Deploying network cables underwater is an expensive feat, oftentimes costing hundreds of millions of dollars, but the ALOHA Cabled Observatory (ACO) paid a mere $1 for one of AT&T’s retired telecommunication cable.
The cable was originally the first fiber optic cable that connected continental U.S. and Hawaii. With the help of a former AT&T engineer, ALOHA Cabled Observatory received a custom board that converts the proprietary AT&T signal into standard 100-Base-FX (or 100 Mbps Ethernet over fiber optics). The fiber optic cable sends power and Ethernet connectivity to the ocean floor at a depth of 4,728 meters, making it the deepest power and Internet connection in the world.
Installed in June 2011, the cable was initially deployed in 1988 and operated until 2002. The cable, named HAW-4, is a first generation cable that only supports 100 Mbps full duplex downstream rates. Though the cable is now obsolete for telecommunication services, the speed provides sufficient bandwidth for marine research at the University of Hawaii’s Aloha Cabled Observatory. According to the Founder and Director of Aloha’s Cabled Observatory, Brian Chee, the cable provides more than enough bandwidth and power (1,800 watts) for an observatory that is “the size of a VW Beetle”.
The small observatory packs a large punch. Touted as the deepest underwater observatory, the site has proved as an invaluable resource to marine biologists measuring and collecting statistics such as water pressure, oxygen levels, currents, oceanic temperature, salinity, and many other data points. The ALOHA Cabled Observatory’s audio/visual library features recordings of a variety of different whales as well as oceanic life and footage of scientific crew.
One of the main advantages of the observatory is its wired Power and Ethernet connectivity. It’s Power and Ethernet connectivity eliminates the need of having to rely on external battery supplies and the station can feed real-time data to the cable landing station. The wired aspect of the observatory eliminates the need to rely on satellite transmission which can get costly if using high-bandwidth transmission. The observatory’s Power and Ethernet connection also eliminates the need for scientists to visit the site directly to collect data.
It’s easy to forget that the world-wide-web is connected via expensive undersea cables that connect networks across continents. With wireless access to the internet, we oftentimes forget that our networks rely on wired infrastructures to enable us to surf the internet. And we’re much less aware that in order for the world-wide-web to achieve global connectivity, telecommunication companies deploy transatlantic submarine cables. These cables cost millions to deploy, the most recent venture was completed by Google. The company deployed a submarine cable and named it as “Faster” that connects Japan to Portland, Oregon as well Los Angeles and San Francisco, California.
You know Power over Ethernet as the cabling technology used in information technology that transmits both data and power using a standard Ethernet cable. PoE gives users the ability to deploy powered devices at any location, regardless if electrical outlets are present. It is this characteristic that makes Ethernet the ideal default cabling medium that will connect the smart building of the future.
One of the main advantages in utilizing Ethernet as the main cabling technology is its ability to give each connected device its own IP address. Utilizing the universal cabling medium simplifies the management, configuration and maintenance of the connected devices. With Ethernet, network administrators and system integrators can rely on the universal language of TCP/IP to troubleshoot devices helping maintain operational costs low.
Leveraging the Simplicity of PoE for Smart Buildings
Siemon ConvergeIt, a network cabling solutions provider, has released a demonstration video showcasing how Ethernet can power the ecosystem of a smart building. With Ethernet, powered devices can rely on Power over Ethernet (PoE) for power. PoE allows system integrators or network administrators to deploy powered devices at any location, regardless if a site is devoid of electrical outlets. PoE also eliminates the need to add new electrical power outlets in a building which requires professional installation and conduit permits. PoE can deliver power to low-voltage devices, up to 30 watts of power under the current highest-powered standard, 802.3at. However, IEEE currently has a new PoE standard in the works, 802.3bt, that will deliver between 60-100 watts of power. Though the standard is expected to finalize in 2017, there are many 802.3bt readily available for customers seeking greater power output. Visit our sister site, PlanetechUSA to view our full suite of 802.3bt Ultra PoE networking gear. 802.3bt utilizes all four twisted copper wire pairs to deliver power and data.
With Ethernet, smart building installations can utilize a single cabling medium and utilize PoE to power wireless access points, IP surveillance cameras, VoIP networks, PoE lighting, thin clients, and mobile clients for example. These powered devices rely on switches or other similar power sourcing equipment (PSE) to receive low-voltage power. Switches are particularly adept at converting AC to DC power and they provide less power loss than when using traditional electricity. These units offer a centralized management location that facilitates the troubleshooting of powered devices.
In addition, utilizing Ethernet as the main cabling medium simplifies the notion of transforming a traditional building into a smart building. Though there are a myriad of smart devices designed for smart buildings, utilizing Ethernet eliminates the need to settle on one particular connectivity standard. Enterprises can re-use their existing network switches to power a PoE Lighting system for example.
