Sun, Sand, and Extended PoE

Do you know how to tell if you’ve completely fallen off the edge into Cable Geek-dom? It’s pretty simple really. If you’re on vacation, with this view out in front of you:

Beach View

But you can’t stop looking at this:

Cameras Left

Then you’re a bona fide Cable Geek.

Yep, that was me last month. Desperately needing a break from staring at the same four walls, I decided to take my family on a socially distanced, masked-up vacation to the beach.

Every morning, before the rest of the crew woke up, I would step out on the patio with a freshly brewed cup of coffee, ready to gaze at the horizon and spend some quality time with my thoughts. I was looking for peace and relaxation. But every morning, all I found was that darn light pole.

There were two of these poles on the hotel’s patio. One pole had five cameras on it, the other had three. I couldn’t stop looking at them. I had so many questions: How much bandwidth do those cameras use? Are they even IP-connected? How are they getting power to all of them? Why does this property owner have so many cameras? Are they watching me right now???

But I digress. Besides the creepy stalker stuff, all of those questions ultimately led to one thought: Man, this place should install a couple PowerGIG™-OAC units! (Like I said, Bona Fide Cable Geek!)

My guess is that these cameras aren’t IP-connected. But with PowerGIG-OAC, they could be. By integrating its physical security infrastructure with its IP network, the property owner could reduce materials costs, simplify future moves/adds/changes, and gain access to enhanced features like real-time security alerts.

PowerGIG-OAC is an outdoor managed PoE switch that comes already-installed in a NEMA enclosure, so it can be used in any environment – even oceanside. Installed with local power, PowerGIG-OAC has four PoE ports that support a combined 180 Watts of PoE, and up to 1Gbps transmissions. It’s equipped with easy-to-use management software, making it simple to remotely manage your PoE-powered security cameras, wireless access points, digital, signage, PoE lighting and more.

PowerGIG-OAC is part of Berk-Tek’s uLAN Extender Series, a complete line of solutions specifically designed to transmit data and PoE to devices located more than 100 meters from the closest switch. You can learn more here: www.berktek.us/extendedpoe.

Remember your first Internet search?

When I was in college several years (OK fine, decades) ago, the Internet was brand new. I can remember sitting in a campus computer lab with my classmates (this was long before laptops and iPads), listening to a professor walk us through step-by-step instructions on how to do a web search. “Move your mouse to the bar at the top…this is called the search bar…type your search term…click on the little magnifying glass…” I’m talking bare-bone basics here; stuff a four-year-old knows how to do today.

Fast forward a couple decades, and we’ve moved beyond computer labs, through desktop PCs and iPads, and onto high-speed streaming devices and wearable wireless devices. Nowadays the average college student arrives on campus with 3-5 wireless devices, from smartphones to laptops to gaming consoles.

Many professors now require assignments and exams to be submitted online. Heck, even my son’s eighth-grade teachers give assignments that can only be completed online.

Girl on laptop in grassCollege and university administrators know that reliable, widespread wireless access is paramount in attracting students to their campuses. In fact, one survey found that 98% of college and university business officers believe that superior WiFi connectivity is mission-critical for the institution. Something that didn’t even exist on college campuses 25 years ago is now mission-critical. I don’t know about you, but that statistic boggles this old writer’s mind.

The challenge in all of this is how to get that mission-critical WiFi connectivity to extend throughout the campus. Dorm rooms and classrooms are pretty easy; they’re usually located within 100 meters of the nearest telecom closet.

But what about dining halls and large auditoriums? And how about outdoor spaces like walking trails and courtyards? This article in Campus Technology, reports that 25% of campuses now provide wireless coverage in common areas, a 4% increase from just one year prior.

Getting data connectivity and power to these locations is a challenge. You could build additional telecom rooms to install a switch every 100 meters, but that’s cost-prohibitive. Berk-Tek’s uLAN Extender Series offers another way, with both economical and feature-rich solutions for extending data and power to your remote device. Check them out here.

It’s Vegas, Baby!

Vegas pic for blogA few weeks ago, I went to Las Vegas for the first time ever. It was just as big and bright and exciting as I’d imagined; probably a little too exciting for this 40-something mom from the Pennsylvania ‘burbs. After 5 days in Sin City, I’m proud to report that I didn’t accidentally get married or lose my life savings at the blackjack table. A pretty good outcome if you ask me.

