OM5 Fiber Optic Cable? Are you for real?

It was previously known as the Wide Band Multimode Fiber or (WB MMF). After a heated argument on what the standard would be, the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) has finalized a standard. OM5 is a version of OM4 fiber optic cable with additional bandwidth characterization at 953nm.

TIA worked on the WB MMF standard and made it support short wavelength division multiplexing (SWDM) transmission. The TIA standard is TIA-492AAAE. The mechanical and optical attributes are compliant with OM4 specs but also include additional specifications of effective modal bandwidth and attenuation at 953 nm. WB MMF is intended for operation using vertical-cavity surface emitting laser (VCSEL) transceivers across the 846 to 953 nm wavelength range.

Short wavelength division multiplexing (SWDM) technology uses four wavelengths across the 850 to 940 nm range. SWDM transceivers were designed to use two strands of fiber connectivity into transceivers with OM3/OM4. The SWDM VCSEL transceivers are now commercialized beginning throughout 2017. See figure 1.


Mux to Demux example

4x25GbE/Wavelength 2 fiber SWDM


You may be asking yourself if SWDM is used over OM5. SMDW transceivers are compatible with OM3/OM4/OM5 and OM5 also pushes the data rates even further.

The specified modal bandwidth (EMB) values for OM5 are…

EMB > 4700 MHz – km at 850 nm

EMB > 2470 MHz – km at 953 nm

EMB for OM3/OM4 are only specified at 850 as with OM5 is specified for both 850 and 953nm.

The EMB of OM5 is lower at 953 nm by using a combination of low chromatic dispersion and high EMB. The ideal zero dispersion wavelength occurs at 1310 nm. 953 nm is closer to 1310 nm chromatic dispersion is lower, and consequently, the EMB requirement is lower and achieves the same system performance.

Currently, there is no specified optical transmission standard for OM5. Transmission standards typically include only one multimode fiber variant and that’s selected based on economic, commercial, and equipment criteria.

TIA specifies the new color jacket for OM5 as Green. No new polarity methods are specified, and traditional Corning universal will still be commonly used. Field loss measurements will not be required for both 850 and 953 um.

Hopefully, this has helped to bring you up to speed with one of the many happenings in the fiber optic market. For pricing and availability on OM5 contact

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.

Charging Station for all your Tablets!

I don’t know about the rest of you, but growing up, my school bag primarily consisted of folders, highlighters, the occasional glue stick, and of course the staple items – pens, pencils, and paper. And at the end of the day, the items we didn’t need to take home would simply be stored in our desks. Open, non-locking desks…because who would really go in and steal someone’s pencil?

But technological advancements have made it so pens and paper are no longer staples in the classroom of any grade level. These school items have been replaced with electronic tablets and laptops. Now these items are quite valuable and definitely prone to theft…so we wouldn’t recommend you or your students leaving these expensive items just in a desk overnight. Instead, store and charge all of these devices in a secure, locking cabinet. And you guessed correctly; we have just the cabinet in mind!

Our new Wall Mount Charging Station is the perfect accessory to any classroom, education center or college campus. It can hold anywhere between eight and 12 tablets or laptops, depending on size and orientation. With its 6.5” depth, the cabinet hugs nicely against the wall and is one of the only thin wall mountable charging stations on the market. It doesn’t take up much space so regardless of your room size, finding a spot for this cabinet won’t be hard.

charging station

What all do you get with the Wall Mount Charging Station? Good question – you get an A! The cabinet includes four shelves for storing devices. Each shelf has slots for cables to feed down through the cabinet and plug into the included 8 Outlet Power Strip, stored in the bottom enclosure. Now we know there could be more than 12 cables running up and down in this cabinet and the last thing we’d want is for these cables to become intertwined with one another. (Talk about an extra hassle for teachers and professors to deal with…so let’s just avoid that!) To help solve this issue, nine Adhesive Backed Cable Holders come included, but not pre-installed, with the Wall Mount Charging Station. During the installation of your charging cabinet, you can choose the placement for these self-sticking holders based on your tablet charging needs. The “mouth” on each cable holder keeps cables in place – whether or not a device is being charged at that time. Sounds pretty slick, right?

Well, we’re not done yet. We have a few more qualities about this charging station that will make teachers want to get out their “Wow,” “Way to go,” and “Awesome job” stickers. For instance, the Wall Mount Charging Station is made out of aluminum so it’s lightweight and easy to install. Plus, you don’t have to worry about your devices overheating because vented slots can be found all throughout the cabinet to promote air flow around the devices. You also don’t have to worry about damaging the devices or scratching the screens because each shelf is lined with rubber and foam strips.