Smart buildings combine energy efficiency and technological innovation to create a dynamic networking environment of interconnected devices that offer remote control. Higher-end/higher-tier smart buildings support smart devices that can communicate with other devices without the need for human input. With Ethernet, many of the components that communicate with the internet gives users the ability to customize their preferred settings via an app.
The Edge—A Smart, Sustainable Smart Building
The Edge, a smart building located in Amsterdam, exemplifies this type of technological innovation. Touted as the greenest and smartest smart building, the smart building reuses rain water to flush toilets and to irrigate plants. It also features an atrium to make use of natural sunlight. The building received a 98% BREEAM score, a benchmark that attests to its sustainability. Furthermore, the Edge gives its office workers the ability to customize lighting and other HVAC (Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning) components via an app. The building uses a concept known as “hot desking”, a seating arrangement where workers don’t have any pre-assigned seats. With PoE lighting, office workers can utilize the app to see vacant seating areas.
Instead of having these components operate independently, The Edge exemplifies a modern smart building that integrates components such as Lighting, HVAC Systems, access control and other smart devices into a dynamic ecosystem that inform each other. The edge integrates technology from the moment an employee enters the building. A camera will identify a member’s license plate to permit access the building’s parking. Towel dispensers in bathrooms for example, notify janitors when bathrooms are experiencing particularly heavy traffic. In addition, because the Edge comes with PoE lighting with occupancy sensors, the smart building knows which rooms have remained unused and can be skipped for cleaning.
PoE Lighting— The Future of Smart Lighting
Power over Ethernet can be used to power LED systems such as a Phillips’s Light over Ethernet (LoE) Led systems. Many LED lights powered by PoE also integrate sensors to better monitor the usage of a room. An occupancy sensor for example, can be programmed to collect historical usage data and even notify cleaning personnel when to skip cleaning un-unsed rooms. Office workers can also utilize the app to find their colleagues, remind the espresso machine of their preferred settings, pair their smart phones with LCD monitors, and even order their favorite meals from the building’s cafeteria. To learn more about how PoE lighting works, click here!
In 1973, Robert Metcalfe wrote a memo that would serve as the founding concepts for the technology that we now know as Ethernet. Xerox Parc assigned Robert Metcalfe with the task of connecting a group of personal computers to a printer. Along with his co-inventor David Boggs, Robert Metcalfe invented the cabling technology that would transform a computer from a static workstation to a dynamic host that could communicate with other computers. It was not until 1979 that IEEE fully standardized the 802.3 Ethernet standard. The first 802.3 Ethernet standard specified for 10 Mbps using coaxial cabling (known as thicknet) but twisted copper pairs proved more efficient and quickly replaced coaxial cabling.
But Ethernet’s versatility has far outgrown its original use-case. Ethernet is more than twisted pair copper terminated with an RJ45 connector. The Ethernet Alliance defines Ethernet as a wired technology that supports a variety of media/medium including backplanes, twisted pair, twinax, multimode fiber and single-mode fiber [2016EthernetRoadMap.pdf]. These additional iterations enable Ethernet to provide speeds beyond the traditional 1 Gigabit rates that end-users are traditionally familiar with. Ethernet can deliver terabit speeds to Metropolitan Area Networks (MANs) as well as core networks such as hyperscale datacenters.
This rare footage, now part of the Computer History Museum, showcases an early advertisement showcasing Ethernet. (Note the lack of an RJ45 connector!) Xerox’s advertisement envisions Ethernet as the panacea to data information overload (little did they know it would only augment it). But it was its inventor, Bob Metcalfe’s, entrepreneurial grit (not Xerox) that established Ethernet as the plumbing pipes of the Internet.
Copyright Owner © Computer History Museum
IEEE’s Pursuit of Slower Ethernet Speeds
Since the original 802.3 Ethernet standard, IEEE has introduced new Ethernet standards that have steadily increased data transmission rates. However, in recent years, not all new Ethernet standards will guarantee higher transmission rates. Study groups have formed around proposed Ethernet standards that do not necessarily operate faster than existing standards. Ethernet standards are following a non-linear evolution that pursues both faster and slower speeds than existing standards. For example, after having finalized the standardization of 40 gigabit Ethernet(GbE) in 2010, network equipment manufacturers formed a consortium around 25 gigabit Ethernet (GbE) in 2015 to show IEEE their growing interest in a slower standard than the already available 40GbE. Hyperscale data centers with top-of-rack switches have outgrown 10GbE. But at the same time, upgrading to 40GbE represents a hefty investment. 25Gbe would provide a cost-effective alternative that would allow cloud providers to make a cost-effective (and scaleable) upgrade that will help them keep up with the growing demand in cloud computing.
The pursuit of multigigabit Ethernet standards also demonstrates a new divergent trend that showcases its non-linear evolution. IEEE is expected to pursue 2.5GbE and 5GbE, also known as multigigabit Ethernet, in response to the release of the 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard. 802.11ac wireless access points can deliver nearly 7 Gbps rates in optimal networking conditions. As Wireless Access Networks (WANs) continue to provide increasingly faster rates, they concurrently drive the demand towards faster wiring infrastructures in Local Area Network’s (LANs).
