era. The same shift is potentially taking place in communications as organisations begin to fundamentally remake how people, devices, and in a few use cases, artificial intelligences, share information to ultimately improve the collaborative process. There are many elements across the communication landscape that indicates the


shift. Some are on the vendor side with the wholesale move towards software and specifically cloud-based technologies as the primary communication platform. Other indicators include the rise of video as a viable communications media and the willingness of people to adopt real-time chat and file sharing. However, one of the most fundamental changes is the adoption of ‘development and operations’, often called DevOps.

What does it all mean? There are similar, but slightly varied descriptions of what it means. Take Amazon Web Ser vices definition: DevOps is the combination of cultural philosophies, practices, and tools that increases an organisation’s ability to deliver applications and ser vices at high velocity: evolving and improving products at a faster pace than organisations using traditional software development and infrastructure management processes. This is as good as any as it crucially recognises that DevOps is more than just technology but at heart is based around empowerment of individuals. Communications technology, both internally to foster a DevOps culture and externally to allow applications and services to interact with users, customers and each other is possibly the most vital component of many transactional systems. However, up until quite recently, most communications platforms from the legacy PBX days were pretty much closed ecosystems. The arguments around reliability were often a mask for vendors keen on locking customers into a particular upgrade path and discouraging rival third party add-ons. The clouds first vendors within communication have, in many ways, broken that outdated model by embracing application programming interfaces and actively seeking third party developers to add more value to unified communication ecosystems. To give just one example, the Glip platform is ostensibly real-time

“Glip and similar platforms not only provide interface, but also act as a glue to make integration easier between disparate software and services.”

text, voice, or video conferencing along with file sharing and task management for collaborative groups. What might be less well known is that it already supports a huge number of third party apps such as Google Drive, the ZenDesk customer service software, MailChip email management and Stripe ecommerce and payment platform. To date, over 60 well known applications are already supported and the API driven nature of Glip means that new supported apps are being added on a weekly basis by both users and ISV’s – made easier as Glip also supports GitHub, the world’s largest software repository. For organisations that develop their own bespoke software, Glip and similar platforms not only provide interface, but also act as a glue to make integration easier between disparate software and services. This level of openness means that applications like Glip are morphing to become customer specific and not just cookie cutter communication platforms. The hundreds of offthe-cloud apps supported by Glip will soon be overtaken by the potentially tens of thousands of unique, organisation specific implementations that blend different sets of apps and features. As part of a DevOp ethos, organisations are building truly unified environments that are designed for the value propositions that underpin each business model. More importantly, they can do this quickly and adapt even faster as circumstances change.

However, there are still some challenges to overcome. The first is a lack of skills. Although software development and integration has been made easier through more open systems, there is still a shortage of developers with cloud native skills. This situation is changing but technology and in particular the cloud era is running at a faster pace than people can graduate or retrain. Security is still a concern for some, as applications merge multiple code elements into a more complex whole. However, to date, there have been no major security breaches in any cloud-based communication platform but some fears remain. On a security front, it could be argued that legacy applications that have become overlooked and consequently unpatched pose a much more significant threat. What is clear is that the velocity of application and ser vice development and delivery show no signs of slowing down. Elements such as Ar tificial Intelligence are now moving from gimmick to a real value added benefit. Innovators such as IBM’s Watson and even Amazon’s Alexa in the consumer space are becoming productised into a fashion that allows for easier integration. The general direction of travel is exciting and this generation of unified communications may well deliver efficiency improvements that would make even Henry Ford envious. RingCentral 0800 098 8136

January 2018 | 15


Openreach for the stars Does Openreach’s flexibility mean that the fruits of ISP collaboration are starting to ripen? Russell Crampin, UK managing director of connectivity company Axians, gives his view.


penreach has dominated telco news in recent months, and not always for positive reasons. The company has been positioned at the vanguard of the government’s big push towards superfast broadband for all, and the competition hasn’t taken kindly to it. In particular, a proposed £600 million deal contracting Openreach to deliver superfast broadband to 1.4 million rural homes has led to the threat of legal action from the likes of Talk Talk, who wish to have a greater say in the future of Britain’s digital infrastructure.

16 | January 2018

Openreach and BT: separate but equal? Most Internet Ser vice Providers (ISPs) will have mixed feelings about the reform of BT’s Openreach infrastructure division, on the one hand welcoming any change, however small, and on the other wishing that Ofcom had enforced a complete divorce from the parent company. In the strange pseudoseparation which has followed, Openreach has become a whollyowned subsidiary of BT Group with a new Chairman and board whose members are supposed to have no affiliation to BT at all. An estimated

32,000 BT Group employees are now Openreach employees, and Openreach will be run as a separate company with its own non-BT branding. So far so good, but ultimately Openreach is still accountable to BT Group, with the telco successfully persuading Ofcom that keeping its network assets under BT Group control was a key requirement for the company in meeting legal obligations to shareholders and employees. Dress it up (or down) anyway you want to, but the truth of the matter is that the vast majority of UK copper and fibre broadband


Rural broadband rollout has been a particular area of concern

Not everyone is happy with the current Openreach and BT situation

infrastructure is still under BT control and rival providers will have to continue leasing BT-owned wholesale network capacity (via Openreach) to serve their own customers. The question now is whether the newly ‘independent’ Openreach delivers on its promise of making it easier for BT’s retail competitors to provision new circuits and services using that infrastructure whilst extending faster fibre connectivity to more UK businesses and consumers. Competition is much needed in fibre broadband, at a time when the cost of the technology continues to come down and it begins to merge with traditional networks. It is crucial that businesses throughout the country have access to commercialgrade broadband; this will allow them (particularly SMEs) to take advantage of higher speeds and deliver greater results for themselves and their customers.

We talk a lot about consumers not being able to stream YouTube or Netflix, but there are a lot of strides being made by providers in this area. However, UK businesses are being left behind in some ways; they can’t take advantage of certain new technologies because they’re still running on old infrastructure. The coverage, breadth, speed and reliability just isn’t there, and that is frustrating. With Brexit looming, we have to start competing as the UK, not as part of the EU, and smaller businesses are left at a disadvantage by sluggish broadband speeds. BT and Openreach have long argued that the pace of that expansion is dictated by the considerable costs involved in building new networks, one reason why Ofcom has also mandated that Openreach consider different infrastructure investment models to speed things up. That led to initial talks with Vodafone to jointly fund a roll out ultra-fast fibre in select British cities. But while Vodafone has not ruled anything out, any Openreach deal looks less likely after it announced plans to roll out gigabit speed FTTP to 5m UK homes in par tnership with CityFibre in November. Openreach is certainly open to more flexible co-investment arrangements (under the watchful eye and pointed encouragement of Ofcom’s dedicated Openreach Monitoring unit), but any collaboration with any other nonBT owned UK ISPs may take a long time to thrash out.

The digital infrastructure revolution This dispute comes at a time when the government is making effor ts and investment in the UK’s digital infrastructure. Spearheading this initiative is the £400 million Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund (DIIF), which seeks to ‘revolutionise Britain’s digital infrastructure, make internet access more reliable for homes and businesses, and enable more people to work remotely without disruption.’ This is clearly a step in the right direction, but what is less positive however is that most broadband connections run off decades old telephone lines and networks that simply aren’t built to meet the needs of the modern consumer or business. With the business of today aspiring to become more digital and to afford its employees the advantages of remote working, it is essential that we achieve high-speed broadband for all, no matter the location. 49% of business network managers say internal legacy technology is still holding back the organisation from their digital strategy, and innovation is being hampered further by unreliable broadband speeds. The government’s pledge to achieve super fast broadband for 95% of Britain by the end of the year is a noble objective, but one that may not be possible in such a short space of time given that our infrastructure is built on such outdated networks. Axians

January 2018 | 17





The Event Of The Year. May 9th - 10th 2018

Ready in good stead for 2018, EI Live! is back and



ready to blow your smart home socks off. There’ll be a



brand new format for exhibitors, a delicious networking



dinner where the winners of the Smart Building Awards


will be announced, and a jam-packed learning zone


with a super schedule of spectacular speakers.

Book your stand now, your competitor has!

w w i t t e r. co m /e i l i ve s h ow Untitled-13 2

21/12/2017 15:56

Product Categories



Gala Awards Dinner - May 9 - Receive your award - Network with industry leaders - Live entertainment - Three course meal


Projector screen of the year Projector of the year Bracket/rack or mounting product of the year Loudspeaker of the year Cable solution of the year Matrix/signal distribution product of the year Multi-room/zone music solution of the year Dedicated touchscreen of the year TV/Display of the year Integrated TV/Display of the year

Project Categories -

Best cinema project Best commercial integration project Best whole house project Multi-dwelling unit (MDU) project of the year

Company Categories -

Distributor of the year Manufacturer of the year Training initiative of the year

People Categories -

Sales person of the year Special recognition award

w w i t t e r. co m /e i l i ve s h ow Untitled-13 3

21/12/2017 15:56


Are your CCTV Networks exposed? Surveillance specialist, Veracity tells NCN that many CCTV networks may be at the peril of cyber-attacks, explaining how to mitigate the threat and protect yourself and customers.


ou are probably familiar with networks that extend to the far edges of a company’s infrastructure to suppor t their CCTV camera requirements. But were you aware that these may be using existing coax networks with device adapters that suppor t the latest IP cameras, and other base connectors which marry

20 | January 2018

the coax to the IP network? Unfor tunately, this is a familiar scenario that Veracity has to encounter on a daily basis and with many organisations. Surprisingly a great many companies do not realise the real cyber security threat that this poses, and in some circumstances, it can create a direct path into their corporate networks and applications.

