Originally in Inside Networks: October 2019 Issue
Are network infrastructure manufacturers and distributors doing enough to reduce the amount of plastic used in the packaging of their products? Can working with companies that operate sustainably help installers and integrators win business, and are end users seeking out evidence of environmental credentials when selecting supply chain partners?
As a distributor, our environmental responsibilities and what is achievable is closely coupled to our manufacturing partners, especially regarding packaging and the reduction of plastic. Since it was only relatively recent in our industry that this received widespread coverage, it is to be congratulated that one of the major UK distributors have grasped the nettle of plastic reduction and publicised their achievements. Comms Centre is also making big strides on this, working with our suppliers as part of a much wider initiative on sustainability of which plastic packaging reduction and re-use is just one part. We have a task team selected from across the business reporting directly to the board, looking at the packaging, product staging and end-to-end sustainability including end-of-life disposal. This covers not only packaging but the products themselves which are largely made of plastic, especially cable and how it is managed at end-of-life. It is a major undertaking but in relation to plastic packaging, we estimate that we will soon exceed a realistic goal of a 50% reduction in plastic packaging.
One element of the strategy is our product pre-configuring initiative where we have worked with customers to consolidate and assemble products at our new facility. This not only reduces the time to deploy and waste on site, but enables us to maintain control of re-cycling, ensuring that we reduce all packaging and maximise its re-use. Taking a humble 48 port loaded fibre patch panel, for example, Comms Centre has worked with suppliers to create a rack-ready product and reduced the number of plastic bags from over 50 to just 2. This is just one of many initiatives taking place across all industries. Taken alone it’s not much but collectively we, as an industry can make a significant impact on pollution. Companies need to share their good ideas as it should be seen as a civic duty, not just something to gain a competitive edge.
Whilst single use plastics and their disposal have rightly gained a lot of publicity, it is equally important not to lose sight of other aspects of pollution. The fossil fuel usage and pollutants associated with transport are significant. As a distributor, we can also influence this directly. For example, energy use and CO2 in shipping from a European factory uses significantly less fossil fuel based energy than Far East locations, particularly Sulphur and particulates which are significant in sea transport. (Source: EcoTransIT World.)
Plastic pollutants are one of the most serious threats to our current and future health & wellbeing but strategies that take into consideration all aspects of a sustainable business should be adopted e.g. under the umbrella of ISO14001, the environmental standard. It makes good business sense and ensures that this is embedded into a company’s processes and procedures for the long term.
End users and installers though corporate governance will also play their part and increasingly select products that minimise single use plastic and make the supplier responsible for re-using and re-cycling responsibly.
When you purchase a cut length of fibre cable from your distributor you will likely to be thinking about the basic features you require. Top of the list will be the fundamentals such as transmission performance and compatibility with your optics. This usually comes down to Multimode OM3 / OM4 or single mode OS2 depending on the transmission distance and data speeds required.
Next will come fibre count which will include ‘lit’ circuits and dark fibre for future use. The environmental features will also be important to specify such as sheath type (Internal or external), overall diameter and possibly crush resistance. The bend radius is usually of importance to the specifier. There needs to be flex in the cable to be able to change direction within the confines of the cable containment whether being installed on a cable tray or in an external duct. External cables with PE sheathing or armouring will be significantly less flexible and may need duct pits where they need to be pulled into a duct, terminated or change direction. Tensile strength, if being pulled into ducts will also be a factor to be reviewed.
If the cable is being installed internally, other choices may need to be made such as the flammability rating and construction of the cable. Tight-buffered cable construction tends to be used more frequently for cabling inside buildings because it can be used in both vertical and horizontal cable pathway without additional measures. It can also be easier to prep / terminate than gel-filled loose tube types. However, it is limited in core count usually to 24 fibres and tends to be more expensive than loose tube. Loose tube or Unitube is where the fibres are contained within a semi-rigid plastic gel-filled tube. More recently a dry tube version has been introduced which eliminates messy gel and reduces the weight. Care must be taken with loose tube cable types if installing in the vertical plane e.g. building backbone. Loops will need to be added at intervals (typically every other floor) to avoid the risk of fibres breaking under tension and to prevent the gel from moving. The CPR flammability rating of cables has now precluded the use of universal cables (Internal/external) which were always loose tube type previously.
With so many attributes it goes without saying that there is a wide variety of fibre cables to choose from overall. Distributors generally stock fibre cable in 1km or 2 km drums which are very bulky so they may be selective as to which lines they keep in stock. This means that unless a customer can order a 2km drum and accept a long lead time, there may be no alternative but to select a cable that is not perfectly suited e.g. higher fibre count (and unnecessarily higher cost). In the past, with internal/ external cables this was less of a problem but now that they are not an option, distributors must ideally stock both internal and external cables. Networks Centre has one of the largest selections of LAN fibre cables in stock in the UK so customers can usually order the fibre cable they need without compromise.
