A Floating Fiber Optic Network?

The United States Navy relies upon satellite and other communications systems to make sure ships, planes, and sailors can share information across the Seven Seas. In peacetime, those systems are a given. But what happens in wartime, when satillites are shot down and other forms of comms are jammed or otherwise disrupted?

That’s a very good question. The United States, NATO, and other key allies rely to a tremendous extent on satellite communications—which makes those satellites target No. 1 in a future war.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is developing a solution: TUNA. TUNA stands for Tactical Underwater Network Architecture, a portable, temporary communications network made up of floating communications buoys linked by fiber optic cable.

Here’s how it would work. In the event of communications failure over a broad area, aircraft and ships would unload a series of TUNA buoys at sea. Each buoy consists of a radio frequency transmitter and power system. The buoys are connected by a “hair-thin, buoyant” fiber optic cable that can carry a tremendous amount of data and survive the harshness of the open ocean for at least thirty days—hopefully enough time to get primary communications restored.

Think of the system as laying a series of telephone poles across the surface of the ocean, a secure, hardwired system impossible to jam. While an adversary could theoretically tap the fiber optic lines and listen in, looking for a hair-thin wire in the middle of the Pacific Ocean would be even harder than looking for a needle in a haystack.

Fiber optic cable, military installation

    Example of fiber optic cable used in underwater military applications.

Individual buoys will likely be powered by WEBS, or Wave Energy Buoy that Self-Deploys. WEBS generates electricity from wave energy and consists of two floats that sit on the surface of the water and are rotated by passing waves. Differential and rotary motion is transferred through gearboxes to electrical generators, providing power.

The TUNA system is entering its final phase of development and is using the Pentagon’s Link 16 as a test subject. Link 16 is a secure digital communications network used by U.S. forces for text, digital imagery and digital voice transmission and reception.

No word on when TUNA will be ready for duty, but it sounds like all of the major engineering milestones have already been achieved.

This was a cool read so I thought I’d share it with you. For the complete article visit Popular Mechanics.

What is the “ER” rating in Tray Cable?

The National Electric Code Sec. 336.10 (7) states that Tray Cables are not to extend more than 6 feet from the tray for a connection to a motor, electrical device or anything else your plugging it into. If you need to make a connection to something that is further than 50 feet it must be either armored, installed in a innerduct or raceway and that not only increases material cost but your labor cost goes up when you start running that cable in that conduit.

6 foot Limit

Many times equipment is a little further away and when that’s the case a Tray Cable with an ER rating may be perfect for your application. The ER rating allows you to extend that cable from the tray with no length restrictions. This will also eliminate that extra cost of metal clad armor, conduit or raceway. The cable does need to be secured every 6 feet.

Here’s an example of a TC-ER cable from our YouTube channel.

Since this cable has no length restrictions, the included direct burial rating, sunlight resistant jacket and extreme temperature rating should handle just about any installation location you throw at it.

If you need to install this cable in a tray, here’s a cool video that may help you with your installation.

For spec sheets, pricing and to order TC-ER cable visit Discount-Low-Voltage.com

Easiest way to cut drywall for those Electrical Boxes

When you need to cut some drywall for an outlet it’s an easy task with a drywall saw. If you need to cut 2 holes per room in a new building and you have 40 rooms to do, it can become a tedious task. If you’ve cut drywall only once or twice let’s take a look at how it’s done to refresh your memory.

As you can tell, cutting one or two holes every once in a while is probably not a big deal when using that drywall saw, but if you have a lot of rooms to do it’s a big chore. What you want to use is the labor saving Q-Bit, let’s check it out.

The Q-Bit is an instant labor saver and fits nearly all multi-tools, and quickly turns into the square saw blade you need. If you need to cut a 2 or 3 gang size hole you simply move the blade over. Save your time. For more information and to order the Q-Bit visit Discount-Low-Voltage.com

Firestop Fundamentals

Here’s a great video regarding the fundamentals of Firestopping, if your new to Firestopping you want to get off on the right foot before you just start slapping putty everywhere.

Obviously there’s a lot of different areas that will require Firestopping, so STI has many different products available for your specific installation. Here’s a great look at some of the many products by STI that we have in stock.

Firestop pad for electrical boxes.

EZ Path Smoke and Acoustical Pathway Device

Firestop Plug for Conduit Sleeves

These are just a few of the many STI Firestop products that we have available. For our complete offering of Firestop products, specification sheets and pricing visit Discount-Low-Voltage.com

STI Firestop now in stock!

STI is an industry leader in developing innovative fire protection systems that help stop the spread of fire, smoke and toxic fumes. For over 25 years, our management team has worked hand in hand with the construction industry to create simple solutions to complex firestopping problems. Because our system designs are user-driven, they are easier to apply. The result is simply designed, outstanding fire protection systems which often result in lower installed costs.

STI products and systems offer innovative firestop solutions for all types of new construction and retrofit applications. Since firestopping is our only business, we concentrate all our resources on providing the highest quality, fully tested, innovative firestopping solutions.

For pricing and availability on Firestop Sleeves, EZ Path, Sealants, Collars, Pillows, Sausages, Pails and more visit Discount-Low-Voltage.com

 

What is minimum bend radius?