Mitigating The Cyber Threat? Any externally mounted IP camera has the potential to leave an exposed network connection, and if fallen into the hands of an attacker they will be able to pry access into the rest of the network. Since many surveillance networks are often bridged to a corporate network, one that is compromised is left extremely vulnerable. The first advisable solution would be


re-evaluating the current cyber risk assessment that is upheld, ensuring that surveillance and CCTV networks are incorporated and monitored could prove instrumental to deflecting any prospective cyber-attack. Any tampering with a CCTV network requires quick identification and a rapid response. This includes the immediate detection of any disconnect/reconnect or tampering activities taking place on any part of the cabling between the camera and the access point to the internal IP network. Whenever an attack is detected, the power and data for the tampered channel needs to be completely disconnected. Even ‘tapping in’ to the network, or coax cables, needs to be treated in this manner. A n i mpor ta nt point to note i s t hat even in s cen a rio s wh e re a se c u re, o r en crypted, l ink h a s bee n i mplemented over co ax t here are s til l cyber s ec u r it y ex posures . En cryption d o e s not prevent intrus ion , a s th e E t h e r net li nk to the ca mera is s t il l o p e n and u nsecured.

Veracity’s Custom Solution When an intrusion is detected all external equipment needs to be isolated immediately from the internal LAN. For this reason, Veracity has created LINKLOCK. Technology such as LINKLOCK aims to provide secure, tamperproof Ethernet and POE network connections over coax cable. Veracity identifies the importance of such solutions stating that LINKLOCK is designed to be simple to install, configuring automatically to provide secure barrier to unauthorised access of a network where external devices leave it exposed. As the CCTV cyber threat is only set to increase, a solution such as LINKLOCK that works by constantly monitoring the power over Ethernet (POE) connection and data transmissions should be sought. Veracity says that its solution can detect even subtle changes or interruptions in the data transmission characteristics and these will trigger disconnection and an alarm, whilst remaining extremely robust against false alarms. Blocking mode (disconnection) occurs when the coax or Ethernet cables outside the building are

Solutions such as LINKLOCK block intrusions from surveillance systems into a network

tampered with, disconnected or disrupted. After suitable action is taken to determine the cause of the alarm (including a possible attacker) the channel can then be re-established only via reset pins. Typically, the camera disconnection would itself be used to trigger an alarm within the VMS (Video Management System) or the NVR (Network Video Recorder). Veracity 01292 264 967,

“Any externally-mounted IP camera has the potential to leave an exposed network connection, if fallen into the hands of an attacker they will be able to pry access into the rest of the network.”

January 2018 | 21


Inspiring Insightful Innovation Marc Sollars, CTO of specialist integrator of next-gen technology Teneo, jumps on NCN’s Q&A bandwagon. What are you up to today? To d a y I a m i n Lo n d o n m e et i n g c u s to m e r s a s I u n d e r ta ke m y ro l e a s c h i ef te c h n o l o g y o f f i c e r at Te n e o . T h e re a re t wo p a r t s to m y ro l e . F i r s t l y , i t ’ s a b o u t m e et i n g w i t h o u r g l o b a l c u s to m e r s a n d m a k i n g i t o u r p r i o r i t y to u n d e r s ta n d h ow t h e y s e e Te n e o . P r i m a r i l y t h e m e et i n g s a re s et to a s c e r ta i n a n u n d e r s ta n d i n g o f w h e re t h e i r b u s i n e s s i s g o i n g , ga u g i n g t h e i r o b j e ct i ve s fo r t h e c o m i n g y e a r, t h i s e n s u re s we re m a i n re l eva nt to t h e m . M y s e c o n d a re a of re s p o n s i b i l i t y i s to wo r k w i t h o u r i nte r n a l te a m s a n d ex te r n a l ve n d o r s to i d e nt i f y n ew s o l u t i o n s to f i t i nto o u r p o r t fo l i o .

How and why did you pursue a career in the Data/Comms industry? My father worked in sales in the IT industry for the majority of his career, and I had started within the server/desktop arena. Data/ Comms always seemed the more dynamic and I welcomed the opportunity to join Teneo 18 years ago to work initially within the MPLS management space; a fantastic change from rebuilding RAID arrays!

What project/work achievement are you most proud of in your career and why? I ’m proud to have been p a r t of t he m a na gement team t h at has grown Teneo into th e gl o b a l bu si ne s s it is to da y, bot h b y acqu i sition s a nd o rga nic growt h . I ’m also proud to have h e l p e d embe d our CSR within t h e compan y cul ture a n d b e ing a b l e to gi ve ba ck, which ha s s e e n u s bu i ld scho o l s in Uga n d a , E t h io p ia , Ghana a n d Sierra Leo ne wh il s t also su ppor tin g empl o y e e s ’ char i tabl e proj ects .

22 | January 2018

What is the worst thing (outside of your control) that has ever gone wrong on a work project? About 10 years ago in India we had some equipment stuck in customs. The installation dates for the customer were set in stone and in the end we had to fly someone to India to move along the equipment and pay the duties and taxes in person to meet the customer’s deadlines.

“The Data/ Comms industry always seemed to be dynamic so I welcomed the opportunity to join Teneo 18 years ago”

What is one thing you’re tired of hearing either at work or about your job? Right now, it’s how a lot of vendors think they solve GDPR. The marketing and hype over the last 12 months has got out of hand, meaning that if you raise the subject with a customer you instantly see their eyes roll. It’s an important subject and companies need to take it seriously by looking at what data they need to identify and then find the right solution as there is no silver bullet.

What is your favourite piece of technology right now? Right now it’s my Amazon Alexa. I am a bit late to the whole smart home arena, but I am excited to see what’s possible and also how this technology can be used within business.

What product/s or concepts do you think will be the next big thing in the industry? I expect SD-WAN to start to see a larger number of deployments this year. Over the last 12 months we have seen customers doing their research to understand how it can help their businesses and now projects are starting to gain budgets. The CASB market is another that has been rather slow and with the recent Gartner Magic

COMPANY PROFILE Specialist integrator of next-generation technology, Teneo, offers global organisations the strongest mix of visibility, performance and security solutions for sophisticated networks and applications. Passionate about what it does, Teneo proclaims to be the spark that ignites a new approach to innovation. The company boasts a team of specialists who bring expert technical knowledge and solid commercial understanding that, combined, helps its customers to think differently: opening minds to new possibilities. Teno recognises that its 24x7 services help fastpaced, global IT teams take immediate advantage of the latest technology advancements without the upfront capital outlay or associated workload. Its agile, flexible delivery capabilities span 200+ countries and it is relied upon by 1500+ organisations worldwide.

Quadrant being released and customers having more data in the cloud I would expect that to see growth this year.

You can invite three people living or dead out for a pint or over for dinner (not including family & friends) Who are they and why? Richard Branson: an entrepreneur that I respect and would like to hear his stories and advice. Ant and Dec: for their humour and you get two for the price of one. Prince Harry: for an insight into his life and charity work.

Service at the core.

Flexible, scalable, ultra high performance fibre optic systems from Excel Enbeam from Excel introduces unrivalled levels of technical and service support when selecting and purchasing fibre optic systems for LAN and DC environments. From online ordering, next day delivery, in house termination facilities, through to free technical support, white papers and national demonstration centres, you can be assured of peace of mind by choosing Enbeam.



Clear as a bell! As connectivity and networking becomes increasingly important across many sectors, sports arenas are waking up to the benefits. Place Bell sports arena recently opened in Quebec with full IP network featuring LUMINEX GigaCore Switches.


his new multi-purpose sports facility in suburban Montreal, has opened with an IPcentric infrastructure, which features a large complement of LUMINEX GigaCore switches. All the live audio, video, broadcasting and lighting in the venue runs over IP network, using LUMINEX switches. It’s what the LUMINEX mantra, AV networking made easy, is all about, says the company. Place Bell’s 10,000-seat main arena is the home of the American Hockey League’s Laval Rockets.

24 | January 2018

The facility also houses a 2,500seat rink with Olympic-size ice for professional figure skating and speed skating and a 500-seat rink for local ice hockey teams. The main arena also hosts concerts and other entertainment events. The decision to build Place Bell from the ground up with an IP-centric infrastructure is a sign of the times, notes Mike Poirier, director of business development at Solotech, which handled integration of the arena’s video systems, LED screens, lighting and intercoms.

“Facilities have slowly but surely moved to a networked world; it’s a reality now,” he says. “So AV-centric switches, like those from LUMINEX, made a lot of sense for Place Bell.” “IP-based systems are no longer a choice: They are the way to go,” agrees Benjamin Wahiche, technical director at TKNL, which was responsible for integrating all the audio and the closed-circuit video at Place Bell. “If you want to deliver the flexibility that customers expect, IP-based systems are the solution.