But enough about that. This is a technology blog, not a travel blog. And besides, you know what they say about things that happen in Vegas…

What brought me to Vegas in the first place was the BICSI Fall Conference & Exhibition, where Berk-Tek Leviton Technologies was showing off our latest and greatest solutions. One of the things I was most excited to share with the BICSI crowd was Berk-Tek’s new uLAN™ Extender Series. And it definitely drew a crowd!

I can’t tell you how many people came up to us and said something like, “I hear you have a new extended PoE product.” Or, “What’s this network extender I’m hearing about?” Or my favorite: “Where’s the new PoE thingy you guys have?”

What they were all asking about was Berk-Tek’s uLAN Extender Series – a new line of solutions that enables you to transmit data and power to devices located more than 100 meters from your switch.

At this stage of the game, most people understand the benefits of PoE. Being able to deliver power and data over a single connection is both convenient and cost-saving. But PoE has been limited to the standard 100-meter reach of Ethernet over a twisted-pair cabling system. What happens when you need to connect and power devices that are more than 100 meters from your switch?

For example, if a company wanted to add a security camera to monitor the parking lot, or a university wanted to provide WiFi in an outdoor common area, they would need to build another communication room or install a switch every 100 meters, which can be expensive.

Berk-Tek’s uLAN Extender Series offers another way, with both economical and feature-rich solutions for extending data and power to your remote device.

PG Kiosk 1

EXT-100 is the most cost-effective product in the series, perfect for when you need to hook up a single device that doesn’t need a whole lot of bandwidth (up to 100 Mbps). It supports PoE (15W) up to 2,000 feet and PoE+ (30W) up to 1,200 feet. EXT-100 is ideal for security cameras, VoIP phones and access control devices, both inside and outside the building.

PowerGIG™-OAC is an outdoor managed PoE switch that comes already-installed in a NEMA enclosure, so it can be used in any environment. Installed with local power, PowerGIG-OAC has four PoE ports that support a combined 240W of PoE, and up to 1Gbps transmissions. It’s equipped with easy-to-use management software, making it simple to remotely manage your PoE-powered security cameras, wireless access points, digital, signage, PoE lighting and more.

OneReach: This one isn’t new (Berk-Tek first launched it about 10 year ago), but it’s proven to be a very effective solution for extending the network. OneReach uses a composite copper/fiber cable to extend PoE a whopping 8,500 feet (roughly 2.5 km) if you choose the single-mode one-port option.

If you want to learn more about the all-new uLAN Extender Series, check out our website: www.berktek.us/extendedPoE.

If you want to learn more about my trip to Vegas, you’re out of luck. I’m not talking.

Heat is No Friend to Your IP Traffic

LizardMy son owns a lizard. A leopard gecko, to be exact. His name is Larry. I’m not kidding. Larry the Lizard.

Larry lives inside a 10-gallon glass terrarium in my son’s bedroom. Larry eats live crickets, which I am forced to feed it when my son isn’t home. I’m not a fan. Obviously.

But that’s beside the point here. The point of this post is the lamps that rest on top of Larry’s tank. Well actually, the point of this post is PoE. But we’ll get to that.

Larry’s tank has two lamps on top of it. One is a 75W heat lamp, and the other is one of those 25W blue bulbs that’s supposed to simulate night time. You see, we need to switch the lamps on an off a couple times a day to optimize Larry’s lizard comfort. This thing requires more maintenance than my children, I swear.

Anyway, the other day I knocked the heat lamp over when I went to turn it off. In my haste to save it from falling, I grabbed the metal dome and burnt the heck out of my hand. If I were a normal person, I would’ve shouted a few choice words, righted the lamp, and moved on with my day.

But I’m not a normal person anymore; I’ve morphed into a cable nerd. And in true cable-nerd fashion, my brain went right to power and heat and cables. Specifically, I cursed the fact that they don’t make those lamps out of something that dissipates heat a little better!

My mind then jumped to the display we have in the TEK Center at Berk-Tek, where we demonstrate how much hotter regular Cat 5e cables get than LANmark-XTP cables get when you run power over them.