With so many variables for a buyer to consider, one could be forgiven for overlooking the physical properties of the bare fibre itself. Whilst fibre is quite forgiving of bending, there can be issues caused by exceeding the specified bend radius e.g. if a cable is kinked. This is called macro bending and introduces unwanted losses. Bend-insensitive and bend tolerant fibre reduces this effect and therefore are more robust for handling and managing. Review of a manufacturer’s specification will reveal the specific type of fibre and whether it is bend insensitive. All Leviton Multimode OM3 and OM4 fibres are Bend Insensitive as standard as specified by IEC 60973. Single Mode OS2 fibre cable is also specified G657.A1 ( ITU-T, the Telecommunications recommendations body) which is Bend Tolerant on their internal Dry Loose Tube CPR compliant cables as standard. Both Bend Tolerant and Bend Insensitive Fibres give far better bending properties than non-bend insensitive types. Importantly, they are also backward compatible with non-bend insensitive fibres.
There are many reasons to choose to buy Leviton fibre cable from Networks Centre. Our extensive stock of 97 different types of fibre cable coupled with the superior specification are just two good reasons. The next time you need fibre cable call Networks Centre. We are fibre specialists and can provide advice to help you make the right choice.
The Gromtec range of thermal management solutions, including the well-known “Air-Guard” brand, represents a logical extension to our extensive portfolio of high-quality Data Centre products.
Founded in 1992 Gromtec is a leading manufacturer of brush and gasket floor grommets suitable for both new build and retrofit environments. The popular Air-Guard brand is a range of highly durable products used to seal an opening in a raised floor and facilitate cable pass-through whilst maintaining an air seal and improving cooling efficiency. The design has been constantly improved over many years to suit the demands of the Data Centre and by reputation appeals to Data Centre operators, Infrastructure installers and M&E contractors serving the Data Centre industry.
The extensive range consists of circular and rectangular shaped grommets, which are fitted with brushes or gaskets (or both) ensuring cables are positioned correctly within the grommet to create a tight air seal. The product range also includes retrofit options allowing for the easy removal and addition of cables and colour coded power and data separation.
Fluke Networks’ Gold Support programs offer comprehensive maintenance and technical support for their range of products. It provides a premium level of support to minimize business downtime and ensure a high
return on your investment.
See more of the benefits of getting old support, and to see how much you could save, download our infographic here.
Don’t be left without your orders this Easter! Make sure you know when we're open and how the bank holidays affect our deliveries.
Deliveries collected on Thursday 18th April on a standard service will be delivered on Tuesday 23rd April. All services will return to normal on Tuesday 23rd April.
The FI-3000 FiberInspector Pro makes inspecting MPO and single fibers easy and efficient. The multiple camera Live View provides an instant, real-time image with simple touchscreen gestures to view the full connector down to individual endfaces. Automated pass/fail results in seconds. Store results on your phone and share them through text or email or use the industry-leading LinkWare to store complete project reports including copper, fiber loss, OTDR and endface images. Compact, ergonomic design with autofocus makes it comfortable and fast even when you’re testing hundreds of cable or ports. (Versiv support available second half 2019.)
You can download the datasheet with full product information and specifications here.
PoE used to be simple. It has become complex. New standards, like IEEE 802.3bt, are being ratified to ensure more power can be delivered over more pairs. However as Powered Devices (like cameras and wireless APs) ask the Power Source Equipment for power, the switch can say NO.
In only a few seconds the new Fluke Networks MicroScanner POE provides information to solve those tough PoE problems. It will tell a Technician if the cable good or bad and the Network Engineer if the switch port is configured properly or not. If both are good a customer will know that the Powered Device needs to be exchanged.
The Microscanner™ PoE cuts through the confusion of your PoE installation by providing swift and simple PoE verification. The tester displays the available PoE class (0-8) from 802.3at, .3af and .3bt devices, and voltage from passive PoE sources. Available services (up to 10G), cable length, wiremap, cable ID, Intellitone toning, and distance to fault are also provided.
You can find out more information by reading the datasheet here, or by contacting one of the team.
End-of-calibration for Fluke Networks DTX units is fast approaching and most manufacturers providing warranties have confirmed they won’t accept third-party calibrated DTX results.
Take advantage of our new recycle program, where you can save up to £2,250 on a new DSX unit when you trade in your old DTX.
Find out how much you could save per unit on your DSX below or download our recycle program PDF here.
Terms and conditions
1.Discount will be given in the form of a credit on account once the trade in unit has been returned and the DSX deal form has been completed.
2.It is the customer’s responsibility to fill in the form on www.dsxdeal.com, complete with attachments showing quantity of units, plus invoice evidence before credit can be issued
3.It is the customer’s responsibility to send any trade in units to Fluke Networks within 30 days at their cost with copies of above information.
4.Any customers that fail to return old Testers will be not be credited the discount
5.Comms Centre reserve the right to remove this program at any time.
The new UC Connect Cat6 U/UTP LSHF-FR Cca s1a d1 a1 data cable compliant cable from Draka has a whole host of benefits.
For full specifications, you can download the full datasheet here. or if you want to speak to one of our knowledgeable team, call 01634 294433 or email email@example.com.
Fluke Networks Tester Cheat Sheet
With so many Fluke Networks Testers on the market, it's hard to know which one is the right one for your job. To make things simple, we've put together these cheat sheets to show what functions each tester can or cannot do!
Our cheat sheets aim to help you make an informed decision on what tester to buy, of course, if you have questions or if you need some guidance then our Account Managers are more than happy to help guide you through the best tester for your job.
Click on the image below to download our Copper and Fibre Fluke Networks Tester cheat sheets.