PROJECT FOCUS without requiring the end user to have a deep knowledge of programming switches,” he says. Hugo Larin, director – America for LUMINEX commented, “We have worked on various projects with Trizart and they have been a real promoter of IP infrastructure for these systems. They see real time/live AV and lighting needs of venues as independent systems with specific quality of services, traffic filtering, time awareness, Etc. This is exactly what GigaCore is all about.” System redundancy is also key, according to Luc. “We need to maintain a primary network and secondary network with a redundant power supply between the two. That’s where LUMINEX also has an edge.” The network’s backbone is a mix of ring and mesh topology of single-mode fibre with failover paths for fast recovery, a hallmark of the RLinkX functionality by LUMINEX. Complete filtering of all the multicast traffic generated by all the protocols is also featured. The audio system integrated by TKNL at Place Bell is comprised of 41 LUMINEX GigaCore 16Xt PoE ruggedised AV switches with front displays all equipped with RPSU redundant power supplies each supporting two GigaCore 16Xt main PSU and PoE PSU. Two GigaCore 26i PoE AV network switches complement the system. QSC’s Q-SYS Core audio processors, I/O frames and tactile control and paging stations ensure audio distribution throughout the

More and more systems of this type are turning to networked solutions to get the job done

building. Two isolated groups/ segments provide support to QSC Q-LAN primary and Q-LAN secondary network protocol. QSC network amplifiers and additional touch panels and paging stations provide audio in the concourse. The main ice loudspeaker system consists of a NEXO loudspeaker and amplifier network, which provides coverage throughout the ice rink. Also on the network are control of the audio mixing system, monitoring, the instant replay system, and wireless microphones. “The secondary audio system has speakers in the concourse, hallways and in the dressing rooms – all on the same network, all communicating with each other and all supported on a LUMINEX backbone,” says Benjamin. “The large number of LUMINEX switches gives us hardware redundancy; we have two rings of switches on a redundant base.”

Place Bell is the biggest IP-based system we have ever deployed, and one of the largest LUMINEX networks in the world.” Luc Gelinas, a partner and technical services director at project consultant Trizart Alliance, notes that Place Bell’s IP-centric infrastructure will serve the arena well now and into the future. “With everything running over IP the challenge is always interoperability with different kinds of equipment. But LUMINEX is able to handle all the major protocols involved in AV with ease and

January 2018 | 25


The control room is fully networked and is the beating heart of the system

The system has performed well since installation coping with sports and entertainment performances

26 | January 2018

Benjamin notes that, “If you have done audio all your life moving to a networked environment is a different world. You want a simple user interface, and LUMINEX makes it very comfortable and easy for the end user without requiring any special training. LUMINEX products are engineered to fill the need of AV networks and accept every product we deal with.” Place Bell’s IP TV network, or closed circuit TV network, was also integrated by TKNL. It broadcasts adver tising, cable TV feed and promotional content within the facility. The network is comprised of 23 LUMINEX GigaCore 26i PoE AV Network switches each with a 3Gb ag gregated link that

provides increased bandwidth and redundancy to three main core switches. The system was designed to suppor t up to 24 video sources, including cable TV feeds, local SDI feeds and a Navori player for digital signage and dynamic content, on a complete AMX SVSI system. Destination points number in the hundreds: 24 SVSI 2000 series encoders are currently used going to more than 180 destinations. 50 Crestron touch panels provide some in room control. Solotech integrated the lighting system consisting of a LUMINEX GigaCore 14R PoE ruggedised AV switch and a GigaCore 26i PoE AV Network switch. An ETC ION 1000 console is networked with ETC Net 3 and sACN protocols to sensors, relays and Luminex DMX nodes. GigaCore products also support all the LED panels for which Solotech was responsible. They include the Chainzone Imposa trivision (three-sided) scoreboard on the public plaza; the main arena’s four-sided Imposa scoreboard with a power ring below it; and Imposa LED panels over each exit and the team entry doors. Solotech also integrated the full HD-compliant control room, for the broadband capture and distribution of events at Place Bell.

It features seven cameras, a Grass Valley Korona production switcher, AJA audio and video processor and Ross sync, test and reference generator running on a network consisting of Four LUMINEX GigaCore 26i switches and two GigaCore 16Xt. The complex communications system for the production crew and officials in the penalty box uses a Riedel Tango AES67 intercom system and Smart Panel. “The system is extremely important since Place Bell does live events,” notes Mike. “It is linked to the LUMINEX switches too.” Trizart, Solotech and TKNL were all familiar with LUMINEX products from smaller-scale projects they have done. They report that the LUMINEX network for Place Bell has delivered no less than the reliability and per formance they have come to expect. “ F o r a n AV - c e nt r i c n et wo r k a p p l i c at i o n l i ke P l a c e B e l l i t m a d e s e n s e to u s e LU M I N E X wa l l - to - wa l l , ” a d d s M i ke . “ T h e re wa s ve r y g o o d i nte ra ct i o n among all the parties on this p ro j e ct , a n d LU M I N E X s u p p o r te d eve r y te a m . T h e y m a d e s u re t h e n et wo r k a n d a l l t h i rd - p a r t y e q u i p m e nt wo r ke d p ro p e r l y . ” “LUMINEX was with us at all points, from the design of the system to its deployment and commissioning,” says Benjamin. “LUMINEX was also on site to finalize all the details, especially for the IP TV network.” Place Bell ushered in the Laval Rockets’ hockey season and has already hosted half-a-dozen shows, including a per formance by Cirque du Soleil that opened the arena. “The LUMINEX switches are performing well,” says Luc. “They have been strong and stable, with no glitches, since opening day.” Hugo concludes, “Dealing with inter-operability when deploying multiple end points from multiple manufacturers is always a challenge for AV system integrators. The fact that Luminex spends an enormous time on validating manufactures’ implementation and interoperability makes the whole experience a charm.” LUMINEX, Solotech, TKNL,


Fibre and copper: striking the right balance Mike Holmes, marketing manager of telecoms and fibre optic specialist, Nexans, asks as bandwidth and uptime requirements increase along with the need for evershorter latency, how can combining fibre and copper improve performance - whilst lowering costs?


n recent years, digitalisation of business and the rise of social media, online content and IoT have resulted in exponential data traffic growth and global predictions increase each year. Research by DCD shows that in 2015 most data centre owners and operators (58.6%) were concerned about inadequate networks. The need for high-quality networks supporting, for example, virtualisation, cloud systems, convergence of servers and storage is growing. In the enterprise network and data centre, growth requirements must be satisfied, whilst keeping space and power demands in check. This can be done by introducing efficient and compact technologies and innovative planning and design – which extends to cabling, too. Contrary to what many people think, the latest, fastest fibre cabling isn’t always the best choice for every situation. Dielectric (nonconductive) fibre is immune to electromagnetic interference and offers longer reach than copper with its inherent 90m limitation. However, that doesn’t necessarily make it the best choice for every application, some of which play to copper’s strengths. The Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) for

28 | January 2018

passive copper is extremely high and it can also offer CAPEX and OPEX savings. For data centre rack interconnection, copper can often provide more than adequate bandwidths. What’s more, recent generations of shielded copper cables exceed critical parameters with considerable headroom, ensuring reliable transmission whilst reducing onsite testing time. Furthermore, copper terminations are largely standardised and familiar which means ease of installation.

Changing architectures Server energy efficiency levels are generally poor and there is significant pressure on owners and operators to become more efficient. This is an important driver for server virtualisation, which requires low latency. In turn, this leads to architecture changes. For the purposes of design flexibility, performance optimisation and cost savings, data centres want greater freedom to choose between End of Row (EoR), Middle of Row (MoR) and Top of Rack (ToR). A 2015 survey showed that Top of Rack (ToR) was the most commonly used architecture in colocation data centers as well as enterprise data centres.

However, ToR has two drawbacks: it isn’t particularly configurable or energy-efficient. Recent studies suggest that energy consumption of EoR with 10GBase-T is 20-30% lower than ToR using SFP+ Switch port utilisation is higher, management is easier and configuration flexibility is greater. Therefore, EoR is making resurgence. Traditionally, ToR switch-toswitch connections, with their need for speeds of up to 100G, consist mainly of fibre. However, for intra-row switch to server links, which are usually within a 30m range, the latest generation of 25G and 40G copper can provide a cost-effective alternative whilst providing an upgrade path without the need for recabling. If Cat 7A


is used for copper uplinks then switches can be upgraded from 1G to 10G to 25G without recabling and this could even be extended to 40G if Cat 8 cabling is used.

Accommodating wireless today and tomorrow Changing demands aren’t only affecting cabling in the data centre. In the office environment there’s a need for a powerful fibre backbone. In fact, enterprise backbones are going to need to star t moving to 40Gbps. Physics dictates that as speed and bandwidth go up, reach goes down. More Wireless Access Points, (WAPs) are required to cover the same sur face area. This is driving the

No single solution “There’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to cabling.”

need for even more bandwidth in the network backbone. Today’s vast uptake of wireless is driving bandwidth needs beyond the requirements associated with 1G desktop speeds. 6A copper cabling is required in ceilings to provide connectivity that isn’t diluted to the point of uselessness when multiple users use it simultaneously. The next generation of Power over Ethernet (PoE) will provide up to 90W of power, the associated heat increase will diminish cabling performance, which also calls for a higher specification.

There’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to cabling, as in each case the ideal solution needs to address a wide range of specific needs. In many cases, a mix of Fibre Optic and Copper Cabling are required to provide an optimum cost effective solution for now, while allowing growth but without overspecifying unnecessarily. There’s no need to run cable with the highest possible specifications in every area, instead you can decide on the best solution for every section. Nexans 01908 250850,

January 2018 | 29


Why fibre cabling systems need precise testing processes Michael Akinla, TSE Manager at Panduit EMEA, explains why, with increasing performance requirements across cabling systems, the margin for error is now even finer in today’s data centre environment.


abling infrastructure has become a critical component in today’s data centre environment. Performance and reliability are important, but now the margins for error are even finer. When deploying high speed optical networks such as 100Gb/s Ethernet and 128Gb/s Fibre Channel, the network stakeholders must have accurate knowledge of the fibre cable performance against the application standards. As network performance has increased, the specification on components in the fibre cable plant have become more rigorous. Since the standardisation of 10Gbs Ethernet in 2002, the 2.55dB total Channel Insertion Loss (CIL) for 50/ 125μm OM3 multimode fibre has been reduced to 1.9dB for 40GBaseSR4 (and 100GBASE-SR10). Nowadays, a maximum connector loss of 1.0dB is required for a 150m OM4 channel that may contain multiple connector interfaces.

