Networking trends for 2018

Here are some of my collection of newest trends and predictions for year 2018. I have not invented those ideas what will happen next year completely myself. I have gone through many articles that have given predictions for year 2018. Then I have picked and mixed here the best part from those articles (sources listed on the end of posting) with some of my own additions to make this posting.This article contains very many quotations from those source articles.

Big Data, mobility and the Internet of Things (IoT) are generating an enormous amount of data, and data center operators must find ways to support higher and higher speeds. Recent data center trends predict bandwidth requirements will continue growing 25 percent to 35 percent per year. Many older data centers were designed to support 1-gigabit or 10-gigabit pathways between servers, routers and switches. Today’s Ethernet roadmap extends from 25- and 40-gigabit up through 100-gigabit, and 400-gigabit and even 1-terabit Ethernet loom within a few years. The biggest sales are forecasted for 25G and 100G ports for next few years. Ethernet switch market has now 100 Gbit/s products in the volumes at the moment, and both 200G and 400G Ethernet versions will be taken to use in 2018.

Broadcom dominates the Ethernet switch chip market today with a 73 to 94 percent share, depending on how market watchers slice the sector valued at nearly a billion dollars. Its closest rival, Cisco Systems, takes most of the rest with systems using its own ASICs. Juniper, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Huawei also make Ethernet switch ASICs for their systems. With seven merchant chips in the pipeline and four in-house ASICs in the works, we will see a record number of unique platforms ship in 2018. Wheeler of the Linley Group expects the competition will drive Ethernet switch costs from about $60/port today to about $36/port by 2020.

Data center giants “are driving their own code and programmable capabilities as close to the server as possible.The dozen largest data center operators — including the likes of Facebook and Google — build their own switch systems or specify systems built by ODMs. They can drive sales of millions of chips a year but demand maximum bandwidth at minimum cost and power consumption. The Tomahawk-3 is geared for the next-generation of their top-of-rack and aggregation switches, delivering up to 128 100GE or 32 400GE ports, the first merchant chip to support 400GE rates.

China will start making more optical components: Several Western component and subsystems vendors have cited reduced demand from Chinese systems houses such as Huawei and ZTE for revenue declines in 2017. One reason for the slowdown is the fact that these systems houses have begun looking for more local optical technology sources. In addition to doing more development work in-house (particularly in the case of Huawei), the two Chinese systems vendors have begun to work more closely with Chinese companies such as Accelink, Hisense, and HiSilicon as well as Japanese vendors. This can mean that Western firms (particularly in the U.S.) may not see their Chinese orders return to previous levels.

Higher power power over Ethernet: 802.3bt – IEEE Draft Standard for Ethernet Amendment: Physical Layer and Management Parameters for DTE Power via MDI over 4-Pair amendment to IEEE Std 802.3-2015 increases the maximum PD power available by utilizing all four pairs in the specified structured wiring plant. This represents a substantial increase to the capabilities of Ethernet with standardized power – allow delivery of up to 90 watts of power via existing Ethernet cabling. The Ethernet Alliance has announced details of its next plugfest: Dedicated to pre-standard testing of Power over Ethernet (PoE) technologies against Draft 3.2 of the IEEE P802.3bt standard, the event will be held in February 2018. The specification’s ratification is expected in September of 2018.

802.11ax hasn’t been signed off yet, but promises to send WiFi towards 10 Gb/s thanks to its use of both multi-user multiple-input and multiple-output (MU-MIMO) and the new Orthogonal frequency-division multiple access (OFDMA). 802.11ax is  good at combining lots of different links so that users get more connections, more often, and end up with more bandwidth.  Marvell claims it’ll have the first chipsets for new 10G WiFi ready for products in H2 2018. Marvell said the chipsets will ship some time in early 2018 and will appear in products in the second half of the year. Widespread 802.11ax adoption in devices probably won’t happen until 2019.

5G something in it for everyone. 5G is big.  5G New Radio (NR) wireless technology will ultimately impact everyone in the electronics and telecommunications industries. Most estimates say 2020 is when we will ultimately see some real 5G deployments on a scale. In the meantime, companies are firming up their plans for whatever 5G products and services they will offer. Though test and measurement solutions will be key in the commercialization cycle. 5G is set to disrupt test processes. If 5G takes off, the technology will propel the development of new chips in both the infrastructure and the handset. Data centers require specialty semiconductors from power management to high-speed optical fiber front-ends. 5G systems will drive more complexity in RF front-ends .

