A custom configured solution for your cable management

How to Do Proper Cable Management
When you’re building or retrofitting your network infrastructure, you don’t always have the staff or resources to design your layout. Telect has a Custom Configured Solutions team with the expertise to design cable raceways and rack architecture.
This is the fifth in a Telect blog series, entitled The A-B-Cs of Cable Management. Application Engineer Jason Charette describes how a custom configured solution can save your company time and money.
Fiber optic cables often need to navigate through tight or awkward spaces, around corners and over ducts.
We’ve even had to route our CableLinks through a hole in the wall to connect an adjacent room.
Your optical fiber network needs to be logical and flexible. The increasing demand for more bandwidth, more capacity, faster speeds and lower latency is forcing us to consider growth and expansion. I’ve seen more than 570 fibers per run in one installation and I know — with the race to faster, bigger wireless service — that fiber counts are only going to keep going up.
That’s a lot of stress for network managers, especially when you know your company’s profit base hinges on your ability to scale your network.
When it comes to planning to densify your network, you need to ensure easy access to cable, clear identification and defined routing paths.
The right cable raceway design will help improve network performance, reduce energy costs, ease maintenance and lead to faster deployment during scaling efforts. Our end-to-end cable management solution, WaveTrax, accounts for the weight of the cable, bend-radius requirements, waterfall dropouts and other support methods that allow you to route cable without damage.
Do-it-yourself cable routing
If you’re roped into planning your cable pathway yourself, here a few tips to remember.
1. Be precise
Make sure you measure everything. When you’re accurate with your tape measure, you reduce the amount of waste and, in turn, cost.
2. Plan for later
Sure, measure for accuracy but make sure you have enough slack cable for maintenance and mining.
3. Stay true to the bend
Fiber cable is delicate and you have to ensure you’re paying attention to bend radius. Too far of a bend and you’re risking fractures and attenuation.
4. Keep the paths clear
You sometimes need quick access to cable. Keeping it on a defined route through your cable managers and vertical drops helps.
5. Don’t overfill
Overloading your trays can lead to excess weight and buckling. Too many fibers in your cable managers can clog up and give you a mess of spaghetti that makes identification and access nearly impossible.
6. Plan for growth
Allow for expansion with the fill capacity of Wavetrax. It’s easier to go one size up now then to have to retrofit later.
A better idea FOR CABLE MANAGEMENT
The Telect Custom Configured Solutions team has decades of experience in designing and building network infrastructure. We work hard to understand your network’s facility and how it’s probably unique to anything we’ve worked on before.
We take your specifications and develop a cable management solution with our WaveTrax and articulating CableLinks products. When you provide us with your floor plan, we create drawings on an overhead layout and a full Bill of Materials (BOM).
A solid cable pathway design can be the difference in your network running optimally and efficiently. It can help reduce the risk or duration of network downtime.
Instead of wondering where you went wrong when you can’t find cable or your network suffers, make sure it’s done right the first time.
Jason Charette and Brad Hawkins are Application Engineers at Telect. They have decades of experience designing cable management solutions for major telecommunications networks and enterprise data centers. There isn’t a hole in the wall they can’t find a solution for to make sure your fiber optic cable finds the right path.
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How to Do Proper Cable Management

