(Note: The following has been submitted as a
guest post to CommScope Blogs by Danny Cohen, account
manager at LINX. LINX is a member of CommScope’s
PartnerPRO Network and provider of IT networking solutions in the United
States. Opinions and comments provided in this guest post, as with all posts to
CommScope Blogs, are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect the
views of CommScope.)
hard to imagine what the future will look like. 2001: A Space Odyssey didn’t get too many things right. I mean we
didn’t even get the iPhone until 2007. Flying around space with an AI computer
still seems far out, even on today’s standards. Stanley Kubrick took a risk in
predicting the future of technology. Some things take off like mini computers
that fit in my pocket and talking thermostat. Others seems to die before
becoming real. It’s 2019, where is my flying car?
trends in our personal life are now driving trends in the business world. If
you don’t believe me, pull out your work-issued Blackberry and spend 10 minutes
writing me an email about how you disagree. The Netflix Model, otherwise known
as Software as a Service (SaaS), has changed the way we operate day-to-day
will be the next technology trend that changes the way we do business? It’s
easy to look at the next five years and say things like cloud, co-located data
centers, and IoT (Internet of Things) will continue to drive changes. But what
CLICK TO TWEET: Danny Cohen from LINX tries to predict the future of cabling.
short answer is no one knows. Businesses must look at the future and prepare
for it. No one wants to be that company in 2013 to invest millions in a new
onsite data center only to move to the cloud in 2014. Trust me, that happened
(and is still happening). Businesses that are too short sided to look at future
trends can end up spending way more in the long run.
is the infrastructure that supports business operations today and it will only
continue to be more important. One thing is clear about the future of cabling,
bandwidth requirements will only continue to go up. While some think cables
will go away with wireless, they forget that those wireless units (access
points) still need to be wired. So, while the cabling needs and designs will
change, the importance of cabling will continue to grow.
best copper cable, Category 6a, can support 10 Gbps speed at 100 meters. That’s
a lot. It’s crazy to think we’ll ever need more than that. On the other hand,
in 1990 when Category 3 cable was created and supported 10 Mbps I’m sure we had
the same thinking. We thought 10 Mbps was a fast speed back then. At the time,
few devices would even support that much speed.
main difference between Category 6a cable and Category 6 is the diameter. Category
6a essentially has more copper, thus increasing its capability. Category 7,
which is not widely available yet, will be even thicker, filled with more
copper to support even more distance and speed. At some point, we’re going to
run into physical issues with using copper.
in comes fiber optic cable. Unless you’re in the industry, you probably have to
thank Google if you’ve heard of fiber. You probably have other things to thank
Google for, but that’s for another blog. Fiber is made from thin strands of
glass. Instead of sending a signal over copper, fiber sends bursts of light
through the thin glass strand. This different cable construction allows for
fiber to have much higher bandwidth and distance limitations compared to
we mainly use fiber for underground (outside plant) or backbone (riser) cable.
One reason for this is cost. The cost of fiber has always been more than
copper. That’s still the case today; however, the difference between the two is
shrinking and has never been closer than it is today. The price will continue
to fall as more of it get produced. At some point, cost won’t be a factor. The
other factor in how fiber is used is the end devices. Today’s devices don’t
directly support a fiber connection. Look on the back of your computer and see
if there’s a fiber port. Since the end devices don’t connect to fiber directly,
a copper conversion must happen at some point.
cost continues to come down and more devices come out with a direct fiber
connection, you’ll see the use of fiber cabling increase. Some wireless access
points and security cameras take a direct fiber connection today, so it’s only
a matter of time until that becomes the standard. Fiber can support speeds over
100 Gbps and has even been tested at a terabyte per second. That’s crazy speeds
and again it’s hard to imagine needing all that.
low voltage contractor, a lot of our work is ripping and replacing old cable
with new ones. Most just upgrade to the newest version of copper, knowing that
we’ll be back out in a handful of years to do the same thing again. I encourage
customers to look ahead and see if there is a better way to do this. While a
fiber install today might cost a little more, it will save money in the long
run. It doesn’t take a special company to take advantage of a fiber
infrastructure, just a company that’s willing to ask, “is there a better way to