IEEE’s Pursuit of Faster Ethernet Speeds
Nonetheless, IEEE is also continuing to pursue incrementally faster Ethernet rates as well. Upcoming terabit speeds include 400 GbE and 200 GBE whose estimated standardization is expected to finalize in 2017 and 2018 respectively. Former President of the Ethernet Alliance, Scott Kipp, forecasts that the “200GbE [will be] applicable to the low cost/ high volume switch market while 400GbE will be suited for the high cost/low volume router market.” These terabit speeds will not only be used in hyperscale data centers, but also in a variety of Metropolitan Area Networks (MANs) including Internet exchange points, telecommunications companies, cable TV companies, and content delivery networks (CDN).
In regards to POE, IEEE has continued pushing towards standards that increase power output. PoE is a technology that can simultaneously transmit Power and data. This gives network administrators the ability to deploy powered devices such as IP surveillance without having to rely on additional power sources. For more in-depth information about PoE click here. Be sure to check out our timeline of PoE standards here.
Why is Power over Ethernet (PoE) far from reaching market saturation levels?
Power over Ethernet has evolved since its inception in 2002. IEEE has introduced PoE standards with increasingly higher power outputs to account for the evolving use-case scenarios for PoE. But even though the technology has been around for over a decade, PoE has not quite yet achieved market saturation. PoE use-cases are evolving beyond common computer networking applications. Early in its introduction, PoE port growth was driven by VoIP (Voice-over-IP Phones) installations. IP surveillance cameras also contributed to the growth of PoE. As the utility of PoE technology expands beyond common networking applications, Leviton predicts that PoE will experience similar growth rates that were originally seen after its introduction in 2003. A recent Dell Oro presentation confirms the forecast, attributing the growth of PoE port shipments to future PoE lighting installations. Click here to learn more about PoE lighting.
The continuing evolution of PoE use-cases along with IEEE’s standardization of higher power upgrades will continue to fuel the growth of PoE.
What is PoE?
PoE simplifies network installations by delivering both power and data via a standard networking cable. Another factor contributing to PoE’s appeal is cost-effectiveness. PoE remains unencumbered with the strict conduit regulations associated with installing electrical circuitry. PoE allows network installers and system integrators to utilize the same wiring cable to deliver power and data to sites that lack access to electrical outlets. For example, PoE makes it possible to deploy a powered device (PD) such as an IP camera in a warehouse without electrical outlets. With PoE, remote power provisioning becomes as simple as connecting a PoE-capable powered device (PD) to a switch using a standard networking cable.
A Timeline of PoE’s Evolution
The following depicts the evolution of PoE standards since its introduction in 2002.
The Evolution of PoE Standards:
- 2002 marked IEEE’s introduction of the 802.3af standard which specified 15.4W of DC power using 10BASE-T and 100BASE-T. The standard utilized only two of the four twisted pairs in Category 3 Ethernet or higher.
- 2009 marked IEEE’s introduction of 802.3at or PoE+ which specified for 30W of power. The standard also introduced 1000Base-T Gigabit Ethernet over CAT 5 and 6. Similar to 802.3af, the new standard also only utilized two out of the four copper pairs to transmit power. Compliant PoE+ power sourcing equipment features backwards compatibility and can power 802.3af powered devices, as well as devices that require less power than 15 W.
- 2011 saw the emergence of a new high-wattage PoE solution known as Universal Power over Ethernet (UPOE) by Cisco. Cisco’s proprietary technology utilizes four copper cables to transmit 60W of power.
- 2012 introduced Power over HDBaseT (PoH). Even though the standard is capable of delivering 100W of power using all four pairs of Cat5e or Cat6 cable, it is based on the 802.3at standard. HDBASE-T simplifies the connection of television media hubs with its ability to transmit video, audio, power and 100 Mbps Fast Ethernet. The Power over HDBaseT (PoH) was standardized by the HDBaseT Alliance.
- 2013 introduced IEEE’s official study group for 802.3bt, a high-wattage PoE solution that promises to deliver between 60-100W of power. 802.3bt can introduce new use-cases for banking, financial, healthcare, and retail sectors. Official standardization is expected to finalize in 2017.
- 2016 After the official standardization of 802.3bw 100-BASET1 Ethernet for automotive usage, David Law, chair of the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet Working Group, announced the intention to specify a Power over Ethernet (PoE) via automobile Ethernet in the future. Click here to learn more about the new 802.3bw standard.
PoE simplifies the deployment of powered devices such as IP surveillance cameras in locations that lack convenient access to electrical circuitry. Click here for a more in-depth overview of PoE.
Want to experience the simplicity of PoE? Click on the link below to overview our PoE equipment.