After cabling installation, the permanent links are qualified against cabling standards with nearly ideal patch cords, that yield excellent loss measurement repeatability and reproducibility. This type of measurement with ‘reference grade’ patch cords assures that the chance of costly measurement errors are minimised and the links are tested and commissioned in a timely fashion. Testing is a serious business, and the use of legacy test equipment (designed for SC cable plant) can produce anomalous results, as the test gear must be adapted to the LC-style cable plant via the use of ‘hybrid’ jumpers (SC to LC). This introduces extra connector interfaces into the measurement which can have a significant impact on the efficacy of field testing of links with LC or MPO connectors. The potential to produce false fail results and false passing results increases markedly with in-field testing. To reliably measure the loss of a 30m OM3 pre-terminated permanent link in-field to the relevant standards requirements,

Minimising error, maximising efficiency Current plug and play multimode fibre structured cabling systems assembled around LC and MTP connector systems have minimal insertion loss compared to the required cabling and component standards. Existing cabling standards and application standards (Ethernet and Fibre Channel) require that no mated connector pair exceed 0.75dB Insertion Loss (IL). The latest multimode LC connectors offer average losses of less than 0.1dB and leading vendors offer ultra performance MPO connectors that show no more than 0.25dB Insertion Loss.

30 | January 2018

Performance requirements are increasing across cabling systems, but in many instances testing processes and knowledge is lagging

where the expected total loss is a little over 1.6dB, the measurement system repeatability and reproducibility needs to be a fraction of 1.6dB. In fact, the industry recommendation is 20-30% of the test limit. This is further constrained when customers intend to measure to even lower ‘engineered limits’. At some point, the test equipment and operator start to make significant quantities of measurement errors for these low loss test limits.

Need for speed Moving forward into the era of high performance cabling such as OM5 and permanent links installed with low-loss multimode fibre (MMF), we will increasingly see the need for ultra low loss connectors that support the higher speed protocols. These cabling systems require compliance with tight customer and industry specifications and highly accurate and reliable insertion-loss measurement processes. Panduit 0208 601 7219,


Test equipment & tools

Intelligent buildings

Next time‌ In addition to its regular range of features and news items, the February issue of Network Communications News will contain special features will be on test equipment & tools and intelligent buildings. They will comprise major articles and comprehensive product round ups which will be used as a reference point by network cabling infrastructure installers, integrators and end users. To make sure you don’t miss the oppor tunity to adver tise your products to this exclusive readership, call Ian on 01634 673163 or email

Network Communications News

January 2018 | 31


HARTING expanded beam fibre-optic cable assemblies prevent transmission loss for television outside broadcasts in harsh environmental conditions

Expanding outside broadcast hor Realising the transition to DTV/HDTV Howard Forryan, product market specialist, HARTING, explains the role fibre optics will play as the signal transmission medium continues to grow


ibre-optic cables have been used in outside broadcast installations since the 1990s, but, as the industry makes the transition to 4K and UHDTV, HARTING has recognised there is a greater reliance on using them outdoors.

32 | January 2018

The Pressure Is On With many stadiums and concert venues making the costly investment plunge into large-scale permanent fibre infrastructure, one-off sporting events or gigs may struggle to provide viewers with the desired 4K definition –

either due to cost implications or that permanent fibre infrastructure is impractical. Enter the more attractive concept of temporary otherwise known as ‘tactical’ cables. The main cause for concern with the tactical cable option being – while



modern transmission technology allows outside broadcast companies to send all the necessary video, audio and data down one cable – the temporary nature of such installations, disregarding the vagaries of the weather and stresses of assembly, means connectors need to be robust, simple and quick to install.

Preferred Cabling When assessing TV studio and internal outside-broadcast vehicle conditions, HARTING identifies various traditional standardised butt-joint fibreoptic connection technologies as preferential to copper types. The reason being, they offer improved bandwidth signal handling over larger distances and different signal types can be multiplexed over a single fibre-optic cable. Additionally, fibre optics allow bi-directional communication whereas copper systems can only transmit in one direction. In addition, fibre-optic cables are small and lightweight when compared with copper alternatives: a particularly important point inside outsidebroadcast vans in order to save space and minimise the overall weight of the installed vehicle. Finally, fibre-optic cables are inherently immune to EMI/RFI inter ference and cannot contribute to ground loops. One of the other key benefits of fibre optic systems is their general immunity to interruption by moisture or immersion in water, as there is no electrical current to cause short circuits. HARTING recognise that in an expanded-beam connector, the diameter of the optical beam is extended approximately 40 times.

Since the beam size is expanded by such a significant amount, the influence of a 0.02 mm piece of dirt between a pair of ceramic ferrule-based connectors is reduced by 40 times in a pair of expanded-beam connectors. The effect of collimating and greatly increasing the optical beam diameter that results in the connector being less sensitive to small particles of dust or other contamination, which could completely obscure transmission in butt-joint type connectors. The aluminium shell housings of these expanded-beam fibreoptic connectors also have a hermaphroditic mating design which means that there is no possibility for mismating.

Harsh Environments HARTING acknowledges that its expanded-beam fibre-optic connectors and cables provide outside-broadcast systems integrators, validating this by accentuating that such expandedbeam FO cable assemblies can be safely applied even in the harshest of conditions. Daisy-chain and through bulkhead I/O cable assemblies are supplied with fitted covers, as it is always good practice to minimise the ingress

of dirt and dust in any fibre-optic connector where possible, thus further extending its lifetime. The aluminium shell housings and covers also have a shockprotected rubber boot, and the interlinking fibre-optic cable includes an inner Kevlar crushresistant sleeving that provides cushioned protection to the integrated optical fibres. The distinctive yellow colouring of the HARTING expanded-beam FO cable assemblies enables users to easily identify them as containing fibre-optic components and sets them apart from other copperbased cables. The company’s wide-ranging portfolio provides full assurance of long-term reliability, ensuring continuity of service even under harsh environmental installation and operating conditions. HARTING 01604 827 500,

January 2018 | 33


Satisfying the booming network cabling infrastructure Siemon, global network infrastructure specialist, has launched its new Z-PLUG category 6A field terminated plug for quick, reliable high-performance plug terminations in the field that enable customlength direct connections to a variety of IP-based and PoE-enabled devices deployed in today’s intelligent buildings. With the proliferation of the Internet of Things (IoT), more devices than ever are communicating and receiving power via the network cabling infrastructure, including LED lights, wireless access Siemon launches new points, security cameras, video displays, distributed Z-PLUG field terminated antenna systems and building automation controls. plug for intelligent buildings Rather than connecting to the network via outlets and patch cords, many of these devices can be directly connected using plug-terminated links for solution provides a robust, low-profile design and comes with more efficient, rapid deployment. the option to eliminate or shorten the boot. Z-PLUGs are also Siemon says its latest solution, Z-PLUG field terminated suitable for fitting into end devices with limited space such as plug exceeds all category 6A performance requirements and it cameras and access points. can be terminated to shielded, unshielded, solid and stranded Lee Funnell, technical manager at Siemon adds, “With cables for maximum flexibility with only one-part number category 6A recommended for the latest 802.11ac Wi-Fi access required. The company say Its intuitive termination process points, digital displays and applications that require higher involves a user-friendly tool and hinged lacing module that levels of power over Ethernet, combined with the efficiency eliminates the need to feed individual conductors through of quickly plugging straight into a wide range of IP-based an opening, enabling best-in-class termination time and and PoE-enabled devices, Z-PLUG field terminated plugs are repeatable performance. Z-PLUG boasts an array of features, the ideal solution for connecting these devices in today’s with a dual-purpose latch protector clip that protects the latch intelligent buildings.” during routing it is also available in nine different colours for easy colour coding of various systems. The company says the


The IDEAL cable solution Following its latest updates at the end of 2017, IDEAL Networks has released a free software update for its popular LanTEK III cable certifier. With a greater variety of tests than ever before now possible with the LanTEK III cable certifier, the company say installers can benefit from maximum flexibility with the same handheld device. IDEAL say its updated cable solution can now be used for Alien Crosstalk testing if required. Alien Crosstalk testing allows a bundle of Cat6 or Cat6A unshielded cables to be tested for data inter ference between the cables. Usually, the test, which some specifiers or network designers may require for certification, can be difficult and time consuming to do. However, the company recognises that the new LanTEK III software ensures that tests can be done four times faster than other certifiers while meeting the requirements of TIA 568.2 / ISO 11801-1 standards. To enhance the user experience and make faults easier to detect, IDEAL says software updates have also improved the quality of TDNEXT and TDRL graph resolutions on the certifier’s display screen. The updated graphic functionality provides greater on-screen detail when testing cable up to Cat6A / Class EA using the LanTEK III. In response to customer feedback, a number of additional cables have also been added to the manufacturer database on LanTEK III, including copper and fibre cables from Draka and R&M, and Belden 4K UHD cables. This allows users to select the specific manufacturer’s cable providing extra detail in customer reports, and removes the need to spend time setting the cable details manually in the certifier. IDEAL has expressed its view that such software updates increase the global capabilities of the certifier, supporting the requirements of the latest version of the Chinese GB50312-2016 copper and fibre test standard. General bug fixes have also IDEAL software update been completed to further enhance usability and efficiency. IDEAL