Networks will become more and more virtual, especially on 5G. 5G networks will build on LTE network architecture with the introduction of cloud RANs (C-RANs) and virtualized RANs. Network function virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN) tools and architectures could enable operators to reduce network costs and simplify deployment. For more details read System architecture milestone of 5G Phase 1 is achieved article.

Automotive Ethernet: Automotive Ethernet will replace the Media Oriented Systems Transport (MOST) bus found on many vehicles today and also compete with systems like Maxim’s Gigabit Multimedia Serial Link (GMSL). The standards include IEEE 802.3bw 100BASE-T1 and IEEE P802.3bp 1000BASE-T1 that adopt the 100-Mb/s and 1-Gb/s Ethernet protocols to run over over a single twisted pair up to 15 meters. Chips, PHYs and switches are now readily available for automotive Ethernet. Automotive switches will support time-sensitive networking (TSN) features like audio video bridging (AVB) ingress policy, rate limiting andalso features 802.1Qav/Qbv queue-shaping support. We will need a Security Blanket for Automotive Ethernet.

Car-to-car communication: The industry and government have defined several versions of vehicular communications. These are vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V), vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I), and vehicle-to-everything (V2X). V2V is the direct communications between vehicles within range of one another. V2V link-up is automatic and cars exchange status information messages Basic Safety Message (BSM) 10 times per second (contains data such as GPS location, speed, direction, brake status, and related conditions). There are competing technologies to make this all work. IEEE802.11p ahead of LTE-V2V for safety critical applications. 5G will offer increased capacity and decreased latency for some critical applications such as vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) or vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communications for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and self-driving vehicles. The big question is whether 5G will disrupt the landscape or fall short of its promises.

TSN (time sensitive networking) will be talked on many application. Success in the IIoT requires that information- and operational-technology networks work in tandem—time-sensitive networking can make it happen. A converged industrial network will address several challenges that currently exist in today’s disparate network architecture, and it is believed that needed convergence is provided by time-sensitive networking (TSN). TSN is a set of IEEE 802 sub-standards that, when implemented, enable deterministic communication over Ethernet networks while keeping the benefits of communication in best effort manner, on that same network. TSN introduces different traffic classes that share the same link. Proper implementation of TSN requires a solution that can provide a low latency and deterministic response at TSN end points and TSN bridges – it is usually implemented with combining a processor and a FPGA or using advanced Ethernet switch chip.

Gartner analyst says on-premises data centers will soon be ‘useless’: Govekar said that as soon as 2019, at least a third of the largest software vendors will have transitioned their products from cloud-first to cloud-only. For this reason Gartner analyst predicts doom for on-premises data centers. If this happens , there will be a lot of work for network operators and cloud service companies to be able to build the infrastructure that can handle all this without problems. I expect that not all on-premises data centers are doomed. There are applications where moving everything to central could does not make sense – for example many IoT applications are moving some of the processing from cloud to edge devices for various reasons (lower latency, reduce needed bandwidth, work also when communications does not work etc..). There is also place for some on-premises data centers on some application (may them be depending on need anything from embedded server to room full of equipment racks). When designing for the IoT, security needs to be addressed from the Cloud down to each and every edge device. Protecting data is both a hardware and a software requirement, as more data is being stored and analyzed in edge devices and gateways.

Network neutrality talks will continue in 2018. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on December 14, 2017 overturned the Title II-based Open Internet Order the previous Democratic-controlled FCC regime put in place in 2015. So what happens next? In the immediate term, nothing. The Restoring Internet Freedom Order won’t go into effect until sometime in the first half of 2018.

IPv6 usage seems to be finally accelerating in 2018. IPv6 has been a “future” since 1998, and an important future since 2007. IPv6 deployments have been increasing and chances are you have already used IPv6 – but haven’t realized it yet. IPv6 deployment is increasing around the world, with over 9 million domain names and 23% of all networks advertising IPv6 connectivity. Network admins will have many concerns about migrating to IPv6 in 2018. China plans to put the Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6)-based network into large-scale use, to boost the development of the Internet industry. China aims to have 200 million active users of IPv6 by the end of 2018. IPv6 use is increasing, but that does not mean that IPv4 is no way dying. It seems that both of those technologies will co-exist in Internet for a long time.