802.11acintroduced gigabit speeds to the 802.11 body of Wi-Fi standards, but the Wi-Fi alliance has already begun exploring 802.11ax, a follow-up standard that is promising to deliver double-digit gigabit speeds. The new standard is led by Huawei and the Wi-Fi Alliance. Huawei has reportedly achieved 1.5 Gbps speeds using the 5 GHZ frequency band in laboratory settings. Market Wired estimates more conservative figures predicting real-world 802.11ax speeds to surmount to 2 Gbps. FierceWireless anticipates that “the speed would not necessarily be delivered to an individual smartphone or tablet, but it does set the stage for possible gigabit speeds direct to devices.”
Multi-Carrier Support with OFDMA
The new speed is not expected to achieve official ratification until 2019. 802.11ax will utilize the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency currently in use, but FierceWireless also predicts the possibility of utilizing 1 GHz and 6 GHz. 802.11ax will also utilize a MIMO-OFDMA (Multi Input Multiple Output Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access). In contrast to 802.11ac’s OFDM (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing) where each subcarrier is reserved for one user, OFDMA (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access) has the capacity of supporting multiple users per subcarrier. Both 802.11ac’s OFDM and 802.11ax’s OFDMA rely on an orthogonal signal structure that turns signals in right angles to allow for a closer stacking of the signals and allow for a simple de-multiplexing as explained by Extremetech. However, unlike OFDM, OFDMA can talk with multiple stations simultaneously. Chuck Lukaszewski, Vice President of Wireless Standards and Strategy at Hewlett-Packard Enterprise has confirmed that both OFDMA and MIMO will be able to support bi-directional downlink and uplink transmission.
802.11ax Will Make Multi-Gigabit Ethernet Essential
802.11ax will continue to preserve backwards compatibility with older 802.11 models. These faster Wi-Fi standards will put a strain on Gigabit Ethernet and will continue to drive the demand for 2.5 Gb and 5 Gb Ethernet, also known as Multi-Gigabit Ethernet. The MGBASE-T Alliance and NBASE-T alliance have worked together to drive the finalization of Multi-gigabit Ethernet. Multigigabit Ethernet, known as IEEE’s 802.3bz study group is expected to finalize in 2016. Click here to learn more about the 802.3bz standards and the alliances driving the development of the standard.
Current customers have access to 1000BASE-T Ethernet as well as 10GBASE-T using CAT6A cable wiring. Even 802.11ac Wave 2 adopters need to update their infrastructures to be able to properly achieve the high-speed rates of 802.11ac.
Looking for 802.11ac Wireless Access Points? Click on the link below!
- Preparing for the 2nd Wave of 802.11ac
- Experience 802.11ac Speeds with the MZZ344HV Dual Band WAP
- Experience Our High-Speed VX-AP1AC 802.11ac Outdoor Wireless Unit
Did you miss the Ethernet Alliance’s Analyst Hour on Power over Ethernet? The Ethernet Alliance’s webinar discussed the outlook of the industry and future factors that will drive PoE growth. Keep reading to catch up on the latest market research conducted by the Dell’Oro Group for insight on the PoE industry.
Who is the Dell’Oro Group?
The Dell’Oro Group specializes in providing market research for the telecommunications, network and data center market segments to keep businesses informed about the industry.
What is driving the growth of the PoE industry?
IEEE has reported that PoE is “growing well beyond shipments of 100M ports per year” and the webinar noted that the figure will continue to increase with the growing adoption of 802.11ac Wireless Access Points (WAP) and the popularization of PoE lighting.
What role do Ethernet switches have in the PoE ecosystem?
Alan Weck overviews the role that Ethernet switches have in the PoE ecosystem and notes that users are increasingly relying on WLAN (wireless local area network) as opposed to wired connections to connect to the internet. Alan Weck notes that Ethernet switching has evolved “from a role of user connectivity to one of infrastructure”. As the 802.11 Wi-Fi standards continue to improve, wireless connection performance will begin to rival the speeds of wired connections. This has become a dominant trend in mobile computing where users choose wireless connections over a wired connection. Faster WLANs will increase the demand for the adoption of faster wireless access point, and this, in turn, will increase the demand for faster Ethernet speeds beyond the current 1 GB rate.
What is the main factor influencing faster Ethernet speeds?
As users become increasingly mobile and rely on WLAN (Wireless Local Area Networks) to access the Internet, the demand for faster wireless access points (WAPs) will continue to increase. 802.11ax, the pre-standard faster than the current 802.11ac standard, is expected to arrive in 2019. The new pre-standard promises to deliver up to 10 Gbps rates. The improvement of wireless access points will push towards the adoption of 2.5 GB and 5 GB in the future. Alan Weck discusses that one of the main factors hindering the adoption of these two relatively new Ethernet rates are cost. But WLANs will continue to grow and place faster bandwidth demands on the backhaul of networks.
How will IoT influence PoE Port Growth?