34 | January 2018

supports technicians and installers


Excel expands cabling range Exc e l Networking Solu t i o ns, a copper a n d optica l ca b l ing i nfrastr ucture provider, h a s rec e ntly produced a new produ cts brochure for 201 7/ 1 8, whi c h i ncludes the l ates t addi ti ons to Excel ’ s En b e a m F ib re and C opper ra nges ; OM 5 f ib re and C ate go ry 8 co pper. Targeted for data centre switch-to-switch and switch-toserver interconnections – primarily in top-of-rack or end-of-row topologies – Excel’s Category 8 copper cabling solution is said to allow data centres to transport data up to four times faster on essentially the same type of cable currently utilised. Since Category 5e cabling was introduced, one of the constants in copper structured cabling has been the 100-metre, four-connector channel. Category 8 is a significant departure from previous systems in that it uses a frequency of 2000 MHz, and is limited to a 30-metre, two-connector channel. Unlike its predecessors that could use either shielded or unshielded cable construction, Category 8 will require shielded cabling. The company says

given the distance capabilities of Category 8, as well as its design to support 25GBase-T and 40GBase-T applications, the cable is well-suited to a data centre environment, sufficient to serve cabinets between 5 and 30 metres apart from one another. At the same time as Excel launched its Category 8 copper cabling solution, the company also continued its expansion of the Enbeam fibre range with OM5 fibre cabling and a range of complementary accessories. Its Enbeam fibre range has continually evolved over the years to embrace new developments in fibre technology. The OM5 fibre cabling solution has arrived to complement Excel’s existing Enbeam Fibre range and has been designed to meet growing bandwidth requirements. Working over a wide range of wavelengths between 850nm and 953nm, OM5 fibre is said to reach up to 150m in length at 40GBASE-SR4 (40 Gigabit) and 100GBASESR10 (100 Gigabit), making it a strong contender to optimise a data centre environment. Excel identified that when it comes to

designing a data centre, cost is an important parameter to consider. Stating that its OM5 cabling provides optimal support of emerging Shortwave Wavelength Division Multiplexing technology which, in turn, reduces the amount of fibres needed for high speed transmissions. Claiming to be a more cost-effective alternative, OM5 is fully backwards compatible with both OM3 and OM4 fibre, supporting legacy applications in existing installations, allowing for a simple change in the future should a service provider wish to upgrade their infrastructure. Both Category 8 and OM5 fibre from Excel adhere to the latest fireretardant regulations as stipulated by the revised Construction Products Regulation documents. Excel, 0121 326 7557

Excel has recently produced a New Products Brochure for 2017/18, which details the latest additions to Excel’s Enbeam Fibre and Copper ranges

January 2018 | 35


Pod almighty! From Hyper-converged infrastructure, to pod-based containment systems, rack technology remains a fundamental component of digital transformation. Lee Griffiths, infrastructure solutions manager, IT Division, APC by Schneider Electric, takes stock


he data centres and IT rooms of today play host to an environment built on vir tualised applications and high density processing. As companies begin to succumb to the challenges of digital transformation, the outcome has seen a fundamental shift from

36 | January 2018

larger on-premise data centres towards outsourced, colocation or cloud-based applications, capable of delivering rapid, resilient, technology that in turn enables customers to expand quickly into new markets and geographical regions. I n t u r n , t h e s e c e nt ra l i s e d h u b s re l y o n s m a l l e r, m i c ro d ata

c e nt re s o l u t i o n s to ove rco m e t h e c h a l l e n ge s of l ate n c y , a p p l i c at i o n ava i l a b i l i t y a n d d ata s e c u r i t y , m e a n i n g t h at t h e I T s y s te m s of to d a y n ow re l y o n a m u l t i t u d e of co m p l ex d i s t r i b u te d I T n et wo r k s a n d i t s s u p p o r t i n g i nf ra s t r u ct u re te c h n o l o g y to o p e rate re s i l i e nt l y a n d p rov i d e 24 / 7 co n n e ct i v i t y to c u s to m e r s .


The data driven business model

Often overlooked as one of the most basic IT requirements, a rack system’s primary goal is to create the base on which this scalable architecture is built. And once the foundations are laid, it provides what will inevitably become the building blocks of the company’s future IT environment. The data centre of today is a complex beast. No one solution fits all and whilst many fundamentals remain the same, standardisation, modularity and additionally reference designs, play a key role in helping businesses transform, whether they utilise facilities ranging from the hyperscale, down to the smallest micro data centre applications.

One of the key drivers of onpremise data centres has been the explosion in ‘digital traffic’, and with it the resulting phenomenon of ‘Big Data’. Industry analyst IDC predicts that by 2020 there will be 44Zbyte of data created and copied in Europe alone, based on the assumption that the same amount will potentially double every two years. More recently Cisco has estimated that within five years 50 billion devices and ‘things’ will be connected to the internet. Digitalisation is therefore driving the economy and according to IDC, by the year 2020, around 1.7 megabytes of new information will be created every second for each human living on the planet. IDC’s predictions warn those depending on digital services that the amounts of data required is only going to increase for the foreseeable future, which begs the question how does the industry respond with the capacity required as more devices connect daily, and customer purchasing becomes ever-more informed and digitised? With more data now being generated by connected devices, predictability and speed of response are even more vital factors for the industry. The surge in creation of new data and the consequent demand for more distributed data centres at the edge is causing the industry to diversify along two routes. At one level, data centres are becoming bigger, ensuring huge data capacities are available from centralised hubs. At another, smaller data centres are moving to the edge of the network, bringing data closer to the point of consumption, simplifying internet traffic and reducing network latency for applications such as video streaming - where speed of response is essential. The IoT continues to grow, but what’s most interesting is that these smaller data centre solutions will in many cases benefit from the same levels of security and resilience as their larger counterpar ts, in addition to being built on the same modular and standardised

“One of the key drivers of on-premise data centres has been the explosion in ‘digital traffic’, and with it the resulting phenomenon of ‘Big Data’.”

rack technology. For example, Schneider Electrics NetShelter racks are not only used to house smaller micro data centre solutions, but are found inside the White Space of today’s most famous hyperScale and colocation facilities.

Transformation and the case for increased integration Another important factor in the era of digital transformation is inevitably collaboration between vendors and their product offerings. In the hyperconvergence space, no single vendor can provide all the tools necessary to deliver all of the types of digital services required

January 2018 | 37

ENCLOSURES, CABINETS & RACKS rack-mounted servers, storage arrays and networking equipment to ensure their products integrate seamlessly with each other. Integration therefore, is essential for end-users looking to embrace digital transformation and expand their footprint rapidly. Solutions must also be delivered ready to deploy, in excellent working condition and that requires both focused partnerships and the skills of specialised integrators who have become the go-to people in the hyperconverged infrastructure space. The key it seems lies not within the individual pieces of IT and infrastructure equipment, but very much within the way the system is built, tested and deployed. Additionally, hardware must be guaranteed to work flawlessly with DCIM (Data Centre Infrastructure Management) and virtualisation software that allow pools of processing or storage resources to be treated as individual isolated systems dedicated to particular customers or applications.

Scaling up Pods for Big Data by today’s growing businesses; therefore collaboration, interoperability and speed of response are a fundamental requirement for the creation of these prefabricated and quick-todeploy solutions. Recently Schneider Electric has partnered with a number of OEM’s including Cisco, HPE, NetApp and Nutanix to make integration seamless for the enduser. Edge Computing solutions such as Schneider Electrics Micro Data Center Xpress are built within a single rack enclosure complete with integrated power, uninterruptible power supply (UPS), power distribution, management software (DCIM), physical security, environmental monitoring and cooling. Such infrastructure can be assembled and deployed rapidly to support a self-contained, secure computing environment, in some cases in as little as two-three weeks. However, the companies providing these holistic micro data centre solutions must work closely with IT vendors who produce

38 | January 2018

Racking is playing a vital role in improving network flexibility

Further up the scale are centralised, hyperscale data centres with purpose-built IT rooms. Such facilities need to be adaptable to accommodate rapid upgrading and/or scaling up or down of the amount of compute and storage capacity, with the ability to respond to end-user needs as required. In today’s market, prefabricated modular blocks can include racks, power, cooling, management and even the IT. These can be deployed together as a Pod, which is defined as groups of racks arranged in rows and sharing common infrastructure elements including power distribution units (PDUs), containment systems, even advanced environmental monitoring and security features. Rack-ready data centre systems such as Schneider Electrics HyperPod solution provide a flexible, scalable architecture for data centre operators. The system, which can also be used in hot or cold aisle cooling configurations, is easy to assemble and available in two different heights, whilst its aisle

length is adjustable to support multi-pod configurations. Recent analytical studies by Schneider Electrics Data Centre Science Centre, based on standardised reference designs, provided an overview of the available savings in both time and costs that can be achieved using a Pod Frame like HyperPod. Taking the example of a 1.3MW IT load distributed across nine IT pods, each containing 24 racks, a comparison was made between rolling out the racks using an IT Pod Frame as opposed to a traditional deployment. The findings of the study showed that CAPEX costs were reduced by 15% and speed of deployment reduced by 21% when compared with traditional methods of deploying rackbased data centre systems. This was mainly achieved through the reduced requirement for building work, namely ceiling grid installations, under-floor cut outs and the installation of under-floor power cables. Assembly of the air containment system was also much faster using a Pod Frame due to the components being assembled directly on to the frame.

