Held September 21-25 at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Convention Center in Las Vegas, the BICSI 2015 Fall Conference & Exhibition offered the latest information on telecommunications, audio/video, cyber intelligence, life safety, and other topics of interest to IT and electrical professionals.
In opening the conference program on Tuesday morning, BICSI President Michael Collins mentioned some of BICSI’s recent educational releases, including the new Applied Data Center Design and Best Practices course.
“This new data center course employs learning techniques designed to help individuals fully understand the concepts and practices of data center design,” said Collins. “Throughout the course, they are introduced to various data center infrastructure systems and have an opportunity to apply what they learn by engaging in case studies, discussions, and real-world scenarios.”
With the growing size and importance of data centers in today’s economy, decisions on the selection of multimode or single-mode fiber for operation at
10 Gb/s and higher speeds are vital. The benefits sought include scalability, high density, reliability, and the minimization of an overall environmental footprint. For a typical facility that is 250,000 sq ft or less in size, multimode fiber with vertical cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs) continue to dominate the market. VCSELs are easy to fabricate and test, and fit into a transceiver optical subassembly. Current discussions focus on the differences between traditional connector methods and new array connector methods (MPO/MTP).
Conference session highlights
In “Deploying the Next Generation of Power over Ethernet — 60W and Beyond,” Ty Estes of Omnitron Systems, Irvine, Calif., explained that the number of applications of Power over Ethernet (PoE) continue to grow. This system safely transfers electrical power along with data to remote devices using standard Cat. 5/6/+ UTP cable in an Ethernet network. The power can be delivered either by an endspan POE switch or by a midspan POE injector inserted between a UTP switch and the powered device, such as a wireless access point or an IP camera.
An upcoming IEEE high power PoE standard is slated for ratification in 2017, allowing for delivery of 60W to power sourcing equipment (PSE) for both existing and emerging applications. Many new configurations involve the use of all eight conductors of the cable, while simultaneously being backward-compatible with 802.3af PoE and 802.3at PoE+. At the same time, proprietary-non IEEE standard implementations include: high power PoE (HPoE), universal PoE (UPoE), and PoE++. In many cases, because different PoE detection methods (signatures) are used, interoperability is not guaranteed.
The HDBaseT Alliance is working on 100W power delivery methods for audio and video equipment that would use a standard structured cabling system and an Ethernet protocol method. Additionally, new National Electrical Code (NEC) requirements are proposed (Sec. 804.61 of the 2017 National Electrical Code).
In “Making Choices: Control System Size and Scope,” Karl Rosenberg, Extron Electronics, Anaheim, Calif., talked about the educational needs of students and business professionals in the 21st century, where information has to be widely shared in a physical or virtual environment. The design and installation (which involves connecting the system sources, processors, and display types) should allow for the display of multiple media types and be flexible enough to accommodate classrooms, boardrooms, lecture halls, training rooms, and other spaces.
The TCP/IP Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol, which supports both analog and digital communications over a network, is supplanting the AV cabling systems of the past.
Rosenberg noted that the most successful control systems achieve two primary goals: They offer an intuitive user interface and an easy-to-use configuration environment.
In “5G Up Ahead: Mobile Technologies and the Impact on In-Building,” Tracy Ford, HetNet Forum, Alexandria, Va.; Alex Gamota, American Tower Corp, Boston; and Lance Craft, Dali Wireless, Menlo Park, Calif., made up a panel that examined aspects of the 5G technology currently under development. The LTE-Advanced mobile communications standard, using a mix of macrocells (towers) along with low-power nodes, is scheduled for deployment in 2020.
The HetNet Forum, a membership group within PCIA — The Wireless Infrastructure Association, considers metrocells, picocells, femtocells, distributed antenna systems (DAS), GPON (gigabit passive optical networks), Wi-Fi access points, along with cellular towers and rooftop antennas, to make up the heterogeneous network (HetNet). According to a recent market forecast report by Dell’Oro Group, overall wireless LAN market revenues will reach approximately $13 billion in 2019, a more than 30% growth over 2015 revenues.