When it comes to PoE port growth, Dell’Oro found that in terms of the Internet of Things (IoT), PoE lighting is the only sector expected to substantially fuel PoE growth. PoE lighting allows users to deploy low-powered LED lights using Power over Ethernet. This simplifies the deployment of lighting installation and removes the need for professional electrical installers and expensive electrical permits. To read more about the benefits of PoE lighting, click here.
What can threaten the growth of PoE lighting?
One of the main advantages that can fuel PoE lighting is the lack of legal permits needed to deploy a network. But a high volume of PoE lighting deployments running at full output power can potentially make for a fire hazard. Even though the scenario represents an extreme example, the analysts discussed the possible effects of regulation and how that would discourage new adopters.
The market penetration of PoE lighting can unintentionally encumber traditional Ethernet deployment once regulation enters the picture. Alan Wecker discussed that “Lighting and building infrastructure is highly regulated. Traditional Ethernet is ubiquitous and cannot be burdened with regulation. If everything in Ethernet gets regulated because of this use case, many other use cases will look for alternatives outside the Ethernet ecosystem.”
PoE is Awaiting the standardization of 802.3bt. How does the pending standard affect the Ethernet ecosystem?
Though regulation is highly unlikely with current PoE standards, PoE is awaiting the standardization of the 802.3bt standard. The new standard promises to deliver up to 100 watts per PoE port. Power Sourcing Equipment that supports these new ultra PoE power levels justifies the fledgling concern for possible future regulation demands for the wiring technology.
PoE is currently a cost-effective alternative to installing new electrical circuitry. It allows network administrators to deploy PoE in locations without the expense of electrical conduit permits. Regulation would only hinder the growth of PoE port shipments and discourage prospective PoE lighting customers from adopting the Ethernet ecosystem.
Other PoE market forecasts:
Alan Weck mentioned a couple other market observations in relation to switches. The market for Fast Ethernet switches will continue to decline. In addition, the bulk of the market will consist of 1 Gigabit Ethernet units while the 40 GB market will continue to decrease. The following diagram also includes market projections for 25/50/100 GB Ethernet and 2.5/5/10 Gigabit Ethernet units.
Will IP telephones or VoIP phones impact PoE port growth?
IP Desk phones, as noted by Alan Weck, drove PoE port growth before 2008. With the introduction of instant messaging platforms and social media, experts predicted a sharp decline in the Enterprise IP Telephony market share. However, Dell Oro’s findings report neither a growth nor decline in IP Telephony.
Do these market forecasts include automobile Ethernet?
Unfortunately, these market forecasts do not include automobile Ethernet. Automobile Ethernet will be considered an entire breed of its own. IEEE recently introduced 802.3bw standard, which “specifies 100BASE-T- 100Mbps over a single twisted pair for automobile applications”. Click here to find out more about 802.3bw.
Sign Up for Our Newsletter
Subscribe to our newsletter to receive new product notifications, deals, and offers!
Google Fiber just announced that it will give low-income families in Kansas City, the opportunity to receive symmetrical 25 Mbps broadband services for $15/month. 25 Mbps just happens to meet FCC’s recently raised minimum broadband threshold. Internet service offerings below the 25 Mbps rate do not qualify as broadband. Kansas City residents also have the option of receiving 100 Mbps service packages for $50/month. Google Fiber also offers a 1Gbps service option and even a television service package.
Google Fiber is a Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) service currently deployed in Kansas City, as well as other cities including Provo, Utah and Austin, Texas. The announcement as noted by Fierce Telecom, comes shortly after Google Fiber announced that it will no longer be providing free 5 Mbps services.
The service will become available on May 19 and the best part about it for customers is that Google does not require them to sign up for contracts. Customers who do cancel their service are held responsible for returning their equipment no later than 21 days or Google will charge them for replacement fees. Prospective customers in the area can input their address on Google’s Website to verify if they qualify for Google Fiber services.
Why does Kansas City get to have Google Fiber?
Google opened its applications for Google Fiber in 2010 and collected a pool of nearly 1,100 interested communities. Kansas City boasts a population of approximately 2,428,362 and the lucky city got chosen to receive the enviable fiber service packages. Milo Media, Google’s Vice President of Access Services comments that Kansas City was chosen due to the company’s perceived ability to be able to build “quickly and efficiently”. Fiber deployment is an intrusive medium to deploy in communities, and a large part of the reason that Kansas City was chosen was due to the city’s promise to Google that it would stay out of the way. Forbes comments that “the city officials promised to get out of the media giant’s way. They didn’t dangle tax breaks, but they did deliver access to public rights of way, expedite the permitting process, offer space in city facilities and provide assistance with marketing and public relations.” The city’s agreement to not interfere with Google’s Fiber deployment played a key role. Click here to learn more about how Google Fiber seems to be choosing the cities for their Google Fiber rollout.
Google Fiber as an access provider seems like a dream to consumers with its killer broadband speeds at affordable rates. Google Fiber service packages make it difficult for local telecom providers to offer competitive service packages. But it’s also stimulating Fiber cable deployment. CNN notes that when Google Fiber launched its service available for the residents of Austin Texas, AT&T announced its intention to build a gigabit network in the city shortly after.