There’s no way around it: when you run power over copper conductors, you generate resistance. Resistance generates heat. More power = more heat. Heat is no friend to IP traffic. It weakens signal strength, which can lead to errors. Errors lead to a slow network, which leads to unhappy customers, employees and guests. Nobody wants that!

The key to successful deployment of PoE is to minimize that heat rise. Berk-Tek cables are specially made for this. Check out more here.

The Top 5 Reasons to Integrate Smart Lighting in the LAN

Berk-Tek recently rolled out a new initiative with Cree, a leading manufacturer of LED and smart lighting solutions, to help our customers better understand smart lighting and how to best integrate it into their IP networks.

LTG-ExtremeNetworks-CorporateCampus-MorrisvilleNC-031414-014Most people we talk to are familiar with smart lighting. They know what it is and the benefits that come with it. They’ve read articles and heard other suppliers talk about lower energy costs, reduced maintenance, and better productivity. But most times, these sources lack details and present only a portion of the big picture.

The most common feedback we get from customers is, “I want to learn more, but I’m not really sure where to start.” Most people are looking for someone to “stitch it all together” for them so they can fully understand WHY and HOW they should integrate smart lighting into the LAN.

Let’s start with the WHY. Below are the top 5 reasons why you should integrate smart lighting into the LAN:

  1. Centralized Control. No more trucking down hallways to go from room to room to adjust your light fixtures. From the comfort of your laptop or other IP device, you can adjust color tuning, max lumen output, the sensor sensitivity to movement, and much more.
  2. PoE. We look at the benefits of PoE first in terms of CAPEX, then in terms of efficiency.

CAPEX of PoE vs AC: Installing a PoE-powered smart lighting system costs about 15-20% less than installing a similar system powered via traditional AC. PoE is less complex, it is less labor, and the labor itself is less expensive per hour (low voltage contractor vs electrician).

Efficiency: A PoE-powered system is relatively efficient when care is taken in selecting the right infrastructure solution. Selecting the right cabling products – those with optimized twist rates and AWG size, and made with premium materials that minimize heat rise – can significantly reduce the losses inherent in a 100m channel.

  1. System Integration. An integrated smart lighting system serves as the communication channel for building automation systems to talk to each other via a common Ethernet language, and without the need to human interaction. This is relevant to a host of building automation systems, including HVAC, access control, security cameras, and more.
  2. LiFi. Light Fidelity (LiFi) is several years off from being adopted in any sort of scale, but it holds promise. LiFi uses light waves to carry digital information and is meant to complement existing WiFi LAN inside your facility. LiFi requires LED lights and they need to be connected to a network. Therefore, installing a smart lighting system integrated into your LAN is preparing your organization for future LiFi capability.
  3. Actionable Analytics. Arguably, one of the greatest benefits of a smart lighting system is the ability to act on the data collected from the sensor network embedded in the lights themselves. In addition to identifying and acting on energy savings, opportunities, you could use sensor data to identify underutilized spaces and reconfigure your layout to maximize the space you have instead of buying or renting space you thought you needed. For example, if your analytics are showing that your space utilization is only 60%, the system can make recommendations on how to relocate personnel to maximize space.

Want to learn more? Register for our upcoming webinar – Realize the Future: How to Integrate Smart Lighting into Your Network – on October 4!

How’s Your Lighting Right Now? Making the Most of Workplace Productivity

Tone Up at the Terminals

Office ergonomics have come a long way since 1988’s “Tone Up at the Terminals with Denise Austin.”

The average person spends about 35% of their waking hours at work. I know; it’s a little jarring. That’s a LOT of time in the office. Go ahead…take a minute to recover.

You good? OK, let’s continue…

Because of all that time people spend working, over the past several decades, there’s been more and more focus on making that time better for our employees. Office ergonomics have come a long way since they first became a thing in the 1980s. In workplaces across the world, efforts have been made to increase productivity, reduce injuries, and generally keep people happier at work.

In our offices, we’ve got stand-up desks, wrist-support mouse pads, ergonomic keyboards, and chairs equipped with enough bells and whistles to fly themselves to Mars.

But how about the lights? Let’s face it; typical fluorescent office lighting leaves a lot to be desired and a lot of headaches to be had. Literally.