Until we have a reliable solution for wireless electricity, cables will always be necessary. Although it’s unfortunate, robots will have to remain wired… at least for the next couple of years.
So we have to deal with cables properly (especially the annoying ones, like the ones that go from the robot controller to the robot wrist). As a robotic device manufacturer, this is one of our top concerns in terms of reliability. Here’s how to do proper cable management on your robot.
What’s in a cable anyway?
Cables that link the robot tool to the robot controller generally have two functions: transmitting electricity, and establishing communications between the devices.
Within the cables are different wires that accomplish these two functions. There are usually two wires dedicated to electricity, a couple for communication, a bare wire, and a shield over all of them.
Each of these components has a crucial role to play in the robotic device.
Most industrial wirings are designed for static uses or for minor flexion – not for the amount of twisting that robots can perform. Since they weren’t built to turn 360 degrees here and another 180 degrees there, robotic applications raise the risk that one of the wires or the shield itself will break.
A broken wire or shield results in a loss of communication or a loss of current, which (usually) causes the robotic device to stop – obviously not something you want to have happen. That’s why you need to do cable management: to avoid breaking your cables.
The basics of cable management
The principle of cable management is to place cables in such a position that they go through as many cycles as the robot without breaking.
To achieve that, you must do two things:
Respect the natural curvature of the cable
Do not pinch the cable
There are three ways to approach cable management: general hardware, dedicated cable management products, or a custom setup.
General hardware
In the subsections below, we’ll cover the most common hardware solutions and some best practices.
Zip ties
Zip ties are a great solution, but only if they don’t pinch the wires. Squeezing a cable against the robot framing with a zip tie is a no-go. If you do use zip ties, make sure to use two of them: attach one to the robot frame, and use the other to make a loop for the cable to slide through.
Velcro
Out of all the solutions, velcro is probably the best value. You can get a couple of bands of velcro, fix them here and there, and you will have good cable management. Just make sure the cable always loops naturally and is never pinched, and you’re good to go.
Fabric sleeves
Some of our customers used fabric, such as neoprene, to create a sleeve around the robot frame for a sleek, elegant solution. Simply slide the cable through the sleeve so it stays in place while the robot is operating.  Again, as long as you keep a natural loop in the cable, you’ll be fine.
Although most robot cells are unique (i.e., non-standardized), we have observed the same cable management problems several times.
We ended up designing different fixtures that can be fitted onto the robot frame. Some are for clipping the cable to the fixture, and others are for sliding the cable through them.
Cables can pop out of cable loops if they get stuck on something; the advantage of clipping is that it prevents this problem. Follow this link to download the STEP file and 3D print it at your office.
Trust me when I say we’ve had pretty good results with these fixtures; we tested them in many crazy positions for a huge number of cycles!
No matter what cable management challenge you’re facing, I suggest approaching it with the same two priorities: natural cable curvature, and no pinching.
If you have further questions, our support team is here to help!

Fibre optic cables could help detect earthquakes

Researchers in Iceland hope that fibre optic cables may make earthquakes easier to detect than ever before.
Much of the technology that we take for granted in the 21st century relies on fibre optic communications cables, from long-distance phone calls and television services to the internet. Fibre cables laid beneath the ground enable business and industry to move large amounts of data quickly.
Now researchers in Iceland may have found a new use for the technology. According to an article in the peer reviewed journal, Nature Communications, underground broadband networks could be used in future to detect seismic activity.
The challenge is to find a cheaper alternative to expensive seismometers placed at sensitive locations. The research team carried out tests on 15km of fibre-optic cable that had originally been installed between two geothermal power plants, in Iceland, in 1994.
The team led by Dr Philippe Jousset, from the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, discovered that a laser pulse sent down a single fibre of the cable was sufficient to determine whether there were any disturbances along its length.
When movements in the ground stretched or compressed the cables, the scientists were able to record it. They found that the cables not only recorded seismic signals, but were also able to detect the surrounding faults and other underground geological structures.
There are hopes that once refined, the technology could be used for low-cost earthquake early warning systems.
International Standards for fibre optics
Manufacturers and suppliers of optical fibres and their components can rely on the IEC to provide the tools necessary to ensure the quality and reliability of their products.
IEC Technical Committee (TC) 86: Fibre optics, its three Subcommittees (SCs) are central to the development of the entire sector and all related industries as they prepare Standards, specifications and technical reports for fibre optic-based systems, subsystems, modules, devices and components.
Recent highlights include:
IEC SC 86A has standardized the most recent development in wideband multimode fibre, known as OM5. IEC 60793-2-10 increases data rates by augmenting the capacity of each fibre by a factor of four. Because it can be incorporated into existing equipment, it remains compatible with older applications.
Technical Report IEC TR 63072-1, developed by SC 86C, provides an introduction to photonic integrated circuits (PICs) and describes a roadmap for the standardization of PIC technology over the next decade. PICs bring together optical and electronic functionalities. This technology has the potential to enable computing and data transmissions at great speeds which will be essential for the implementation of the next generation of smart services including 5G networks.
High quality components
To ensure the quality and reliability of the components used in optical fibre assemblies, manufacturers and suppliers have a powerful tool at their disposal. IECQ, the IEC Quality Assessment System for Electronic Components, provides certification at the international level for a wide variety of electronic components, including those found in fibre optic systems.
IECQ offers immediate international recognition. One test and one certificate issued in one country means acceptance on a global basis, even in countries that are not IECQ Members.
Reducing the use of hazardous substances
Nowadays, electronic component manufacturers who have had their products tested and certified by IECQ also request IECQ HSPM (Hazardous Substance Process Management) certification to demonstrate that their products are produced under controlled conditions to provide assurance that they meet hazardous-substance-free specific local, national and international requirements.
This is of particular importance for fibre optics as networks increasingly extend across borders. For this reason they have to comply with different national regulations that may restrict or prohibit the use of such substances in components.
The IECQ System provides all players in the ever expanding fibre optic market with the certainty of using electronic components that meet the strictest requirements and are of the highest quality.