Minimum bend radius is the smallest allowed radius the cable is allowed to be bent around. While cabling, these cables are bent in many different directions when going through conduits and when pulling around a sheave.

Cables are composed of different components and if bent too far you may put too much stress on those components to the point of damaging them. For example, a 6 strand indoor fiber optic cable if pulled too hard around a tight 90 may appear to be fine once the cable pull is finished. Unfortunately, what commonly happens is the stress around that 90 caused the individual strands to break under the jacket. To prevent this kind of damage, cable standards such as The National Electric Code (NEC) and the Insulated Cable Engineers Association (ICEA) formed requirements for minimum bend radius.

How to Calculate Minimum Bend Radius.

 

bend-example

The figure above  shows a cable with an outer diameter of 2 inches being bent around a radius of 12 inches. The minimum bend radius is based on the diameter of the cable and the type of cable. The following formula is used.

Minimum Bend Radius = Cable Outer Diameter x Cable Multiplier

Cable multipliers are determined by industry standards and vary from cable to cable. When purchasing a cable, check the spec sheet, many manufactures have the minimum bend radius provided to you for each cable part number.

 

Need help Fire Stopping high traffic areas?

Before you go purchasing Firestop material make sure you have the correct type for your installation, measure twice cut once. Here’s a great overview video of many different types of products for your particular installation.

Let’s take a look at one of the more popular item in that video, the Composite Sheet.

The Composite Sheet is an excellent choice for medium to large openings through common constructions, cable trays that handle communications and power, multiple metallic conduits, tubing and more. You can also cut and shape it to your desire using common sheet metal tools and when burns it expands up to 15X original size and that’s amazing!

For more information on the Composite Sheet and many other Fire Stopping products visit Discount-Low-Voltage.com

Customer Testimonial on Pre-Terminated Fiber Optic Cable

Pre-terminated fiber optic cable assemblies cut installation time and cost drastically. Many people unfamiliar with fiber optic cable and termination believe it to be very complex, fragile and expensive. Pre-terminated fiber optic cable offers a fast, simple and reliable solution that also installs in half the time of traditional field terminated systems.

Traditional premise fiber optic cables, hardware, fusion splicing and connection in the field have remained more or less the same over time. Trying to hurry the installation process using these old methods carries a risk that quality and reliability can suffer. As a result, the final deployment can be more costly and slower, and can significantly affect the production environment. Generally speaking, it all becomes more complex and costly than is strictly necessary.

Brian Miller from Miller communications has made purchases for this cable from Discount-Low-Voltage.com and he was nice enough to give us a phone interview about his experience after his installation. Let’s see what he had to say from our YouTube channel.

Fiber cable preterminated is available in a single-mode, 50µm, or 62.5 µm, and loose tube outside plant or flame retardant indoor/outdoor cable carrying from six to 144 fibers and just about any other fiber you can think of. This solution will require slightly more time in the design phase spent in determining and measuring appropriate lengths, spacing and technical requirements. Long term expansion and growth can be easily planned during this time. Time spent early in the design phase results in reduced time spent in the field installation phase.

You can order this cable in any length, with any connectors and any fiber type your application calls out for. Order online or call us at 888-797-3697

Special thanks to Brian Miller from Miller communications. If your looking for phone system and communications work in the pacific northwest call him at (503) 397-3801.

OTDR, What does it do?

Optical Time Domain Reflectometers (OTDRs) and fault locators are used to certify new fiber installations and locate faults in deployed fiber optic networks.

OTDR

OTDRs:

  • Scan and characterize fiber optic networks (from one end of the fiber).
  • Display characterized fiber either as a trace showing optical loss and reflectance vs. distance or as a LinkMap providing an icon-based representation of the fiber sections, splices, connectors and any detected faults (breaks or macro-bends).
  • Provide link summary information (end-to-end length, loss, optical return loss).
  • Provide details for each detected connector, splice or fault including event location, event type, loss and reflectance at event and loss to event.

Let’s get a good look at one of the AFL models from their YouTube channel.

OTDRs and fault locators are available for both multi-mode and single-mode networks including passive optical networks (PONs) supporting a range of performance requirements and budgets.

For more information on selecting the proper OTDR check out the AFL selection guide. Once you have a model selected contact your Authorized AFL Distributor Discount-Low-Voltage.com for pricing and availability.

Need Fiber for Security Cameras?

Fiber Optic Media Converters like the Signamax 065-1196A series, are the economical bridge between a copper infrastructure and an optical fiber run.  Even in smaller security networks the obstacle to reach distances greater than 100 meters will require an extension over fiber.
Fiber Camera Layout
Imagine a property with a copper-based network that has decided to increase their security parameters by installing additional cameras.  The additional coverage could be around the parking lot, a multi-story building, or maybe the property has multiple structures that will require extended data transmissions.  Once the copper-base recommended distance is breached between the cameras and the network video recorder, the transmission will typically work intermittently or not at all. To ensure the investment meets its intentions a span of optical fiber with the existing copper-base will allow a more reliable transmission for the extended span by decreasing the electromagnetic interference between the cameras and the NVR.
For more information regarding the Media Converter, PoE Switch visit Discount-Low-Voltage.com

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