Alright, we’ve finally reached the quality that makes the Wall Mount Charging Station head of the class. With each new school year comes new teachers, students, curriculum, and likely new electronic devices. But don’t worry; you don’t have to switch out your cabinet! It was designed to last evolving technology and adapt to new charging styles. It is not proprietary to any brand or charging style, so if charging ports change with newer versions, you can still use this charging station.

For more information, pricing and availability visit

Why do you need a Spiral Vibration Damper

To fight against Aeolian Vibration! It’s a high frequency, low amplitude vibration caused by horizontal wind passing across your line. When cables are exposed to this wind, a phenomenon known as vortex shedding creates alternating pressure unbalance, inducing cable and guy wire to move up and down at right angles to the direction of air flow. These vibrations take the form of discrete standing waves that can cause support hardware breakdown, guy wire fatigue, abrasion and eventually guy wire failure. The Spiral Vibration Damper is made of a solid thermal plastic that has been subjected to hundreds of field vibration studies. It is non-corrosive, effective in a broad range of frequencies and has no concentrated mass or clamping pressure that could damage guy wires.

Here’s a great look at the Spiral Vibration Damper from our YouTube channel.

Here’s a few examples of the wind causing problems on the lines.

If you want to dive into vibration isolation check out an open course from MIT.

A spiral vibration damper is just a small piece to your aerial fiber optic cable installation and is a must for a proper installation.

Arlington Industries Cableway

Arlington’s easy-to-install, non-metallic CABLEWAY system is the answer to a time-saving, UL Listed cable runway support system. New system components make it even faster and easier to install. Let’s go over the CABLEWAY system from our YouTube channel and let’s start with part number T205 which is the 5ft tray section.

Support brackets attach directly to framing members, without structural damage.

NEW styles include wall mount and flat surface support brackets.

They hold cables securely in place – and you can open the bracket for easier cable insertion and/or trough installation!

The slide-on five foot wire tray covers and protects cable – install additional trough sections as needed. They join together with coupling.

Angle and Tee make it easy to turn corners.

Push-on end caps complete the job!

The Arlington CABLEWAY is for Power or Low Voltage for new construction or old work and is UL listed as a cable runway support system.

Discount Low Voltage stocks the Arlington CABLEWAY and also offers them as individual items that will help make it more convenient for your installation. For pricing, dimensions and to order online visit, thanks.


How to connect your CCTV DVR to your phone the easy way!

If you’ve ever had to network a security DVR you know it can be a challenge. Many DVR manufactures will push the task onto the buyer of the DVR and point fingers to the router that you are using saying it’s their problem or maybe the local service provider you need to work with is the fabulous AT&T and getting that port open on their Uverse cable modem/router is a nightmare.

Save a headache and use the Quick Connect feature from Bolide. All you do is scan the code on your DVR with your phone and your done! Let’s check out the how-to YouTube video.

Another cool feature is you now can get 720p high definition over analog for the same price as the older analog cameras systems! Give the finger to the high prices of megapixel cameras.

For more information visit Discount Low Voltage.

Plain Old Telephone Service DSL Splitter?

Did you know that twenty-six million homes in the United States subscribe to broadband DSL and most subscribers receive about ninety percent of the speed from their DSL. Many households, however, do pay for much higher DSL speeds than they actually experience. Using an inexpensive “pots-splitter” at the location the telephone line enters the house, many people have more than doubled their broadband DSL speed without paying more to the phone company.

Although the telephone company has many tools to troubleshoot problems with their lines and equipment they can’t help you much with the phone wiring in your home. A weak DSL signal inside your home can be caused by long wire lengths, poor connections, multiple wires, multiple connectors, improper grounding and other variables. Your DSL speed will be better if you eliminate these issues. DSL modems are good at working around noise on the line, but do so at the expense of top download speed and latency (delay). DSL technicians tell us that many line problems originate from bad inside wiring, so splitting the DSL signal from the telephone line as early as possible would certainly eliminate this problem.

To do that, you can install an inexpensive pots-splitter where the phone line enters your home or garage at the box called the Network Interface Device (NID). By installing a pots-splitter at the NID, the DSL signal from the telephone company to your modem is as short and uncluttered as possible. Those “pigtail” pots-splitters you self-install don’t offer the optimum DSL signal path. The excess in-house line length, the phone jacks and the additional phone equipment in your home all contribute to noise and attenuation of the DSL signal — and therefore slower speeds.

To achieve a short and clean connection, you should install a pots-splitter and put your DSL modem next to the pots-splitter at the NID. By installing the pots-splitter at your NID, you keep your home telephone wiring out of the DSL signal path, and consequently your line condition is now the responsibility of the telephone company. The telephone company can then easily use their central equipment to monitor and troubleshoot the condition of the DSL line to your home. They otherwise cannot do the best job troubleshooting the line if the DSL signal also runs through your house. With the DSL signal terminating at the NID, they have no excuse to deliver speeds less than the one offered under your service plan. If the speed is much less than promised, ask your telephone company to fix their line until it comes close to the DSL rate offered under your service plan. That that phone company!

