It was a dark and stormy night…
One can't help but picture Snoopy perched on his doghouse, bent over his faithful Royal Standard typewriter, pecking out those famous words.
If Snoopy were here at B&B, each day he'd change his tune to, "It was yet another blustery winter's day…"
I don't know about where you live, but Chicago just had its 36th day of snowfall this year, with more in the forecast. Nearby, in our fair city, winter temperatures are frigid and we've already beat the average winter's snowfall by half a meter.
I could not be more disappointed in global warming.
In fact, today I'll perch on my own doghouse and bang out a complaint that Global Warming is guilty of deceptive advertising practices. This is not at all what I was expecting.
There are no less than 47,000 scientists and politicians backing any one particular view of global warming and its meaning. Not knowing who to believe, I'm hedging my bets. Not only did I invest in a new winter hat, I'm also contemplating the replacement of my greenhouse gas-spewing lawn mower with a goat named Otis who will spew greenhouse gasses of his own.
But good things do come from a long, cold winter. Without the distractions provided by sunshine, baseball and summer love, what else is an engineer to do but work on new products? The team here has been working hard all winter - emails fly at all hours, hammering out specs, testing code, reviewing designs - all leading to many exciting announcements in the coming months.
One area that got a lot of attention this winter is fibre. You're running Ethernet in all these industrial applications but the 100 meter limits of Cat5 don't get you far. Not only are you going farther, but you're running your cables in downright nasty environments.
Fibre is the rage. Total noise immunity, killer range, all the cool kids are doing it - what more could you want?
Like the slush covering Illinois, fibre can be messy. Connector choices, multi-mode, single-mode, various ranges - those details can make fibre a bit less satisfying. Read on and I'll solve those problems for you with Mike's Two Step Program to Fiber Optic Success.
Step One - Complete Fibre Buzzwords 101
Single-mode vs. Multi-mode
This describes how light travels down the fibre. In multimode fibre, the light meanders its way down the fibre. Bouncing merrily off the walls as it goes, causing dispersion and attenuation. In comparison, single-mode fibre light travels straight through the core with minimal loss. Multimode is less expensive and perfectly acceptable in Ethernet applications right up to about 2000 meters where its range dies out. Single mode fibre and components are more expensive and can commonly be selected in grades with ranges from 10 km to 80 km.
ST connectors are common in the US, these round connectors remind me a bit of BNC jacks.
SC connectors are more common worldwide, slightly more compact than ST and rectangular.
There are a host of other less common connector styles, the most relevant being LC which is more compact than ST or SC and starts showing up a lot more in Gigabit equipment.
Your mission - select the connectors and fibre type to match the needs of your system. Those needs are often determined by the cable itself which may already be installed.
That's it! You've passed Fibre Buzzwords 101. (For you overachievers, there's more you *could* learn, starting with a nice little white paper in our tech library http://www.bb-europe.com/tech_articles/fiber_optic_technology.asp)
Step Two of Mike's Two Step Program - No compromises product selection
Seasoned fibre optic installers are well schooled in adapting from one connector style to the next and using fibre media converters to make their Ethernet switch ports match their cabling. But you, loyal B&B customer, won't suffer through those inconveniences because B&B offers every flavor right from the factory. You need an 8 port switch for your wind turbine with three fibre ports (in, out and up) - we've got it. You want 3 a three port switch with two fiber and one copper port? We've got that too. ST, SC, multimode, single-mode - all there for the choosing. Never settle for a two box solution when one box will do.
3 port, 5 port, 8 port switches with lots of fibre options
Think that's a lot of choices? Baby, you ain't seen nothin' yet! Numb fingers and toes have actually inspired B&B engineers and they're cooking up some wild stuff for spring - stay tuned!
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