Chinese systems houses engaging with alternative component, subsystem sources: LightCounting

802.3bt – IEEE Draft Standard for Ethernet Amendment: Physical Layer and Management Parameters for DTE Power via MDI over 4-Pair

Next Ethernet Alliance PoE Plugfest to provide critical support for Power over Ethernet certification program

Making 5G Happen

UK Updates 5G Strategy

System architecture milestone of 5G Phase 1 is achieved

Five technology trends for 2018

NI Trend Watch 2018 explores trends driving the future faster

ADAS Needs V2X to Meet ITS Goals

Taking Automotive Ethernet for a Test Drive

A Security Blanket for Automotive Ethernet

TSN: Converging Networks for a Better Industrial IoT

Gartner analyst says on-premises data centers will soon be ‘useless’

Gartner analyst predicts doom for on-premises data centers

M2M within the IoT – Pushing Security from the Cloud Down to Every Last Endpoint

Net Neutrality Overturned: Now What?

B’com Shifts Switch to 12.8 Tbits/s

Planning starts now for high-speed data center migration

Lights, camera, 802.11ax-ion!

China to speed up IPv6-based Internet development

State of IPv6 Deployment 2017

Top 5 Concerns of Network Admins About Migrating to IPv6 in 2018



  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Solar-Powered “Pseudo-Satellite” Aircraft Logs First Flight of 26 Days

    Powered by “silicon anode” lithium-ion batteries, the Zephyr S HAPS is claimed to have set a world record for longest UAV flight without refueling.

    Zephyr is designed to offer capabilities that fill a gap and complement the roles filled by satellites, UAVs, and manned aircraft by providing long-term local satellite-like services. Applications include maritime surveillance and services, border patrol missions, communications, forest fire detection and monitoring, or navigation, often summarized as ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance).

    The Zephyr, with the persistence of a satellite and the flexibility of a UAV, flies in the stratosphere at an average altitude of 21 km/70,000 feet. The ultra-lightweight weighs just 75 kg/165 pounds and has a wingspan of 25 meters/82 feet (Fig. 2). Payload is approximately 2.5 kg (5.5 lb.). The only civil aircraft to operate at this altitude was the supersonic Concorde, and the military U2 and SR-71 Blackbird reconnaissance aircraft. The powerplant consists of two custom permanent-magnet synchronous motors rated at 0.60 hp (0.45 kW) each.

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    WLAN market lifts on Wave 2, 802.11ax shipments, NBASE-T: Analyst

    According to a recently published report from Dell’Oro Group, an analyst of the telecommunications, networks, and data center IT industries, the wireless LAN (WLAN) market accelerated in the second half 2018, boosted by higher-end products. WLAN prices rose with a mixed shift to Wave 2, 802.11ax and NBASE-T, the analyst reports.

    “The WLAN market outperformed in 3Q18, as price erosion slowed. Users opted for feature-rich products, such as Wave 2 access points and premises managed Controllers,”

    Additional highlights from Dell’Oro’s 3Q18 Wireless LAN Quarterly Report include the following points:

    Arris Ruckus, Cisco, HPE, and Ubiquiti gained share vs. the year-ago period.
    For the second sequential quarter North America led other regions.
    Project delays weigh on China—but not for long.
    11ac Wave 2 access points jumped over 10 points from the year-ago period.

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    In 2017, the CEO of AT&T told America that his company would use its $20B tax windfall to invest in America and create American jobs. The company is planning to fire 7,000 people instead.

    AT&T Plans to Fire 7,000 People Despite Tax Breaks, Net Neutrality Repeal

    Thus far, the corporations Ajit Pai and the Republican Party bent over backward to help haven’t exactly been returning the favor. GM plans to close plants and fire 14,000 people. Verizon has no plan to boost 5G investment, despite Pai’s claim that repealing net neutrality would lead to additional corporate network spending. Now AT&T is reportedly preparing to fire 7,000 people, despite having previously promised that tax breaks and freedom from burdensome regulation would actually create jobs.

    AT&T has earned record profits for itself by shuttering call centers and offshoring workers, with an estimated 16,500 jobs lost since 2011. The Communication Workers of America estimate AT&T eliminated 10,800 positions in the last year alone.

    And this isn’t unique to AT&T — Verizon also claimed plans to boost its own investment levels before deciding not to.

    Put simply, I’m tired of being lied to. The tax cuts and net neutrality repeal were advertised, justified, and declared necessary because of the necessary and critical impact they would have on overall investment and infrastructure. None of it happened. No one is punished for it.