In conclusion Rack systems such as Schneider Electric’s NetShelter offer full complete flexibility for customers looking to embrace digital transformation. Whether using an IT Pod Frame like Schneider Electric’s HyperPod, or deploying an on-premise micro data centre solution, rack technology provides the building blocks for rapid scalability and can enable both significant and predictable cost savings when endeavouring to deploy new IT resources. Many modern data centre architectures now utilise a combination of modularity and standardisation in the rack component, which simplifies the provision of power, cooling and networking infrastructure. Thereby reducing human error and ensuring the speed of deployment process is far quicker, easier and scalable when facing the challenges of Big Data and the IoT. Schneider Electric 0870 608 8608,

Never miss an issue.

Register today! NCN is published 12 times a year for professionals involved in the installation of network infrastructure products,

Major in-depth features on installation practice and product awareness Informative articles from leading Industry figures Regular updates on training and industry legislation

covering data, voice and image

All the important news and comment from the network cabling sector


Pages and pages of the very latest product innovations

As a vital part of the network

Exhibition previews

communications industry, you

Detailed case studies and application stories

cannot afford to miss NCN, so

Business information

subscribe now to ensure you do not miss a single issue.



Verotec: Expanding global network infrastructure

Schneider Electric’s new concept is designed to increase flexibility, increase power and reduce installation time

Lets get hyper! Schneider Electric has announced the launch of HyperPod, a rack ready system designed to deploy IT in increments of 8 to 12 racks. With HyperPod, the company says it is addressing the demand for greater compute capacity and flexible data centre architectures. Part of Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure for data center architecture, HyperPod is designed to support all of today’s rack types and also includes integrated power, cooling, cabling, software management and containment. The maker says the package allows racks of IT equipment to roll into place, similar to a docking station, without the complexity and time associated with traditional IT deployments. “Our customers wanted a streamlined and more cost-efficient way to deploy IT, one that keeps up with the pace of business, and we listened,” says Steven Carlini, senior director, innovation, Schneider Electric. “With deployment times up to 21% faster, HyperPod delivers 15% to 20% savings in time and costs over traditional approaches.” In suppor t of HyperPod, Schneider Electric is offering a free online rule-based designer that makes it easy to quickly build and customise each pod with a variety of options, reducing overall costs, decreasing time to market and enabling par tners to increase their value to customers. Options include; containment only, mini and large cantilevers, cable trays, distribution cabinets, multiple roof options, windows, blanking panels, doors, lighting kits and power raceways. HyperPod can be deployed as a single pod or in extended pod configurations. Additionally, on-site assembly training and ser vices are also available. Schneider Electric 0870 608 8608,

40 | January 2018

S o m e 98 % of a l l Verotec plays a key inte rco nt i n e nta l te l e p h o n e part in the global c a l l s , i nte r n et t raf f i c , cable laying market e m a i l s, m e ssa g i n g a n d p r ivate d ata t raf f i c i s st i l l c a r r i e d a s d i g i ta l d ata b y f ib re o pt i c c a b l e s l a i d b y s p e c i a l i st sh i p s a c ro ss t h e wo r l d’ s o c e a n s. Today’s cables, typically 25mm in diameter and weighing some 1.5 tonnes/ km, are a far cry from the first working cables, laid in 1853 and linking Great Britain with Ireland, Belgium and the Netherlands. Spellman manufactures ship-borne power feed equipment (PFE) used to power submarine fibre optic cable repeaters. A typical PFE system provides for 20kW capability with constant power performance between 8 and 10kV. Spellman systems are installed on many of the major cable laying ships around the world; they are the preferred choice of cable shipbuilders and owners for ship-borne power feed equipment. Recently, Spellman says it has selected Verotec’s IMRAK 19in racks as the company’s enclosure of choice for its PFE because of its versatility and configurability, the range of standard sizes available and its strength and rigidity. Verotec supplies a mix of 12, 17, 22 and 37U high, 600 wide and 800 deep racks to house the various elements of the PFE system. The cabinets are fitted with lifting eyes to assist installation on board ship; bolting down brackets are also fitted to secure the units to the ship. Cable gland plates are also provided in the base of each rack and custom fixing brackets enable two smaller units to be assembled one on top of the other to create a segregated but contiguous assembly. Verotec Limited 0238 0246 900,

Hammond has the power! Hammond Electronics has extended its power distribution offering with an additional 12 variants of rack mounting and stand-alone 100 – 240VAC, 50/60Hz 10A power strips, designed for use with IEC power cords. For enhanced safety, a 10A resettable circuit breaker prevents overloading, and both types are available with either a double pole single throw green illuminated on/off switch or as a basic un-switched version with a green power-on indicator light. All are fitted with an IEC320 C14 inlet plug and multiple IEC320 C13 outlet sockets, making them suitable for use in most scenarios. The new units further extend Hammond’s range of 19in rack accessories such as thermal management products, power distribution units, shelves, panels, cable management, ground kits, feet and castors. The 1U rack mount units offer eight front or rear facing outlet sockets. The stand-alone versions are available with four, five, six or eight top-mounted outlets. The 1U rack mount units are housed in a black powder coated steel enclosure, the stand-alone versions in an extruded aluminium case with a black powder coated steel cover. All versions are TUV, cULus and CAN/CSA Certified to IEC 60950-1 and are CE compliant to the EU Low Voltage Directive 2014/35/EU. Hammond Electronics Limited 01256 812 812,

Hammond has increased its power supply options for 19in racks


Who’s the Boss? CamdenBoss offers its own range of steel data cabinets, known as the CamRack series. These are designed for cabling, data centre, telecommunications, IT and industrial installations. CamRack QX series wallmounted, flat-packed, quick-assembly cabinets are complemented by the LX series 19in free-standing cabinets. CamdenBoss’s CamRack-QX cabinets are available in five models that can all be assembled in three minutes without tools, says the company. Available with a selection of five standard corner colours (white, red, blue, orange and black) with yellow, green, purple, lilac and grey available on request, the five models are 6U height measuring 421mm deep x 384mm high, 9U height measuring 421 x 517mm, 12U height measuring 521 x 651mm, 15U height measuring 521 x 784mm and 18U height measuring 621 x 917mm. All are 19in width (580mm). Delivered flat-packed for easy access to any office or site for installation, the CamRack-QX reduces logistics costs while offering greater protection during transit. The 1/4-turn lock fixings ensure users can assemble cabinets without tools and have them ready for use fast. Additional features include a quick-release door with tempered, smoked safety glass, removable side panels and easily drilled plastic blanking covers for cable entry. With two 19in mounting profiles of variable depth in 20mm increments and a template for wall mounting included, the CamRack-QX series cabinets feature a maximum recommended load capacity of 45kg and are epoxy paint finished in dark grey anthracite (RAL 7016). CamRack LX series cabinets can be assembled in just five minutes and feature aluminium profile external structure with die cast high resistance corners, four steel 19in sections adjustable in depths (gaps of 20mm), removable side panels with 1/4-turn locks, lockable steel rear door, 1/4-turn locking ventilated top panels with cable entries and four adjustable levelling feet for increased stability. The LX series cabinets are available in two widths: 600mm with six heights from 12U to 42U all 600mm deep and 800mm deep versions for 36U and 42U heights; there is also 800mm wide with 600 and 800mm depths available with 42U heights. All can be supplied open-fronted or with a lockable glass front door. Distributed load capacity for CamRack-LX series cabinets is 1000kg (static) or 300kg (dynamic) and a range of accessories is available including front guides, attachment sets, cable guides/clamps, clip-on support guides and wheel kits. The products are available in the same colour options as the QX range. Camden Boss 01638 7 16101,

Call on a Cab!

New products from LMS increase options for installation flexibility

Networking and data centre enclosure manufacturer, LMS Data Limited, has recently launched a new range of wall and floor enclosures, extending the successful LMS Data EcoNetCab range. The LMS Data ValuCab series includes the popular universal server enclosures in a variety of widths and heights and come with a range of features helping pre and post installation including mounting post identification, multiple cable entry points, fitted fixed vented shelf and adjustable jacking feet and castors. This range has also been extended to include general telecom and networking enclosures, from 12U to over 47U, again including a fitted vented shelf and mounting accessories. The maker says the new line is designed to offer even better value for money than the existing EcoNetCab because of the omitted fan tray, meaning that customers can now choose from the fan tray fitted EcoNetCab line, or, for example passive equipment housing that does not need the extra active fan venting, thus saving procurement budgets. Available in both pre-built and flat packed versions direct from the LMS Data assembly and distribution centre in the Midlands, competitive pricing is promised across the range with extra discounts for public sector authorities on both EcoNetCab and ValuCab enclosures. The cabinets also include safe and reliable, 24/ 7 power feeds and here again LMS Data have a complete range of PDUs catering for small, wall mount enclosures, right up to data centre and server enclosures, both surged and un-surged. With a choice of both power entry and power delivery sockets all at competitive pricing and the option of LMS Data custom-length PDU, power flex is a new option for all its customers. LMS Data Limited

January 2018 | 41


New AV matrix for the IT age Crestron has announced that it is now shipping DM XiO Director, described as the new AV matrix for the IT age. An enterprise-grade network appliance, natively running simple yet powerful software, the company says its DM XiO Director centrally configures, manages, and controls DM NVX network AV systems. The DM XiO Director is available in three models, depending on the number of DM NVX endpoints. The software tool is set to enable device discovery, domain configuration, endpoint mapping, multicasting management, and status monitoring. Crestron recognises the DM NVX Series as the industry’s only secure solution that delivers 4K60, 4:4:4, and HDR video over standard 1Gb Ethernet.