The impact of lighting on workplace productivity has been well-documented over the past several decades. In the late 1980s, the lighting systems in a U.S. post office in Reno, Nevada, were renovated to make the building more efficient. The renovation was successful, saving $50,000 a year in energy and maintenance costs. But the improvements didn’t stop there. Working in a more naturally lit work area, postal employees did their jobs better and faster – to the tune of an 8% increase in productivity. The productivity gains equated to $500,000 in additional revenue per year.

Fast forward 30 years. Lighting systems – and the way we connect and power them – have evolved. IP-connected lighting – or smart lighting – is an emerging technology that leverages the energy efficiency of LED light bulbs with the cost-savings benefits of power over Ethernet (PoE).

Maybe you’re already familiar with the cost savings benefits of smart lighting. Those benefits are significant, but there’s more to it than that. Integrating a smart lighting system into your LAN can provide you with actionable data to improve the efficiency of your business.

Berk-Tek can help you understand all the benefits of smart lighting. We are working with Cree, a leading manufacturer of LED and smart lighting solutions, to help you better understand this emerging technology and provide the solutions that work best for you.

Learn more here

 

Smile… You’re on Camera!

smile-youre-on-camera-sign-k-8382

Later this month, Teresa Hoffman, Berk-Tek’s Fiber Optic Product Business Manager, will be delivering a webinar about our OneReach™ solution. OneReach is a PoE extender system that combines optical fiber for long-distance gigabit transmission and copper conductors in a single system. The result? The ability to take PoE and PoE+ to distances that were previously unreachable – 3,600 ft and 2,400 ft respectively.

Yes, you read that correctly. You can take PoE more than 3,000 feet!

But more on that later. First, funny videos!

One of the most popular applications for our OneReach solution is security. In the spirit of short attention spans and good-natured distraction, check out these examples of surveillance videos gone bad. Or, should I say, surveillance videos gone hilariously right!

Pizza Delivery Fail. Do you know where your pizza’s been?

Kissing Gone Wrong. They probably should’ve used their own car for cover.

Rocking Out. He was too hardcore for his car!

Okay, okay… back to OneReach!

OneReach is a game-changing solution for a lot of different applications. Think about security phones on a college campus, for example. Most of these now have cameras installed on them, so they require both data and power connections. Traditionally, mid-span equipment would need to be installed within 100m of the cameras. And since you can’t risk them losing power, if they’re run with local power, redundancy needs to built in.

With OneReach, these types of devices can be connected and powered by one length of composite cable that contains both fiber for long-distance data transmission and copper for PoE.  And since all power comes from the equipment room, UPS back-up is easy – required in only one central location to ensure uninterrupted power to all remote sites.

Or how about those wireless access points you want to in the ceiling of your auditorium? How can you cost-effectively connect and power those? OneReach could be your answer.

The list of installation challenges that OneReach could solve is extensive. In addition to WAPs in auditoriums and blue light phones, it’s been used for things like security along walking trails, card readers in warehouses, cameras  parking garages, and more.

Register for Teresa’s webinar to learn more about how this unique technology could solve some of your toughest installation challenges.

So easy, it’s almost scary.

By: Susan Larson, Marketing Communications Manager

esurance_ScreenShot

I love marketing. I love everything about it – the logos, the catchy headlines, the psychology behind figuring out what people need and what they’ll respond to. I especially love when I come across a TV commercial that’s not only marketing brilliance, but it also converges with IT! Lo and behold, this month I came across one that coincides with a new product Berk-Tek is launching. What are the odds?! Continue reading

An Inadvertent Crash Course in PoE: The Top 4 Things You Need to Know

training roomAs I sat down to write this month’s post about Power over Ethernet, my mind immediately flashed back to my Berk-Tek job interview. Since it was a marketing position, my manager wisely constructed the interview process to include the creation of a mock marketing plan, and – gulp – a marketing presentation. Gotta prove you can do the job, right?

Continue reading

BICSI 2016: Confessions of a First-Timer

BICSI-2016_Booth_Picture_250x175A year ago, if you would have referred to a conference of information and communications technology professionals as anything other than a snooze-fest, I would have laughed (and probably rolled my eyes a little). I’m new to the IT world, having spent the past 17 years at print services and marketing companies. The first time I heard the word “BICSI,” I responded with “Gesundheit.” Continue reading