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Jonathan Amos / BBC:
    UK engineers have finished building Quantum, the first fully software-defined communications satellite that can be reprogrammed in orbit, launching this year — UK engineers have completed the build of the novel Quantum satellite. — The telecommunications platform will be the first fully software-defined spacecraft.

    Quantum: Handover for fully flexible satellite

    UK engineers have completed the build of the novel Quantum satellite.

    The telecommunications platform will be the first fully software-defined spacecraft.

    Traditionally, large satellites are configured on the ground for specific tasks that cannot be changed after launch, even if market demands evolve.

    Quantum’s coverage, bandwidth, power and frequency can all be altered in orbit.

    The big Paris-based telecoms operator Eutelsat has procured the 3.5-tonne spacecraft in a R&D partnership with the European Space Agency (Esa), with manufacturer Airbus acting as the prime contractor.

  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Poland may consider Huawei ban amid ‘spy’ arrests – reports
    Chinese hardware biz faces more push-back in Western nations

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Have you set the standard for fiber cleaning and inspection?

    Benefits to using the IEC 61300-3-35 standard for fiber-endface measurement and inspection.

    In this feature, which continues the series examining the importance of inspection and cleaning processes, we will discuss IEC 61300-3-35—what it is and why you should implement it.

    We have previously established that contamination, scratches and defects on a fiber-optic connector can be detrimental to a network’s performance. If dirty and damaged optical connectors are not dealt with in the correct way, signal will be affected. For this reason, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) created standard 61300-3-35.

    IEC 61300-3-35 is an international standard that focuses on fiber-optic interconnection devices and passive components. It is a set of requirements for fiber-optic connector endface quality. It includes precise cleanliness grading criteria to measure pass or fail certification for the inspection of a fiber endface before connection. The standard is a common reference tool to help answer the question, “How clean is clean enough?”

    IEC 61300-3-35 explained

    IEC 61300-3-35 uses certification criteria based on a series of concentric circles with the center being the core of the fiber. The standard uses four domains, ranging from A at the core zone through to D, the contact/ferrule zone on the outer edge. Each area denotes the acceptance of contaminant whether they are permanent defects like scratches and pits or removable “dirt” such as dust or fingerprint contamination. There is a set requirement for connector endface quality in each zone, which focuses on a specific size and number of defects.

    Measurement and inspection using the IEC 61300-3-35 standard is mission critical to a fiber’s performance. Just one-micron length of contaminant can be the difference between having an endface that meets or fails the recommended specification. Even the most experienced operator cannot visually determine if a scratch is 5µm or 6µm in length.

    Inspect Before You Connect

    It is extremely important to inspect each endface after cleaning and before mating to ensure any contamination is removed. If it is not removed, it will cause cross-contamination of the two-ferrule endfaces disrupting the optical signal path. If “debris” remains in the contact zone and is not cleaned, it can result in scratches and pits on both connector endfaces.

    Using inspection tools with automated analysis

    When inspecting for IEC 61300-3-35 it is important to use tools that have automated pass/fail analysis to eliminate subjective guesswork. Having this capability enables users of any skill level to evaluate endface quality with a process that is objective, reliable and repeatable. These results are a valuable documentation, certifying and recording cleanliness and quality of the fiber, and therefore helping to improve product and network performance and yields.

    IEC 61300-3-35 should be a standard operating procedure that is adopted by all. Improperly cleaned fiber endfaces impose operational and financial burdens on fiber networks.

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Blue Jeans Cable asks: Is your Cat 6 cable a dog?

    Category 6 cables — and to a lesser extent, Category 6a cables — are widely available from a variety of vendors, including variety stores, office supply stores, consumer electronics stores, and online shops. While a great many people are content to run wireless networks in their homes, the fact is that if you need truly high data speeds and a secure network, nothing beats a wired connection. But is that cable in the store, or in the online shop, really Cat 6?

    It’s a vexing problem, if you’ve got a cable in a bag and you’d like to know how well it conforms to Category 6 specifications. None of the tools you’re likely to own, such as a volt-ohmmeter, will shed any light on the subject.

    Okay–So, How Do We Measure Compliance?

    Category 5e, 6 and 6a patch cords are governed by specification; the usual spec cited is the TIA spec, TIA-568.C.2, part 6.9, though there is also an ISO spec which is somewhat more stringent. By contrast to the standards that apply to such things as “horizontal” installed cabling and the like, the specification for patch cords is fairly simple. First, it requires that patch cords be built out of cable and connectors which comply with the relevant cable and connector specifications. Second, it requires that the cable meet or exceed performance standards for two things: Near-End Crosstalk, or NEXT, and Return Loss.