How To Decide What Goes Into A Fiber Prep Kit

Kit configuration starts with our marketing department, our staff of engineers and our sales team. Usually it’s the sales team up first explaining the need for a kit for a specific customer or they had an inspiration or a germ of an idea from a tech in the field saying he wished he had a selection of tools in an all-in-one kit. Ideas can originate just about anywhere. All suggestions are evaluated, and one of the first questions posed is there a market for this kit and will anyone care (translation, will anyone buy it)?
Kevin Costner starred in the movie, Field of Dreams. And a voice over kept saying, “if you build it they will come.” We ask, if you build it will the customers come. In the case of fiber prep tools and the need for a kit our marketing department conducted extensive research and found such a need, and with the breadth of line, fiber-mart Tools was positioned to fill it.
Because fiber is ubiquitous and more and more is being installed every day, the need for the proper tools for installation and maintenance continues to grow; therefore, the need for fiber prep tools continues to grow. So, the question then becomes, what goes into a fiber prep kit?
fiber-mart Tools has a number of Fiber Prep Kits in the line including the TK-120 Fiber Prep Kit and the TK-150 Fiber Prep Kit with Connector Cleaner, Fiber Cleaver & Visual Fault Locator. The TK-150 features all of the same tools as the TK-120 plus the VFL-150 Visual Fault Locator, FCC-250 Fiber Connector Cleaner and the FC-220 Fiber Cleaver. These kits have been on the market for a little over a year and can already be found in use around the world. But who decided what to put in the kits and how was that decision made?
Cable StrippersLooking at the tools contained in the TK-120 and the function of each explains how and why they were chosen. To start there are three cable stripping tools, the CST-1900 Round Cable Stripper, CSR-1575 Cable Strip & Ring Tool, and the FOD-2000 Fiber Optic Drop Cable Slitter. These tools allow you to open cable jackets and buffer tubes to gain access to the fiber.
MS-6 Blog 02Along the same line is the MS-6 Mid Span Slitter. This patent pending tool allows the tech to gain access to a fiber mid span for either a repair or connectorizing a fiber.
Every kit needs a fiber stripper and fiber-mart Tools manufactures the JIC-375 Fiber Optic Stripper Three Hole…THE tool for stripping fiber optic cable. And if you are exposing the inner workings of the cable you are bound to encounter Kevlar – a very tough material. A standard scissor would last a week before breaking so you need the JIC-186 Ergonomic Fiber Optic Kevlar Cutter…a tough resilient scissor specifically designed to deal with materials as tough as Kevlar.
Rounding out the kit you need a flashlight like the FL-2000, a screwdriver like the SD-61 Multi Bit Screwdriver for opening panel boxes, FW-5 fiber wipes for cleaning the fiber and a couple of pliers. We included the JIC-2288 Diagonal Cutter Pliers for use as the name implies – for cutting cables, and the JIC-842 Telecom Long Nose Pliers for grabbing or pulling cables. Now add the rugged H-90 21 Pocket Tool Case and you have the perfect kit…and that is the genesis of the fiber Prep kit.