When it comes to power, there’s no company that comes close to the amount of power it has on its users with such a monopoly on their personal data. But Google’s innovation seems to be ethically grounded with its many seemingly unrelated but innovative side projects such as the self-driving car and Google Loon—a project that grants Internet access to remote regions of the world. But Elon Musk is another ethical company that’s exploring new ways to bring affordable internet to the masses using microsatellites. Click here to learn more about how Elon Musk plans to bring “Unfettered internet access for the masses” at a very low cost”.
Power over Ethernet (PoE) is known for its simultaneous transmission of power and data using twisted pair copper, but will the search for faster speed rates influence the separation of data and power?
New Powered Fiber Cable System (PFCS) solutions introduce a new breed of PoE extension. The solution utilizes a powered fiber cable that insulates fiber and copper separately and assigns copper with one sole purpose—to transmit power.
Understanding PoE’s 100 Meter Limitation
Each new 802.3 PoE standard tends to introduce higher power outputs. IEEE’s initial 802.3af PoE standard introduced compliance for 15 watts of power (12.95 with power dissipation). The standard was followed by 802.3at, also known as PoE+, and introduced compliance for 30 watts of power (25.4 watts of power). IEEE is currently studying 802.3bt, also known as PoE ++, a new standard that aims to provide up to 80 watts of power by using all four twisted copper pairs to transmit data and power. But though new standards seem to be improving upon output power, each new standard fails to improve the maximum supported distance of 100 meters—the standard Ethernet limitation.
Copper has the ability to transmit power to longer distances; however, the range of PoE is limited by copper’s inability to transmit data to ranges that exceed 100 meters. Optical fiber can transmit up to 100 Terabits per seconds. Copper cables are able to transmit gigabit speeds and up to 10 Gbps with newer networking cables such as Cat6 and Cat7. For the time being, 10 Gbps transfer speeds are sufficient for even the most data-hungry Internet users. Nonetheless, optical fiber easily surpasses 100 meter distances. Fiber cable systems with new powered fiber cables can achieve up to 3,000 meters.
Approximating Power over Fiber
Commscope has designed a new powered fiber cable that insulates the optical fiber cable and copper wire within their own separate jackets. The new design deviates from traditional hybrid optical fiber cables that insulate both types of mediums within the same jacket. Network installers can easily peel the cables apart for quick access. The new cabling requires no other special tools besides a wire stripper. These new types of powered fiber cables are quite flexible in comparison to traditional hybrid fiber cables.
Though the solution can’t exactly be described as Power over Fiber, the optical fiber and copper cabling run alongside each other and leverages the same benefit that PoE provides—the ability to deploy powered devices at any location without having to rely on local power supplies.
The ability to install devices without relying on local power supplies, along with its simple ‘plug-and-play’ installation, makes PoE an essential component of networking topologies. But PoE faces a standard 100 meter limitation which forces network administrators to rely on additional equipment such as PoE extenders and media converters to extend network connections beyond Ethernet’s standard 100 meter limitation.
This new breed of PoE extenders will eliminate the need for additional extender kits and simplify network connections.
Leveraging the Power of Copper and Fiber—Separately
Electrical Engineer Bill Schweber observes that the effectiveness of powered fiber systems stems from separating optical fiber and copper. He remarks that the simultaneous transmission of power and data in standard networking cables “require significant “negotiation” and confirmation between the source and load, between intervening ICs and, in order to assure that power is available and acceptable by a peripheral, that there are no conflicts in hardware or software.” Powered fiber cable systems eliminate power negotiations and reserves optical fiber for data transmission and copper wiring for power transmission.
The electrical engineer comments that “PFCS [Powered Fiber Cable Systems] seems to me to be a clever scheme, since it leverages the advantages of each medium (optical+copper, PoE) without either one getting in the way of the other one, and the associated complexity.” Schweber concludes “that by using the long run of copper just for power and not for data, the technical difficulties will be reduced while the performance will be more consistent and easier to manage”. Separating data and power allows copper to deliver power output ranges that exceed the current 802.3at standard of 30 watts. And optical fiber speeds will be able to deliver transmission speeds that surpass 10Gbps to future powered devices.
Additional Benefits of Powered Fiber Cable Systems
According to Aruba Networks, Powered Fiber Cable Systems “Greatly speed up planning by eliminating DC electrical calculations for voltage/power drop over varying distances”. These devices can support up to 32 devices from a centrally located USPs. Powered Fiber Cable Systems essentially operate similar to long extension cords.
It’s highly unlikely that IEEE will divorce Power from Data when it comes to PoE. PoE is ideal for home and enterprise networks, even with a 100 meter Ethernet limitation. And in the cases where powered devices need to be installed beyond 100 meters, there are a myriad of PoE extender options such as fiber media extenders, UTP Ethernet Extenders, and coaxial cable extenders for example, that effectively bypass the limited distance and preserve speed.