Virtual DM switcher The DM XiO Director virtually emulates the functionality of a traditional hardware-based DigitalMedia matrix switcher, routing 4K60 streaming AV signals throughout a room, building, or campus. Three models are offered which support 80 (DMXIO-DIR-80), 160 (DM-XIODIR-160), or unlimited (DM-XIODIR-ENT) endpoint devices. The maker says DM XiO Director can handle even the largest corporate enterprise, university, governmental, military, medical, transportation, sports, entertainment, hospitality, gaming, or retail application.

Simple, flexible configuration The DM XiO Director automatically discovers each DM NVX endpoint on the network and allows each one to be assigned to a ‘domain’ using a simple UI. A domain is simply a logical grouping of endpoints that operate together as a single switching entity, allowing individual rooms and other subsystems to be arranged and controlled independently. The DM XiO Director effectively eliminates the need for physical switchers in every room, replacing them with the virtual equivalent running on the AV network.

Easy web-based setup and control The DM XiO Director provides an intuitive web-based user inter face to facilitate system configuration, signal routing, and comprehensive diagnostics of the complete AV network. Each domain and endpoint can be designated with a userfriendly name. The company says that navigating the entire system is easy using the search box to quickly find domains, endpoints, inputs, and outputs by name or address. A system overview screen is also provided, showing the video and audio signal status for every input and output in a graphical layout that’s easy to view and navigate. Rob Carter, technology manager at DigitalMedia added, “Once your DM NVX network is installed, you need to route the video and manage the system. The DM XiO Director makes it easy to set up large networks of endpoints, name rooms, monitor signal paths, and manage video data over a standard IP network.” Crestron 0845 873 8787,

The First NID To Deliver Carrier Ethernet Over 4G/LTE Net2Edge has launched the world’s first 1G Network Inter face Device (NID) that delivers carrier Ethernet over fibre and 4G/LTE. Dubbed the Liberator 305-LTE, it was demonstrated for the first time at MEF17, a global networking event in November of last year. A total of 11 companies were selected to participate in the interactive Proof of Concept (PoC) showcase at MEF17. The event was sponsored by Net2Edge, who is also a member of MEF. Liberator 305-LTE took pride of place at the centre of the MEF17 global networking hall, from November 13 to 15. The show was located at the Universal Studios Resort, in the Loews Sapphire Falls hotel in Orlando, Florida. The demonstration focused on the resilience of the Liberator 305-LTE in the event of fibre failure. That’s because services can still be maintained through the use of the 4G/LTE radio.

Exciting opportunity Attendees to the Net2Edge booth had the opportunity to see an indepth overview into the benefits of

42 | January 2018

the Liberator series that is supporting customer’s legacy applications across their Ethernet network. Adam Turner, director of marketing, Net2Edge, explained, “We were very excited to be part of the MEF17 PoC concept showcase and show our Innovative Access Evolution products.” Kevin Martin, CEO, Net2Edge, added, “We are already making a real difference to helping solve what is today the biggest network operator conundrum – retiring legacy networks smoothly and effectively without turning customers away.” Speaking just before the event, from the event organisers, Nan Chen, president, MEF, said, “The PoC Showcase

is aimed to spotlight innovations by service providers and network technology vendors that promise to advance agile, assured and orchestrated services across multiple providers and multiple network technology domains. We are excited by contributions like Net2Edge’s and look forward to seeing these demos in action.” Other applications showcased by Net2Edge include: Dynamic bandwidth allocation providing supplementary bandwidth Rapid path to revenue since service is not dependent on the delivery of fibre Separation of data and management traffic M EF17 information The MEF17 event focused on Third Network connectivity. It featured cloud services for the digital economy and the hyper-connected world. Visitors saw new agile, assured, and orchestrated services which provide an on-demand experience with user-directed control over service capabilities delivered over automated, virtualised, and interconnected networks powered by LSO, SDN, NFV & CE 2.0. Net2Edge


Collaboration on innovative automotive radio frequency connections HUBER+SUHNER and KOSTAL KontaktSysteme, provider of innovative automotive contact systems, have reached a framework agreement for a strategic collaboration with a focus on the technology fields of cables and contact/connector systems. The two companies have signed a ‘memorandum of understanding’ and plan to work together to implement novel solutions for the transmission of high data rates in cars, buses, and commercial vehicles. The collaboration is set to focus on the cables and contact/connector systems fields of technology. In order to provide an improved connection solution which delivers optimum customer benefits, KOSTAL KontaktSysteme will contribute its many years of experience in the field of contact systems in the automotive market, and HUBER+SUHNER its expertise as developer and manufacturer of solutions for high-speed data communication and cable technology. With their strategic collaboration, the two companies aim to successfully respond to the growing demand for high performance data cables and connectors as one of the key technologies in autonomous driving. “As an acknowledged, innovative and globally active supplier of contact systems in the automotive industry, KOSTAL KontaktSysteme is an ideal partner for this collaboration,” said Reto. “The combination of technologies and skills within the two companies offers many benefits to our customers when it comes to finding a solution to the demanding challenges with respect to data transmission in the automobile of the future.” Markus added, “Autonomous driving is one of the megatrends in the automotive industry for the coming decade. High-per formance, radio frequency connectors and cables designed to meet the requirements of the automotive industry are an important foundation for innovative driver assistance system architectures.” HUBER+SUHNER From left to right: Cornel Huber, market unit manager industry & transportation, HUBER+SUHNER, Dr. Markus Bergholz, president and CEO, KOSTAL Kontakt Systeme, Reto Bolt, chief operating officer radio frequency division, HUBER+SUHNER, Sven Kallinich, executive vice president of sales and marketing, KOSTAL Kontakt System.

CES spectacular secuity suite The Kudelski Group, demonstrated its impressive 30 years of comprehensive IoT security services and technology knowledge at CES 2018, showcasing two-real world applications. The company says that its range targets device manufacturers and service providers who need solid security foundations in order to enable long-term monetisation, privacy and safety of their devices and enable new sustainable business models. Demonstrated by the company at CES 2018 were: HITE NOISE Secure Communications – The W company says it is a secure, hardware-based mobile communication solution for businesses and government institutions that can support the highest security levels, up to ‘Secret’, while allowing people to continue using the iOS or Android mobile devices they already own. The technology is also available as a secure Bluetooth headset, designed and developed in partnership with leading electronics company, Sennheiser. S urveillance Camera Security – Kudelski says this solution has the ability to re-secure security cameras already deployed in the field that may be vulnerable to cyberattacks and interception of the video using a small, after-market appliance that protects the video and the camera using strong encryption and firewall technologies. The solution incorporates key technologies from partners like Ionic (policy management system), 42Crunch (API Firewall), and SmarDTV (hardware design and manufacturing). Kudelski adds that its inclusive IoT security solutions work to protecting digital TV content on more than 500 million devices. Upholding strong expertise in cybersecurity, the company acknowledged that CES showcased solutions that make IoT security easy to embrace; providing secure foundations for the device, network, data, commands, monitoring and security evolution that are essential to enable and sustain IoT new business models. The Kudelski Group

January 2018 | 43


Maintaining modern fibre networks Not maintaining modern fibre networks can wreak havoc with optical signal, NCN talks with Microcare to find how technicians can effectively maintain modern fibre networks.


he internet is growing at an astounding rate with industry experts estimating some 4.6 billion internet users by 2021 along with 27 billion networked devices. Of course, with this comes a rise in global digital traffic predicted at 24% over the next four years. Users’ demand for fast, uninterrupted service is driving network designers to rely more on fibre optic networks to meet the current and future bandwidth demands.

44 | January 2018

The Big Threat

Sources of Contamination

The most common threat to any optical network is contamination on the fibre optic connector end-faces, also called ‘optical interconnects’. Contamination in the contact zone of a mated connector pair will interrupt the optical signal. Dust particles between mated connectors frequently cause scratches and pits to both end faces. In either case, the result is an increase in ‘insertion loss’ that will wreak havoc with the optical signal.

The standard for inspection and cleaning fibre optic connectors is IEC 61300-3-35. It defines contamination as a ‘removable defect’ that negatively impacts the performance of mated connector pairs. Most dust particles are several microns size and is only visible with a microscope. Dust-based contamination originates from many sources. Airborne dust can come from dead skin, plant pollen, vehicle emissions, cardboard boxes and


clothing lint. Often overlooked sources of dust par ticles come from the foam swabs, paper based wipes, and cross contaminated cleaning fluids installers are using to clean their optical connectors. Connector ‘wear debris’ is the primary cause of dust-based contamination. Wear debris dust is caused by the contact friction when connectors are mated. It would be incorrect to assume that a new cable assembly will have a pristine connector end-face free of contamination. Many moulded plastic end-caps include chemicals called plasticizers to improve the durability of the end-cap. Unfor tunately, many plasticizers outgas leaving small oil droplets on the end-face. Many manufacturers also use mould release agents to speed the manufacturing of the tiny end-caps. These end-caps may retain some of the mould release agent on the inner sur face which can land onto the connector end-face. End-caps are never cleaned and frequently have small amounts of dust inside the sleeve which can migrate onto the end-face. Plus, putting the end-cap on at the factory and removing it by the network installer causes wear debris. The best practice to ensure that your optical connectors are delivering designed per formance is to inspect and clean both ends of the connector pair before they are mated.

Don’t Let Static Be in Charge

Most dust particles are several microns size and not visible to the human eye and is only visible with a microscope

Electrostatic charge is a major factor in dust in fibre optic networks. When two different materials are rubbed together, such as a dry paper wipe on a ceramic end-face, the friction causes an electrostatic charge to develop on the connector. The charged end-face will continually attract dust particles, just as a magnet attracts iron. Since fibre connectors are made with dielectric materials causing them to act as an electrical insulator, the static charge has no place to go and can persist indefinitely on the end-face.