Patch Cord Types and Their Impact on the Network

Data centers and the networks they support have grown to be an integral part of every business. The software applications that keep mission-critical operations up and running in highly redundant, 24/7 environments rely on highly engineered structured cabling systems to connect the cloud to every user. Structured cabling is the foundation that supports data centers.
Although structured cabling isn’t as sexy as diesel-driven UPS systems or adiabatic cooling systems, it plays a huge role in supporting the cloud. One important component of structured cabling that is often overlooked: patch cords.
Oftentimes, patch cords are purchased haphazardly and installed at the last minute. But the right patch cord type can improve the performance of your network. The proper design, specification, manufacturing, installation and ongoing maintenance of patch cord systems can help ensure that your network experiences as much uptime as possible.
A patch cord problem can wreak havoc on an enterprise, from preventing an airline customer from making a necessary reservation change to keeping a hotel guest from getting work done while on business travel.
What Drives Data Growth?
Explosive data growth due to social media, video streaming, IoT, big data analytics and changes in the data center environment (virtualization, consolidation and high-performance computing) means one thing: Data traffic is not only growing in bandwidth, but also in speed.
Another essential point is network design. Today’s network design, such as a leaf-spine fabric, makes the network flatter, which lowers latency – this makes the Ethernet and corresponding patch cord types incredibly important.
The Definition of a Patch Cord
A patch cord is a cable with a connector on both ends (the type of connector is a function of use). A fiber patch cord is sometimes referred to as a “jumper.”
Patch cords are part of the local area network (LAN), and are used to connect network switches to servers, storage and monitoring portals (traffic access points). They are considered to be an integral part of the structured cabling system.
Copper patch cords are either made with solid or  stranded copper; due to potential signal loss, lengths are typically shorter than connector cables.
A fiber patch cord is a fiber optic cable that is capped at both ends with connectors. The caps allow the cord to be rapidly connected to an optical switch or other telecommunications/computer device. The fiber cord is also used to connect the optical transmitter, receiver and terminal box.
Selecting Copper Patch Cords
There are many copper patch cord types to consider – but here are a few key elements to keep in mind.
Size: A copper patch cord with a smaller OD (outside diameter) takes up less space, and also has a smaller bend radius. This allows it to be deployed in space-deprived environments, and offers more working space for potential expansion in the future.
Twinning: A stable and consistent twinning process (the twisting of copper conductors) helps maintain internal cable characteristics and reduce signal loss during physical manipulation.
Bonded-Pair Technology: The process of bonding individual conductors along the longitudinal axis guarantees uniform spacing between the twisted pair, as well as reliable electrical performance.
Types of Testing: Transmission performance depends on the integrity of the system, including cable characteristics, connecting hardware, cross-connect wiring and patch cords. Manufacturer testing and post-installation testing ensure that the network remains reliable and 100% available.
Length: Pay attention to length restrictions for twisted pairs.
Connections: Look for snagless, over-molded engineered boots, which offer strain and pull relief to protect patch cords from damage.
Traceability: Having the ability to trace a patch cord’s connection points improves reliability, reduces troubleshooting time, improves uptime and reduces IT teams’ efforts when making changes.
Selecting Fiber Patch Cords
Choosing fiber patch cords requires just as many considerations as choosing copper patch cord types. Before selecting a fiber patch cord, ask yourself:
Which connector type is needed? LC, SC, ST, FC, MPO or MTP? Each connector option offers pros and cons. Selecting the right connector can speed up deployment and reduce costs.
Should singlemode or multimode patch cord types be used? Singlemode patch cords are used for long distances; multimode patch cords are used for shorter distances.
Are simplex (one connector per end) or duplex (two connectors per end) cable connections necessary?
How long should the patch cord be? For example, fiber patch cords are available in lengths of 2 m, 3 m or 5 m. The right patch cord length will eliminate slack and potential damage due to kinking.
What type of cable jacket is needed? Depending on the installation location (plenum, underfloor, exterior or floor mounted), the exterior cabling jacket is available in a variety of configurations to protect the cable’s insulation and conductor core. Selecting the right jacket – single jacket, plenum rated, double jacket/armored, double jacket/heavy duty, etc. – for the right environment will ensure proper performance.
The demand for higher bandwidth and faster network speeds requires a network that can handle higher compute densities without sacrificing reliability.
Selecting, installing and maintaining the right patch cord type affects today’s network in many ways. Belden’s copper and fiber patch cords offer superior performance and engineered resiliency to meet the bandwidth and network speeds of today, tomorrow and beyond.