In “Grounding, Bonding and Wiring in a Communications or Data Environment,” David Brender, Copper Development Association, Inc., New York, reviewed several CDA case histories involving 911 public service and broadcast communications sites, as well as data centers — where common errors in wiring, grounding, and bonding caused service disruption. Bender stressed that the NEC requirements are not considered sufficient to achieve power quality in a facility’s grounding and bonding system. A well-designed data center includes a 500kmil ground ring surrounding the entire building, vertical electrodes approximately every 100 ft, and inspection wells are installed at convenient intervals.
He clarified that grounding consists of making a connection between an electrical circuit or equipment and the earth — or to some conducting body that serves in place of the earth — to provide a path for conducting electrical energy initiated by a lightning strike, while bonding equalizes the ground potential between at least two different equipment chassis and eliminates static discharge between such equipment.
In “Looking Around Corners: A Snapshot of Our Future Wireless Landscape,” Mark Niehus, DAS Simplified, Seattle, explained that active DAS is a fast-growing segment of the market today because wireless users want highly scalable, flexible, high-capacity solutions, and will expect always-on, anywhere connectivity supported by numerous wireless protocols and technologies. For that reason, he offered some basic guidelines for setting up a successful project by following a series of steps from site survey to final system acceptance.
He also explained how low-voltage designers, engineers, and installers can actively participate and add value to the project, since a DAS installation project — which uses spatially separated antenna nodes served by either coaxial or optical fiber cable — is complicated, and expertise in radio-frequency (RF) design is an essential capability.
In “It’s All About That Base – HDBase-T Signals Over Bundled Cables,” Elizabeth Stephan, Belden, Lantana, Fla., reviewed the high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI), a digital audio/video (AV) transport standard for connecting televisions, Blu-ray/DVD players, audio systems, computer monitors, gaming devices, and laptops using specialized cables and connectors.
The HDBase-T Alliance introduced HDBase-T network technology in 2010, trademarking the term 5Play to describe its capability to send uncompressed full HD video, audio, Ethernet, control and power over a Cat. 6 or Cat. 6A network cable. Thus, HDMI signals cab be transported up to 100 m (328 ft) in an uncompressed format over balanced twisted-pair cables and modular (RJ-45) connectors, thereby reducing labor cost and eliminating the need for the legacy cable constructions and connectors. The locations where AV signals can be supported by twisted-pair cabling systems include boardrooms, conference rooms, auditoriums, and convention centers.
The Alliance states that although HDBase-T uses the same physical medium as Internet Protocol (IP), it is not IP. HDBase-T uses T-packets, not the standard Ethernet protocol. In 2013, the Alliance released Spec 2.0, which brought several new enhancements to the technology, including the use of fiber-optic cable and expanding it as a multipoint-to-multipoint system supporting multi-stream and daisy-chain layouts. Additionally, there is a difference between Power over HDBase-T (POH) and Power over Ethernet (PoE).
In “Future Technologies for DAS,” Bryce Bergen and Tyler Boyd, Connectivity Wireless, Duluth, Ga., explained that as the wireless industry evolves, DAS technologies must also evolve to meet new demands. In the United States alone, the combined number of DAS and small-cell installations should increase more than tenfold from 116,000 in 2014 to 1.5 million in 2020. For example, One World Trade Center in Manhattan uses more than 200,000 feet of ½-in. coaxial cable and over 7,000 ft of optical fiber cable to support 1,250 antennas in the building.
Furthermore, the designer of a DAS system must recognize that both the ICC and NFPA codes mandate first responder coverage, and a physical separation of carrier and public safety infrastructure is required. Generally, a DAS integrator is required to be part of the project, because ownership of the system can be the carrier(s), a neutral host, or the building owner, and carrier coordination is critical to the success of a DAS project.