    So, the difference between Cat 5e, Cat 6, and Cat 6a cable is not so much in the basic design as it is in the tolerances. As the bitrate, and correspondingly the frequency, of the signal increases, smaller and smaller discontinuities and inconsistencies in the cable become relevant. Cat 5e is required to meet certain specs for signals up to 100 MHz (one “Hertz” is one complete wave, e.g., a sine wave, per second, and a “Megahertz” is one million of those per second). Cat 6 is required to meet tighter specifications, and to meet those specs to 250 MHz. Cat 6a must meet the same specifications as Cat 6, but must also meet similar specification limits all the way out to 500 MHz. So, while the basic cable architecture doesn’t change between Categories, the demand for consistency and quality in manufacturing does; for example, a sloppy connectorization that’s “just good enough” for a Cat 5e cable will almost certainly cause the cable to fail at Cat 6.

    The fact that it’s hard to tell the difference between Cat 5e, Cat 6 and Cat 6a by looking at them opens the door, unfortunately, to some deceptive practices in the industry.

    these Ethernet specs are operated purely on the honor system. If a manufacturer wants to sell “Cat 6″ cable, all he has to do is change the jacket lettering on his Cat 5e cable to read “Cat 6.” Beyond that, it’s pure caveat emptor — it’s the buyer’s job to figure out whether he’s being scammed.

    The idea that somebody would just change the jacket lettering on his Cat 5e cable and call it “Cat 6″ might seem just a bit too brazen, even for a sharp operator. If you have just a bit of faith in humanity, you’d think that nobody would label a cable “Category 6″ on the jacket and sell it in a major national store chain without ascertaining that the cable actually met Category 6 specifications–but if you thought that, you’d be wrong. A few years ago, Fluke corporation, who make various Ethernet test devices, announced that in its survey of the market approximately 80% of the patch cords sold as “Cat 6″ did not meet the specification

    The Ugly Truth
    When we began work to develop our own Cat 6 and Cat 6a cables, we knew we would need to test every assembly; while Cat 5e cables are easy to assemble without a lot of cause for worry over compliance, Cat 6 and Cat 6a are another matter. Defects in assembly that one barely notices when putting the connector on — things like just a bit too much split of the members of a pair, or too-abrupt bends in conductors as they route into the connectors — can cause failure. Near-End Crosstalk and Return Loss are both sensitive to termination quality,

    The Fluke is a lovely piece of gear. We’d tell you that everyone who ever uses network cable should have one, if the unit with its various patch cord adapters didn’t cost over $12,000.

    Fluke’s claim that 80% of so-called Cat 6 patch cords were noncompliant seemed surprising, and we wondered whether things had gotten any better — surely they had? — since then. With the DTX on the desktop, this became a fairly easy question to answer, and we decided to go shopping.

    Well, That Wasn’t Very Good, Was It?
    No, it wasn’t. A few observations are in order.

    To start with, of course, the near-unanimity of the results is pretty surprising. Out of twenty cables tested, four met spec, and of those, two did it by a hair. This 80% failure rate is, as it happens, exactly what Fluke reported a few years back, and our sample certainly shows no improvement over that time.

    Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the results is that, out of the sixteen cables which failed their stated spec, all but five also failed Cat 5e testing. Cat 5e is not a difficult standard to pass; using conventional, non-bonded, twisted-pair Cat 5e of good quality (e.g., Belden 1583A) and ordinary RJ-45 connectors, not only is it easy to build compliant Cat 5e assemblies, but it’s common to see them pass the specification by several dB both on NEXT and RL. Contrast that with some of the shockingly bad test results–e.g., the 50-foot major-brand cable from the hardware store, which failed the 5e spec’s return loss requirements by a whopping 8 dB. Plainly, many of these vendors are using very, very poor cable stock. Anybody with an extruder and a wire-twisting machine can make paired data cables; making them meet spec, however, is another matter entirely.

    Note that of all of the brick-and-mortar store cable purchases we made, the grand total score is zero passes, eight fails with only two of the purportedly “Cat 6″ cables even passing Cat 5e.

    The online vendors didn’t do all that much better

  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    US bills would ban exports to Chinese telecoms that violate sanctions
    Huawei and ZTE are singled out as potential targets.

