Going the Distance
Increasing Your Power Over the Network
- By Ronnie Pennington
- Oct 06, 2020
Networked devices have made all the difference in
giving security and communication systems far
more ubiquity, capabilities, and performance than
anyone could have dreamed of when the IP was invented
in 1974. By the late 1980s, IP standards had
improved to the point that devices could be reliably connected over
distances up to 328 feet using Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) cables
– and these cables could also carry power in the form of PoE (Power
Over Ethernet), allowing for cost-efficient system installations with
only a minimal need for electricians. To really deliver on the promises
of the rapidly developing network technologies, however, fast and reliable
connectivity was needed that could span even greater distances.
Today, the combination of upgraded PoE standards that allow
for increased power levels and composite cables that include
both copper conductors and fiber optics has revolutionized the
breadth of potential system deployments while delivering higher
performance and controlling installation costs.
KEY ENABLING TECHNOLOGIES
his revolution in networked security and communication
system deployment distances depends on the combined effect of
three key technologies:
Increased power over network cabling. The first PoE standard
(802.3af) only provided for up to 12.95 watts of useable power at
the end of a 328-foot cable run, but it was a breakthrough that
allowed for “single cable installations” of networked devices. The
newest IEEE PoE standard (802.3bt) increases the maximum
power to 90 watts over standard network cabling, supporting the
use of higher-powered devices, and importantly, greater distances
to the powered devices.
The higher wattage available in the newest PoE standard also
means that a single cable connection can provide enough power
to energize a remote power source to support one or more networked
devices. New solutions like Tango from Altronix delivers
12VDC and 24VDC simultaneously to power access control and
security devices from any 802.3bt PoE Source using a CAT-6 or
higher cable. This provides tremendous savings by leveraging lowvoltage
installation methods, eliminating the need for an electrician
and dedicated conduit and wire runs.
EXTENDED DATA TRANSMISSION
DISTANCES WITH FIBER
To break through the 328-foot limitation for UTP data transmission,
manufacturers turned to fiber optic cables. Optical fibers
are ideal for high bandwidth distributed systems because of their
extensive data-carrying capabilities and low losses that allow for
transmission distances measured in meters/kilometers. As an
added benefit, fiber cable systems are immune to some of the issues
that plague copper transmission systems.
Every networked device requires both power and IP data connectivity.
Composite copper/fiber cables are an elegant solution
that maximizes connectivity options and future use potential
while minimizing installation costs and complexity. A wide range
of standard and custom types are available to meet specific current
needs while often including extra unused (“dark”) fiber conductors
(either single-mode or multi-mode) to provide for future
growth or evolving technologies.
New data transmission solutions like Altronix’s new NetWay
Spectrum Fiber/Ethernet Solutions take fiber and power to a new
level. These units can be deployed with conventional single or
multi-mode fiber, as well as composite cable that combines fiber
with power to simultaneously deliver both, power and data.
APPLYING THE BENEFITS OF EXTENDED
In this example, a large sports facility wants to add video surveillance
to improve security awareness of activities over a larger
area, such as the public plazas between the parking areas and the
facility entrances. This system will be separate from the existing
surveillance system that covers the internal areas, and will have
backup power to ensure continuous operation.
Providing surveillance around the outside of a large sports facility
poses a challenge for traditional category Ethernet cabling
such as CAT 6 because of the long transmission distances. The
longstanding alternative, providing power at multiple locations
in the system, along with backup power, would significantly raise
the project costs.
PLANNING REMOTE POE+ AND IP INSTALLATIONS
To plan an installation that takes advantage of these new
power and connectivity methods, system designers will need to
account for these basic parameters.
1. Number and location of planned remote devices.
2. Aggregate PoE requirements for all devices to be centrally powered.
3. Cabling plan – “ring” or point to point.
4. Distance(s) from head-end power to remote IP/PoE switch(es).
5. Environmental Requirements for outdoor devices - waterproof/
dust tight- IP66 rated.
6. If central powered, selection of power supply output (wattage).
7. Number of SFP modules and connections required.
8. Connection to existing IPU.
9. Power backup requirements.
When these factors are collected, designers can make use of
available design tools to calculate the required wire gauges and
other design elements.
New power and data transmission solutions are available to extend
the distance and capacities of all types of
cabling infrastructure. These new remote power
sources, power controllers, power distribution
modules, and other devices support the latest
power and communication protocols.
This article originally appeared in the October 2020 issue of Security Today.