T h e e a s i e s t wa y to e l i m i n ate t h e c o nta m i n at i o n c a u s e d b y e l e ct ro s tat i c c h a rge i s t h e wet - d r y c l e a n i n g p ro c e s s u s i n g a n a p p ro p r i ate , o pt i c a l - g ra d e cleaning fluid. The cleaning f l u i d b e c o m e s t h e c o n d u ct i ve m e d i u m w h i c h d i s s i p ate s t h e e l e ct ro s tat i c c h a rge . To a c h i eve t h e b e s t re s u l t s , s e l e ct a n o pt i c a l - g ra d e c l e a n i n g f l u i d t h at w i l l n ot l e ave a n y re s i d u e s . T h e c l e a n i n g f l u i d s t h at c o m e i n h e r m i t i c a l l y - s e a l e d c o nta i n e r s a re o pt i m a l b e c a u s e t h e y p reve nt c ro s s - c o nta m i n at i o n and spills.

January 2018 | 45


Top Tip When choosing a cleaning fluid, ensure that it is fast-drying, non-flammable, dissipates static and is hermetically sealed to prevent contamination of the cleaning fluid. A fast-drying fluid is an especially desirable characteristic, as this keeps moisture from being attracted to the end-face and therefore minimises contamination. Using a specially designed fibre cleaning fluid and a proper lint-free wipe will achieve optimum results at the lowest cost.

The easiest way to eliminate the contamination caused by electrostatic charge is the wet-dry cleaning process using an appropriate, optical-grade cleaning fluid

Data Centre News is a new digital news based title for data centre managers and IT professionals. In this rapidly evolving sector it’s vital that data centre professionals keep on top of the latest news, trends and solutions – from cooling to cloud computing, security to storage, DCN covers every aspect of the modern data centre. The next issue will include a special feature infrastructure management in the data centre environment. The issue will also feature the latest news stories from around the world plus high profile case studies and comment from industry experts. REGISTER NOW to have your free edition delivered straight to your inbox each month or read the latest edition online now at

DCN is available to read online at 46 | January 2018

The wiping of the fibre connector end-face is normally accomplished using a wipe for an unmated connector or a stick cleaner for in bulkhead connectors. Technicians will want to select an optical-grade wipe or stick engineered for cleaning fibre since these products will be soft enough not to scratch the ceramic or composite ferrule end-face. They will also be highly absorbent for wicking the contamination away from the surface of the endface while not generating lint. Another option some suppliers are promoting are aqueous (waterbased) fibre cleaning fluids. These are sub-optimal because they are extremely slow-drying. The high percentage of water also causes these cleaning fluids to freeze. Installers who leave their gear in the truck overnight or who are working in outside plant environments exposed to cold temperatures will need to change their storage of those aqueous based cleaning fluids so they are not having to defrost a block of ice before starting a project.

IPA alcohol is no longer regarded a good choice for cleaning modern fibre end-faces. It is highly flammable and also has a slower evaporation rate when compared to the modern chemistries which have been engineered specifically for cleaning fibre optic connectors.

Done And Dusted Ensuring fibre is clean and contaminant-free is essential. Without proven, reliable cleaning methods in place, the pressures on network technicians will escalate as they try to keep systems running efficiently with tools that are not up to the job. It is impor tant to find a fibre cleaning method that is affordable, quick, consistent and effective. By introducing modern cleaning procedures, it will not only save time and money, but also make a network substantially more reliable. Microcare

Business directory I.T. Infrastructure and Networking Solutions

• Critical Power Protection • Power Distribution • Racks, Cabinets & Enclosures • Climate Control • Environmental Monitoring

• Active Network Products • Security & Asset Management • Structured Cabling • Network Testers & Tools • Cable Management & Accessories





Why Mayflex? All together. Products, Partners, People, Service. Mayflex brings it all together. Mayflex lead the way in the distribution of Converged IP Solutions. We use our specialist knowledge and experience to bring together best in class infrastructure, networking and electronic security solutions to create a compatible, feature rich, value for money offering to meet the demanding needs of business types and sizes across all sectors.

Working together with VARs, Installers, integrators, and specifiers Mayflex provide support through pre-sales, product selection, commercial flexibility and technical knowhow to enable the delivery of truly converged solutions which provide businesses with advanced, scalable, cost effective and reliable IP based communication networks and building management systems.

Excel House, Junction Six Industrial Park, Electric Avenue, Birmingham, B6 7JJ Tel: 0800 75 75 65 Email: Website:

• Data Cable Matting • POD / GOP Boxes • Flexible Conduits • Braided Sleeving • PVC Trunking

• Velcro Cable Ties • Cage Nut Sets • Fixings & Fasteners • Basket Trays • Floor Grommets

Cablelines-NCN-Directory-Jan16issue.indd 1

This could be you! To advertise in the NCN business directory contact Kelly on 01634 673163 or email

CABLE MANAGEMENT WAREHOUSE LTD Units 5 & 6 Arkwright Road Industrial Estate Arkwright Road, Bedford, MK42 0LQ T: 01234 848030 E:

09/12/2015 16:36


CMW Ltd are a leading supplier of cable management and containment products to the networking and data industry. We offer next day delivery on all stock products to your office or site address. We specialise in POD boxes and bespoke metalwork products. We are also a major distributor for LSOH rubber nitrile cable matting for both floor and basket trays.

Business directory CABLING SUPPLIES

Any Strand, Any Connector, Any Length, Any Time Save yourself a lot of time and trouble, and eliminate all performance worries with custom pre-terminated LSZH fibre cables. Get top-quality fibre cables that are built to your exact specs, fully tested, and shipped ready for installation. GET IN TOUCH: 00800-2255 2269 |

Corning Optical Communications, part of the Corning Incorporated telecommunications segment, is a leading manufacturer of fibre optic communications system solutions for voice, data and video network applications worldwide.

Tel: 00 800 2676 4641 Email: www.

We offer the broadest range of end-to-end fibre optic and copper product solutions for customers’ telecommunications networks. We put companies at the forefront of network innovation, pioneering many

of the global products and solutions commonly used in state-of-the-art cabling systems. We develop and manufacture fibre optic and copper cable, hardware and equipment including frames, cabinets, terminals, network interface devices, splice and test equipment, cable assemblies and connectors. Our commitment to total quality and superior customer satisfaction distinguishes us as a leader in the telecommunications industry.

YELLOWbook Network & AV Editions

Distributors of IT Infrastructure, Network, Security and AV solutions Farnborough

London E1



01252 379 379

0207 790 2140

01604 767 008

0161 979 0102


Request yo ur FREE copy of the late Mills cata st logue NOW!

A leading distributor and manufacturer of structured cabling, cable management and specialist tooling and equipment for internal and external communications infrastructure.

• Cabinets & Enclosures • Structured Cabling • Fibre Optics

• Voice • Active • Coax & AV

Mills Ltd, 13 Fairway Drive, Greenford, Middlesex UB6 8PW 2682 Mills NCN Panel AW.indd 1

• Cable Management • Tools • External Overhead

Tel: 020 8833 2626

• External Underground • Test Equipment • Consumables

Email: 20/2/12 15:20:25

Business directory CABLING SUPPLIES

There’s more to Nimans than you think!

Over 500 Pages 7,000 Products Includes many NEW Products & Services Order your FREE copy at: or call 0161 925 1966 2598 NCN Directory fusion panels:Layout 1 9/6/11 09:58 Page 1 MK3353 Business_Directory_Ad.indd 1

15/04/2015 10:09

The Fusion product range has been extensively researched to provide an ‘altogether better’ solution for structured cabling products

Cat5e & Cat6 Cable Reinforced handle No snagging

Triple Cat5e Modules Simply upgrade a double

Patch Panels Clearly labelled IDC terminals

• Completely integrated - so everything fits together perfectly • Fast to install - every aspect of design optimised to save time

Self Adhesive Back Boxes Easy, time saving

Patch Cords With individual test certificates

Cabinets & Racks Designed with thermal management in mind

• No excess packaging - save time opening packs • 25 year warranty - exceptional performance and consistency

Official Fusion Distributors: Mills Ltd Tel: 020 8833 2626 Nimans Tel: 0161 925 1980 Middle East Agent: Total Empower Est. Po Box 567, Post code 115, Madinat Qaboos, Sultanate of Oman. Tel: +968 92801196

For a copy of our new Data Centre Solutions catalogue or for further details of our rack platforms please contact us or visit our website at: NR Series

SRS Series

ARS Series

DRS Series

UK designed, engineered and built


01256 812812 • fg eu

Accessories compatible with all standard 19-inch racks • A wide variety of sizes • High quality • Competitive prices Solid and vented cantilever, sliding, keyboard, monitor and adjustable shelves • Solid and vented aluminium and steel front panels • Cable management accessories M6 front panel fixing kits • Drawers, locks, earth kits, documentation pockets, wall brackets and castors • And much more

We rack your world!


Network, Data Centre rack systems & infrastructures

Tel: +44 (0) 1278 772600 Fax: +44 (0) 1278 772639


Cat 5e & Cat 6 Integrated Structured Cabling Solutions


Connectivity Solutions For: Data Centres / Enterprise / Premise Networks / Ultra High Density Solutions / Telecommunication Networks

The World. Connected. FF2 - NCN Business Directory Entry- 131216.indd 1 +44 (0)1908 441144 13/12/2016 16:46:17