    American politicians want to crack down further on Chinese telecoms like Huawei and ZTE. Members of both the House of Representatives and the Senate have introduced bills that would order the President to impose export bans on Chinese telecoms found to violate US export and sanctions laws. Companies like Huawei and ZTE are a “growing threat to American national security,” according to co-sponsor Rep. Mike Gallagher, and they should face the same punishment that ZTE faced before its reprieves.

    The politicians aren’t shy about the reasons behind the move. This is partly in response to the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou in Canada over US allegations she helped her company violate US trade sanctions against Iran. This would potentially force the President to ban Huawei’s US-based equipment exports, limiting its ability to do business around the world. It wouldn’t be as severe a blow as it was for ZTE, since Huawei designs its own mobile processors, but it could have a noticeable effect.

  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    APOLAN brings passive optical LAN advocacy, education to BICSI 2019 Winter show

    From its BICSI Winter Conference 2019 booth #534, the Association for Passive Optical LAN (APOLAN), the non-profit organization driving both education and adoption for passive optical LANs (POL), will showcase POL’s growth and opportunities at the BICSI 2019 Winter Conference & Exhibition taking place at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in Orlando on January 20-24.

  10. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Insertion loss: Are you positive it’s negative?

    Insertion loss, or the loss of signal that happens along the length of a fiber-optic link, is expressed in dBs and should always be a positive number. But it can be negative (which isn’t a good thing).

    Return loss, which measures the amount of light reflected back toward the source, is also expressed in dBs and is always a positive number. A high return loss is a good thing and usually results in low insertion loss.

    Reflectance, which also measures reflection and is expressed in dB, is a negative number. High reflectance is not a good thing.

    The most commonly measured performance parameter on a fiber-optic link is insertion loss.

    Insertion loss is expressed in decibels, or dBs, and should be a positive number as it indicates how much signal was lost by comparing input power to output power.

    The lower the number, the better the insertion loss performance – an insertion loss of 0.2dB is better than 0.4dB.

    There are however moments when insertion loss can appear as a negative value. But wouldn’t a negative value indicate a gain in signal, and how can this be possible? A negative insertion loss indicates a problem, one of which is often improper reference setting.

    Negative loss, or gainers, can also occur due to differences in connected fibers. If the two fibers have different backscatter coefficients (a fancy term for information about the relative backscatter level of the fiber), more light can be backscattered after a connection rather than before the connection. If you’re only measuring in one direction, this can cause your OTDR to show a loss value that is less than it actually is, which could show up as a negative value.

    But wherever there’s a gainer, there’s a loser. While transmitting in one direction may cause the gainer, when the measurement is taken in the other direction where less light is backscattered after the connection, the measured loss is greater than the actual loss.

    The other commonly measured performance parameter on a fiber optic connection is return loss. It is a measurement of the amount of light injected from the source compared to the amount of light reflected back toward the source. Expressed as a positive number in dBs, the higher the number, the better the return loss performance – a return loss of 60dB is better than 30dB

    And then we have reflectance, which measures the amount of back reflection created by a reflective event (i.e., connector) compared to the amount of light injected—essentially the inverse of return loss. It too is expressed in dBs but is a negative number. The lower the number (remember we’re talking negative here), the better the reflectance – reflectance of -60dB is better than -30dB. OTDR’s typically use a negative value for connection reflectance.

  11. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Indoor/outdoor cable is not cookie-cutter

    Standardized by the Insulated Cable Engineers Association, indoor/outdoor cable takes several shapes and forms, and serves many applications.

    A standard produced by the Insulated Cable Engineers Association (ICEA) defines specifications for cable that can be used both indoors and outdoors. Published in 2016, ANSI/ICEA S-100-685-2016 is titled “Standard for Thermoplastic Insulated and Jacketed Telecommunications Station Wire For Indoor/Outdoor Use.” The standard defines its own purpose as “to establish generic technical requirements that may be referenced by individual telecommunications wire specifications covering thermoplastic insulated and jacketed station wire products for indoor/outdoor application.”

    several manufacturers of cables that can be used in both indoor and outdoor environments have produced documents and other resources intended to help users specify these products

    Discussing indoor/outdoor optical-fiber cable, Superior Essex says these cables “also have at minimum an NEC Fire Resistance Rating. Like indoor/outdoor UTP cables, they also utilize materials that provide better temperature properties and UV protection. Some also include additional protection against water ingress. Designs are available in loose-tube and tight-buffered construction and are suitable for all fiber types.

    These installations generally require tight collaboration among the full value chain—manufacturer, distributor, consultant, installer, and end-user—involved in a project.


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