Let’s get a look at a DSL pots-splitter offered by Suttle from our YouTube channel.

Here’s a look at what your installation may look like.

Check us out for more information regarding a POTS splitter.


When would I need an Amber colored lens?

We recently got our stock shipment for Greenlee Safety Glasses and I noticed a few different types of colors for the lens. Let us take a look at the Yellow contrast Amber lens.

This color lens absorbs Blue and Ultraviolet light and is best used when sharpness, acuity and contrast are needed and to block high intensity blue lighting such as UV and in Curing Operations.

– Filters out hazy light that is hard on the eyes
– Good for working outside at Dawn and Dusk
– Excellent for hazy, overcast or foggy days
– High Intensity tint for maximum sight performance during low light driving

Recent studies have shown that too much light and especially Blue light, suppresses our natural sleep hormone melatonin. Wearing Yellow glasses for an hour before bedtime will block enough of this light to prevent your melatonin from being suppressed letting you sleep quickly and easily. Other studies have mentioned that the display on a computer, TV, phone, monitor, pad and video games have an excessive amount of blue light so wearing this color lens will also help those who find it hard to unplug.

As I mentioned this stock shipment included a few different glasses, for example safety glasses that fit over your prescription glasses.

We got a handful of different glasses, check out our YouTube channel for a video on them all and they’re all very inexpensive so order a pair!

What are Power-Limited Fire Alarm System Cables

Currently there are three types of power limited fire alarm cables in use but before we get to those let’s touch on National Electric Code (NEC) article 760.

NEC Article 760 covers the installation of wiring and equipment of fire alarm systems including all circuits controlled and powered by the fire alarm system. These systems are defined in the NEC as the portion of the wiring system between the load side of the overcurrent device or the power limited supply and the connected equipment of all circuits powered and controlled by the fire alarm systems.

To comply properly with article 760, selecting the right cable for your fire alarm installation sounds like half the battle. Let’s check out the first of our three cables.

1) Type FPL – This type of power-limited fire alarm cable is listed by the NEC as being suitable for general purpose fire alarm use. This list “excludes” installation in riser, ducts, plenums and other space used for environmental air unless the cable is installed in conduit. All FPL cables are listed as being resistant to the spread of fire and must pass both UL test 1424 and the vertical flame test UL 1581.

2) Type FPLR – This type of cable is listed as being suitable for use in a vertical run in a shaft or from floor to floor. All FPLR cables are listed as having fire-resistant characteristics capable of preventing fire from traveling from floor to floor. Riser cables must pass both UL test 1424 and vertical riser test UL 1666.

3) Type FPLP – The FPLP rating is suitable for use in ducts, plenums and other space used for enviromental air. All FPLP cables are listed as having adequate fire resistant and low-smoke producing characteristics and must pass both UL test 1424 and UL stiener tunnel test 910.

Here’s a quick look of a FPLP cable from our YouTube Channel.

Now that you have a better idea on which cable may be a better fit for your installation let’s check out section 760-71 of that National Electric Code that specifies where Power-Limited circuit conductors are to be installed.

– Installed in raceways or exposed surfaces

– Protected against physical damage

– In metal raceways or rigid non metallic conduit where passing through a floor or wall to a height of 7 feet above the floor, unless adequate protection can be afforded by the building construction.

– In rigid metal conduit, rigid nonmetallic conduit, intermediate metal conduit or electrical metallic tubing where installed in hoistways

These cables are power limited for 300V and power limited is inherently limited by the power supply of the transformer and other power supply devices. You’ll also notice that some cables offer a shield for protection against interference created from other cables or other electronic/electrical and mechanical devices and the shield is a 100% Aluminium foiled wrap.

If your new to fire alarm cables this is a good start and you should read the entire NEC article 760 so your install is correct the first time.

What is DAS? (Distributed Antenna System)

Everyone knows that WIFI devices are extremely common and everyone seems to have at least one, even my 4 year old son has his own WIFI tablet so he can watch his Minecraft YouTube videos. The problem with all these devices lately has been the amount of strain that has been put on the cell tower antennas.

Let’s get to know DAS a bit better with a video helping to explain it by Superior Essex.

Now let’s take a quick look at how “small cells” are being added to your neighborhood to help ease the load and future demand of bandwidth on the towers.

Here’s a great example of what these DAS antennas look like in a neighborhood. You might want to mute the volume, sounds like this is some kind of political video to not allow these antenna in your neighborhood.

And finally here’s a great tutorial on DAS architecture.

If you were unfamiliar with DAS I hope this blog post has help you and  don’t forget to share it and I appreciate your time. Thanks!