Before I write this column each year, I contemplate the events of the past year and try to determine the direction of the market. The previous year seems to have been one of new challengers to traditional technology.
Last month, I discussed the evolution of PC networks to Ethernet over twisted-pair cables. Toward the end of the 1980s, the IEEE created a new standard for Ethernet called 10Base-T, which means 10 megabits per second (Mbps), baseband (AM, not FM) over unshielded twisted-pair (UTP) copper cable.
The runaway success of PC sales in the 1980s led to the development of today’s computer networks, what we now call local area networks (LANs) or enterprise networks. The need for allowing PCs to communicate quickly followed their sales success.
When we discuss copper, fiber and wireless, we focus on the media, often without regard to the networks for which the media are supposed to provide connections. To better understand the role of the media and the selection of the best choice, it helps to understand networks.
This is the first in a series of columns on networks and cabling—media, really—as we explore the nature of networks, their cabling needs and how they have evolved to provide for today’s “always connected” society.
Recent columns have focused on tools and test equipment and how to use them, but what about taking care of them properly? This point was brought home to me recently when I spent two days training instructors to help them get started with their Fiber Optic Association (FOA) certification classes.
Now that we’ve covered the test equipment and learned how to estimate the measured loss using a loss budget, it’s time for one more related topic: creating the test conditions to get the “right answer.” And what, you might ask, is the right answer?
Termination of installed optical fiber cables has always been perceived as a difficult, expensive, time-consuming process that discouraged some contractors from developing in-house capability for fiber installation.
The last two columns covered fiber optic power meters, test sources and the reference cables you need to test the loss of installed fiber optic cable plants. This month, I discuss using these instruments properly and how to determine if a tested cable plant passes or fails the test.
Copper remains a primary carrier for integrated building systems, but fiber optic cabling is assuming an increasingly important role in data, telephone, access controls, security cameras, fire and security alarms, sensors, and other signaling-dependent systems.
Last month, I discussed one of the most important tools in the fiber tech’s toolbox: the fiber optic power meter. This month, let’s examine the other tool that is equally important: the test source used with the power meter to measure the loss of the cable plant.
I’m sure you’ve heard that you need the right tool for the job, but have you ever considered that you might need the right tool for you? Nothing affects how easily a job can be done as much as having the correct tools and knowing how to use them properly.
Fiber optic installers make some common, avoidable mistakes that cause problems for them and their customers. Do you know about these mistakes and how to avoid them? Correct answers and explanations are in red.
While most users in an enterprise network want mobile devices connected over Wi-Fi or cellular wireless networks, a large number of users still have cable connections. Generally, these users require high bandwidth and processing speeds and/or secure connections.