Security Dealer & Integrator

JUL 2018

Find news and information for the executive corporate security director, CSO, facility manager and assets protection manager on issues of policy, products, incidents, risk management, threat assessments and preparedness.

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Page 17 of 115

I n past issues, I have written about the usefulness of Cat 5e+ cabling alternatives – usually coax – to take advantage of existing cabling infrastruc- ture in lieu of running new Cat-rated cable. Traditional suppliers of the conversion devices include companies such as NVT Phybridge and Veracity, and established companies such as Altronix, have entered the fray. ese conversion devices, which are normally bought in a set, usually convert the data signal to a higher fre- quency (in the case of fiber optics, fre- quencies in the infrared range), mod- ulate, and then perform the reverse process in a (hopefully) transparent manner. e economics can be com- pelling when it comes to both cabling costs and installation time. With the advent of PoE and suppli- ers' own product developments, prod- uct line extensions have proliferated. For example, Altronix, with its roots in traditional power supplies, now offers products such as Ethernet/power over coax, multi-port mid-span injectors, hybrid fiber-copper Ethernet switches, and units configurable to provide 60 W of high PoE power. Ethernet range extenders can be powered by mid-span injectors and increase the Ethernet range five-fold over single or two twisted pair cable. Increasingly, the market is seeing an expansion of switch products – both unmanaged and managed – that provide built-in ports with something other than standard RJ-45 physical interfaces for local (non-uplink) ports. Recently, I had the chance to visit NVT Phybridge to learn more about its managed "Long Reach" switch products. Phybridge launched in 2006 to focus on the VoIP area, and the company acquired NVT in 2015 to expand its footprint in security. As telephony began its analog- to-digital VoIP migration, it created a cabling scenario not unlike security when it began its own transition to IP. Miles of installed two-conductor UTP cable, terminated in RJ11 blocks, were on the threshold of obsolescence and replacement with network cabling. Phybridge products were con- ceived and designed to provide two- wire interfaces built into the Ethernet switch to directly connect to the exist- ing cable infrastructure. e product worked well enough to prompt Cisco to assign parts numbers to it – I suspect because it helped speed the migration to VoIP and boosted the sales of IP telephones. Today's managed version, the POLRE (Power over Long Reach Ethernet) series provides 24 or 48 ports of PoE over a single pair reliably up to 1,200 feet. e product line has also expanded to include long-reach switches (FLEX series) for two-pair Cat-rated UTP, where, up to standard 100 m Ethernet distances, no far-end conversion is needed. With a far-end converter, up to 2,000 feet of PoE+ power is achievable, in addition to 100 m from the converter to the end-point. e CLEER series provides similar dis- tances over coaxial cable. I was initially working under the assumption that packaging the cabling interfaces into the switch was only to provide a neater, cleaner interface at the demarcation point between the conventional network and long reach equipment. I had been more impressed by the managed switch's GUI which was clear, user friendly, and instruc- tive in the information displayed. For example, a dynamic bar graph for each port shows a display of current power consumed. For me, these and similar products from other manufacturers looked like (and still are) ideal candi- dates for retrofit applications. What I have since learned is that this integral cabling-switch tech- nology has its place in new installa- tions also, particularly with Cat-rated cabling. With conventional technol- ogy, edge switches must be within 328 feet of the connected endpoints. e Long Reach technology potentially allows fewer switch locations (and switches) to be provisioned because the reach can now extend to more than 2,000 feet. 18 Security Dealer & Integrator / July 2018 Ethernet Cabling Alternatives New products and technologies have emerged to harness the power of Cat-rated cable infrastructure Tech Trends BY RAY COULOMBE Configuring physical security networks with these switches provides a way of provisioning security and other IoT devices on their own infrastructure, including power monitoring and appropriate backup power."

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