SELECTING A FIBER OPTIC PATCH CORD

Your Guide to Selecting the Perfect Patch Cord for the Job
I receive many questions when it comes to the topic of Networks and Datacom, but one subject I believe many can benefit from is how to determine the differences between one fiber optic patch cord and another. Now, fiber optic patch cords come in a variety of cable and connector types. In order to obtain the proper patch cord you need to determine several attributes:
Cable Type — Fiber Optic cable comes in two general types, Single-Mode and Multi-Mode fiber.
Single-Mode fiber cable generally has a 9 Micron diameter glass fiber. There are two sub groups (referred to as OS1 and OS2) but most cable is “dual rated” to cover both classifications.
Multi-Mode fiber cable can have several different diameters and classifications of fiber strands.
The two diameters currently in use are 62.5 Micron and 50 Micron.
Within the 50 Micron diameter Multi-Mode cable, there are three different grades (referred to as OM2, OM3, and OM4). The cable types used in the patch cord should match that of the network cabling to which they are attached via the patch panel.
The fiber cable may be available in different “jacket diameters” (such as 2mm or 3mm). Thinner diameters (1.6 or 2mm) may be preferable in dense installation within a single rack since they take up less space and are more flexible.
Cables that route from rack to rack (especially via cable tray) may be more suitable if they have the thicker jacket that results in larger diameters thus making them more rigid.
Flammability of the jacket material could become an issue if the area they are in has special requirements for flame spread or products of combustion in case of a fire. In these cases, patch cords may have to be classified as “Plenum Rated” (OFNP) rather than “Riser Rated” (OFNR).
Simplex or Duplex — Unlike copper patch cords which send information in both directions (having multiple pairs of conductors with which to do so), most fiber patch cord cables have a single strand of fiber allowing for signal flow in one direction only.
Connecting equipment so that it can send and receive information requires two strands of fiber (one to transmit and one to receive information). This can be accommodated by using two “Simplex” (single strand of fiber) cables for each equipment interconnection or a “Duplex” cable, with conductors and/or connectors bonded together in pairs.
Length — Overall length of the patch cord may be specified in feet or meters, depending on your preference.
Connector Type — See the connector type descriptions below. Some patch cords may have different connector types on each end to accommodate interconnection of devices with dissimilar connectors. In some cases, there may be a connector on only one end, and bare or unterminated fiber on the other. These are usually referred to as “Pigtails” rather than “Patch Cords”.

How to buy the best quality Singlemode Fibre Optic Patch Leads?

Are all optic fibre patch cords created equal
Many people would answer yes to this question, as from first glance they all look physically similar. However, upon closer inspection and by measuring performance, it is quite obvious that the quality can vary greatly.
For many people in the IT and telecoms industry, a fibre optic patch lead (also known as an optic fibre patch cord) is now considered a commodity item.
However, when choosing to buy the best quality singlemode fibre optic patch leads, the following should be considered:
What is Fibre Optic Patch Lead Connector Grade (Performance)?
IEC standards dictate the connector performance requirement for each grade of fibre optic patch lead connector. These standards guide end users and manufacturers in ensuring compliance with best practices in optical fibre technology.
Generally, Grade A, B or C options are available, with Grade A providing the best performance.
According to IEC 61753 and IEC 61300-3-34 Attenuation Random Testing Method, ‘Grade C’ connectors have the following performance characteristics: Attenuation: 0.25dB mean, >0.50dB max, for >97% of samples. Return Loss: >35dB.
‘Grade B’ connectors have the following performance characteristics: Attenuation: 0.12dB mean, >0.25dB max, for >97% of samples. Return Loss: >45dB.
‘Grade A’ connector performance (which is still yet to be officially ratified by IEC) has the following performance characteristics: Attenuation: 0.07dB mean, >0.15dB max, for >97% of samples. While the Return Loss using IEC 61300-3-6 Random Mated Method is >55dB (unmated – only angled connectors) and >60dB (mated), this performance level is generally available for LC, A/SC, SC and E2000 interfaces.
What Singlemode Optic Fibre Types are available?
For singlemode fibre optic patch leads, two fibre types are generally available, G652D or G657A2.
G652D and G657A2 specifications refer to the glass and cable construction of optical fibre and are generally the fibres of choice in optical fibre patch leads for singlemode systems.
657A2 optical fibre in patch leads, provide an improved bend radius and flexibility, which may allow for better cable management and routing in congested areas. The improved bend radius may also allow for increased density in high-density patching fields. G657A2 optical fibre is becoming very popular in Data Centre and Enterprise network deployments.
What are Optical Fibre Connector types?
For singlemode optical fibre patch leads, the following connector types are available, LC, SC, SC/A, ST, FC, E2000.
The most common types of connectors used in modern transmission systems are SC, SC/A and LC (either simplex or duplex connectors).
Selecting the correct patch lead connector type is usually dictated by the transmission equipment or patch panel that the patch lead needs to connect with.
Why the Optical Fibre Cable Diameter is important
In high-density patching areas, the selected patch lead cable diameter can either increase or decrease congestion. It is generally recommended that simplex fibre optic patch leads have a diameter of approximately 2mm.
When selecting duplex singlemode fibre optic patch leads, there are a couple of options. Firstly, a figure 8 (2 x 2mm cords) patch cord is available, with each connector being physically separated (simplex connector). Secondly, the more common option for duplex fibre patch leads is a round 3mm duplex cable. This option requires the use of a uniboot duplex fibre optic connector, however, the smaller cable diameter helps reduce congestion in patching fields.