Click here to view our interactive infographic explaining the top methods used to extend Ethernet.
We’ve compiled a list of the most commonly asked questions about VDSL & VDSL2. If you’re interested in learning more about ADSL and ADSL2+, visit our ADSLs/2+ FAQ here.
1. What is VDSL/VDSL2?
VDSL, or Very-High-Bit-Rate Digital Subscriber line, allows Internet Service Providers to provide fast connection speeds via legacy copper lines. VDSL and VDSL2 can provide faster broadband performance when compared to ADSL/2+ up to approximately 1.5km distances. After 1.5 km distances, VDSL2 exhibits performance rates comparable to ADSL2+.
2. How fast is VDSL in comparison to VDSL2?
VDSL speeds vary depending on copper loop lengths and other factors in a networking environment. Pair-bonding is another factor that influences VDSL speeds. VDSL can support downstream and upstream rates of 100 Mbps. VDSL2 on the other hand, can reach theoretic downstream and upstream data rates of up to 200 Mbps at its source. VDSL2 also supports a wider frequency range of 30 MHz in comparison to VDSL’s 12 Mhz frequency range. Both VDSL generations quickly deteriorate after certain distances. At 1 km, both VDSL versions begin to exhibit similar speeds. At approximately 1.6 km, VDSL performance becomes comparable to ADSL2+.
3. What is the farthest distance VDSL2 can reach?
The maximum range for VDSL2 is approximately 1,200 meters. After approximately 1600 meters, VDSL2’s performance quickly deteriorates yielding speeds comparable to ADSL2+.
4. How does VDSL2 achieve higher data rates than VDSL and ADSL2/2+?
Copper loop lines are susceptible to signal attenuation and copper loop lengths which limit fast transmission speeds. To achieve data rates over 100 Mbps, VDSL2 relies on port-bonding and vectoring.
5. What is pair-bonding?
VDSL2 supports the capability of bonding two or more twisted copper pairs to increase banding. But pair-bonding also functions to extend the reach of a copper network. Two DSL Line circuits that connect to a customer’s modem can be bonded. Or as explained by Ospmag, pair-bonding requires 2 VDSL2 lines which “can be combined into a “virtual “gig pipe” that allows operators to double the bitrate for existing subscribers.”
Pair-bonding can be compared to adding more lanes to a freeway so that it can support more traffic. This enables Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to offer different data rate packages to subscribers.
6. What is VDSL2 Vectoring?
VDSL2 uses vectoring to remove crosstalk and interference reduces actual performance. VDSL2 measures crosstalk from all lines in a network and applies anti-phase signals to cancel out noise. VDSL2 vectoring works in similar fashion to noise-cancelling headphones. Crosstalk allows VDSL2 speeds to achieve longer distances than VDSL. Assia Inc. specifies that “Vectored VDSL is most suitable for deployment from a node, and is the most economical in terms of required capital expenditure.”
7. What is the purpose of the different VDSL2 profiles?
VDSL2 supports 8 distinct “profiles” with varying maximum downstream and upstream throughput as well as different bandwidth frequencies and transceiver power.
Different profiles are optimal for different deployment scenarios.
For example, profiles 8a-8b and 12a-12b are ideal for Fiber to the Node (FTTN) deployments. Profiles 17a can be used for Fiber to the Cabinet (FTTCAB), and Fiber to the Building (FTTB) can utilize profile 30a.
8. Do you recommend using 2 different VDSL2 profiles on distinct modems connected to a DSLAM?
Having a cable bundle consisting of 2 or more VDSL2 profiles will exhibit intermittent sync, port status errors and poor performance. The 30a profile will run on 30 Mhz while the 17a profile will run on 17Mhz. The 30a profile can “bleed” over to the 17a profile. Many chipset manufactures such as Broadcom have stepped away from VDSL2 30a due to this very reason.
Our recommendation is to force all subscriber interfaces to sync at 17a if you have modems that do not support 30a. Users shouldn’t have an issue if all ports are synced on the same VDSL2 profile.
9. Are VDSL2/2+ units compatible with previous versions of VDSL2?
VDSL2 units are backwards compatible with VDSL Units. When a VDSL2 unit is connected to a compatible VDSL unit, VDSL2 bandwidth will revert to VDSL’s maximum supported 12Mhz frequency range.
10. Are there faster DSL technologies than VDSL2?
Yes! G.Fast is a standard still in development that has shown the ability to transmit gigabit speeds using legacy copper lines in laboratory settings. Openreach, the dominant telecom provider in the UK, is spearheading the new technology, deploying trial runs to determine if the new technology is commercially viable. However, G.Fast, like VDSL, is only effective in deployments where customer premises reside near cabinets.
To learn more about G.Fast, click here.
Take Our Poll!
If we were to roll out a new G.Fast DSLAM, how many ports would it ideally support?
- The 11 Most Frequently Asked Questions About ADSL2 & ADSL2+ Answered
- A Quick Guide to 6 xDSL Technologies in Use Today
- Different xDSL Equipment Overview
Last year, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler redefined broadband, raising the qualifying speeds from 4 Mbps DS/ 1 Mbps US to 25 Mbps DS/ 3Mbps US. This new standard toppled the once promising statistic that upheld that “99% percent of Americans had access to broadband speeds”. The FCC’s new definition spawned a new statistic that revealed that “two-thirds of U.S. households, lack the choice of more than one ISP at speeds of 25 Mbps or greater”. These new figures expose the grave state of the internet in rural areas that have a low subscriber density—a market segment that telecoms choose to ignore due to a low return of investments.
Republican Senators Fred Upton and Greg Walden recently issued a letter to the FCC protesting that the FCC is overstepping their domain of authority. The letter protests that the FCC’s goals are too vague for telecoms to effectively address. The senators dispute that 25 Mbps appears like an arbitrary figure and challenges the FCC to justify the new minimum threshold—citing that Netflix and Amazon merely recommend 5 Mbps for their streaming services.
Tech Dirt construes that the “senators don’t really care about technical specifics [and that] they’re just blindly echoing the broadband industry’s annoyance that the FCC is now actually highlighting the lack of broadband competition in the market.”
Why Telecom Monopolies Form In Rural Areas
Telecom companies are more likely to form regional monopolies in areas that have low subscriber densities. Many phone companies like Verizon, are attempting to shed their DSL lines and oftentimes sell their wireline liabilities to smaller telecom companies. Verizon recently sold its wireline properties in California, Texas, and Florida to Frontier Communications. But when service providers withdraw their DSL services altogether, local subscribers are left with no choice but to subscribe to their local cable carriers and accept the Internet Service Packages (ISPs) that they’re offered. Telephone companies have also been accused of allowing their copper cables to deteriorate in an effort to justify replacing them with fiber.
In response, the FCC’s Connect America Fund incentivizes Telecom companies to pursue less profitable market segments such as rural areas. These funds aim to “accelerate broadband build-out to the approximately 23 million Americans who lack access to infrastructure capable of providing 10/1 Mbps fixed broadband.”
America’s high-speed broadband lags behind in countries such as South Korea, boasting average broadband connection speeds of 20.5 Mbps, and Sweden which averages connection speeds of 17.4 Mbps. Even though these areas are geographically smaller in comparison to the U.S., the annual Broadband Access Report reveals that a jaw-dropping 20% of Americans still don’t have access to broadband as defined by the FCC.
Is 25 Mbps Realistic?
But ISPs cause for concern is also due to DSL’s inability to consistently yield 25 Mbps. DSL speeds vary upon several factors including distance, the quality of copper cables, the type of xDSL technology used, and unique noise environments. VDSL2 and ADSL2 connections are cost-effective solutions for ISPs, especially for rural areas that may only have a handful of subscribers. But it’s difficult for VDSL2 and ADSL2 lines to reliably achieve the new broadband rates. ADSL2 can yield speeds of 25 Mbps at its source but speeds begin to attenuate after the first kilometer. VDSL2 technology on the other hand, can yield speeds of up to 100 mbps at its source but exhibits the same performance as ADSL2+ after the first 2 kilometers. In order to properly fulfill the new standards, it would entail ISPs to deploy fiber in these areas. It’s not difficult to see why ISPs are fighting back. It would not make economical sense to deploy fiber in areas that only have a handful of subscribers.
But Why Associate the Internet with Egalitarianism?
In an effort to improve the state of the Internet, the Connect America Fund aims to bring reform that “will not only drive economic growth in rural America, but will expand the online marketplace nationwide, creating jobs and businesses opportunities across the country”.
The Internet has become a treasure trove of educational content and economic opportunities and gubernatorial action is necessary to close the connectivity gap between urban and rural areas.
Former Hewlett Packard CEO and former presidential candidate Carly Fiorina has been known to voice her belief that: “technology is the great leveler. Technology permits anybody to play. And in some ways, I think technology- is not only a great tool for democratization, but it’s a great tool for eliminating prejudice and advancing meritocracies.”
The FCC itself has experienced the ramifications of political action taken in cyberspace firsthand. When John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight brought to light the battle for net neutrality to viewers, he beseeched them to take to the FCC’s forums to protest the new regulations that would allow ISPs to reserve faster Internet lanes to higher-paying customers. 22,000 obedient supporters flocked to the forums and even crashed the FCC’s servers with to the high volume of visitors. The ‘Internet Slowdown Day’ virtual protest, was another pivotal event that showcased the power of a virtual protest.
Take Our Poll!
Do you think the new 25 Mbps standards is fair for ISPs?
Read “What Net Neutrality Really Taught Us about Political Power and Technology” to learn more about the political efficacy of virtual protests.