New Marine-Certified Cables Improve Safety and Reduce Time to First Oil

In the marine industries the high profile DeepWater Horizon disaster (also known as the Macondo blowout) and increasing government regulation have led to a new “culture of safety”. Part of this new outlook is a demand for products that are people and environmentally friendly, especially when things go wrong.

In response, this week we are announcing the availability of our new MarineTuff line of HaloarrestXLink LSZH-jacketed instrumentation, control and VFD cables. These cables have been certified by the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) to their highest standards for marine use.

Besides high safety characteristics, marine-certified cables provide other benefits, including faster “time to first oil”, a metric that is used for new oil production projects. Let’s consider what makes a cable safe and how such a cable can speed up large complicated oil system projects.  Read more »

Installing Category 6A: The Future is Now

Category6A-FutureCategory 6A twisted-pair copper received much attention when it first hit the marketplace in 2005. But adoption has been slow, since the 10 gigabit per second (Gb/s) capacity of Category 6A exceeds the requirements of most LAN applications. However, times are now changing. Data rates in the enterprise continue to climb. More devices than ever are being connected. Emerging applications demand higher performance and faster speeds. And those trends haven’t escaped the notice of industry standards bodies.

Let’s look at these new applications and requirements — and see if Category 6A is the future for your network.   Read more »

6 Key Considerations When Choosing Category 6A Cable

Last week’s blog post covered the uses for Category 6A cable, including emerging applications and recommendations for adoption by industry standards bodies. This week, we take a look at the factors that go into the choice of a Category 6A cable. While all Category 6A products must meet the same base set of specifications, they are surprisingly different in their physical properties, and how well they deliver at the extremes of performance. Those extremes are important, because the extremes of today are the expectations of tomorrow.   Here are the key considerations to weigh when choosing a Category 6A cable. Read more »

Three DCS Award Finalists — Make Your Vote Count

BELDEN_Banner_DCS Awards_2015

We’re delighted that, for the second year in a row, Belden products are on the shortlist for the DataCentre Solutions awards. In fact, we have three finalists. Help us spread the word about these innovative products. Voting is open now through April 23. Cast your vote now.

The finalist products are:
Datacentre Cabling Product of the Year – Belden Pre-Terminated Fiber Assemblies
Datacentre Cabinets of the Year – Belden Racks and Enclosures — Seismic Range
Datacentre Power Product of the Year – Belden Power Distribution Units

Read more »

Modular Industrial Patch Panels Improve Reliability and Flexibility

Editor’s Note: This article was created with expertise from Loredana Coscotin, product marketing manager for industrial cable.

If you have ever lived in a climate with cold winters and the power has gone out, you likely realized how much we take electricity and heating systems for granted. Not only is it inconvenient on a personal level, it impacts the economy by reducing productivity and disrupting manufacturing processes.

Thus, the organizations involved with power generation and distribution work very hard to maintain system uptime of 99.999 percent or better. Achieving that involves many strategies. An important one is to maintain a robust industrial Ethernet infrastructure for communication systems.

Analyses show that 70 percent of communication systems outages are due to failures in network components, cable and connectors. Consequently, a major manufacturer of photovoltaic (PV) power systems, SMA Solar Technology, took care to make sure its connectivity systems include high performing patch panels.

Let’s take a look at the key challenges of such installations and the role of patch panels in ensuring high reliability.

Long Island Solar Farm

Since 2011, Long Island Power Authority has used SMA Solar Technology’s ground-mounted photovoltaic panels and central inverters to generate 44,000 MWh of power per year. Photo Courtesy of Brookhaven National Laboratory.

Read more »

Making Sense of IoT

BrainIt’s easy to see how technology and the data centers behind it all are significantly changing our lives. With the number of connected devices now outnumbering the world’s population, it looks like The Internet of Things (IoT) is no longer just a vision—it’s now reality.

A quick Google search defines IoT as the “interconnection of uniquely identifiable embedded computing devices within the existing Internet infrastructure.” How’s that for a definition that really doesn’t tell us much?

Furthermore, the term “things” is rather vague. Many define the term as essentially referring to any device, machine or object with an IP address for connectivity—in other words, “things” like personal smart devices, laptops, security systems, thermostats, vending machines, stop lights, factory machinery, and even our cars.

But the “things” of IoT are so much more Read more »

Defense in Depth Cyber Security for Substation Communications

This week, the largest electric utility trade show and conference in the U.S., DistribuTECH, is being held. One of the tracks in the conference portion of the event is “Defending the Grid.” The prominence of the topic at this show, along with recent high-profile hacking attacks (Sony, Target) that have caught the attention of top management in all industries, add up to one thing – it’s time to look at or review the state of cyber defenses at your substations.

It’s not a surprise that critical infrastructure, such as the electrical grid, has been an increasing target for sophisticated cyberattacks. What may be news to you, however, is the fact that the legacy devices and protocols used in substations are particularly vulnerable to both intentional and accidental cyber incidents.

What then is the right approach to take to secure substations? It starts with the best practice of Defense in Depth.

Electrical substations are vulnerable to both intentional and accidental cyber incidents

Electrical substations are vulnerable to both intentional and accidental cyber incidents.

Read more »

The Smart Factory of the Future – Part 1

Editor’s Note: This article was created with expertise from Andreas Dreher, the strategic technology manager at Hirschmann Automation and Control.

When it comes to industrial networking today, many factories and process control facilities around the world are focused on upgrading to managed Ethernet networks. With the long, useful life of industrial devices, there is plenty of old equipment using legacy industrial protocols in active service. Indeed, much of our business involves helping companies upgrade to structured, reliable and easy-to-maintain industrial Ethernet infrastructure.

Even given this reality, it is instructive to step away from current challenges and look ahead to the Factory of the Future. What will industrial production look like 5-20 years from now? What do I need to understand about where factories are going to guide my decisions today? How will my factory compete with brand new factories that use next generation communication systems and concepts? Where does the industrial Internet of Things fit in?

This blog is the first in a series of blogs on the Smart Factory that aim to advise you about where factory production and automation are going. It applies not only to discrete manufacturing, but also to automation in the process, energy and transportation industries.

We are fortunate to have insight into this topic from our Hirschmann division, based in Germany where “Industry 4.0” is part of a large publicly funded project, to inform this discussion.

Let’s take a look at what the Smart Factory is and what characterizes its communication systems.

The Smart Factory of the Future

The Smart Factory of the Future will consist of systems that are more intelligent, flexible and dynamic than the ones in use today.

Read more »

Cabinet Access Control: Deployment Considerations

Following is another blog by guest blogger and product line manager Denis Blouin.

Earlier this month, I blogged about the importance of cabinet-level security in the data center due to the potential for internal threats. If you’ve realized the importance of bringing security down to the cabinet level and are planning to deploy a cabinet access control system, there are many features to consider when evaluating solutions.

Accessing-Keypad

Flexible and Scalable

When evaluating an access control system for data center cabinets, make sure that the system is flexible to meet your specific environment. For example, in a pod-based data centers where rows or groups of cabinets are segregated by function, you might want to require access for a group of cabinets rather than at individual cabinets. You might also want to Read more »

Bi-Modal IT: The Ying and Yang of Tomorrow’s Data Center

YingYangIn last month’s blog on SDx, I introduced the buzzword “bi-modal IT” that has been getting a lot of attention in the industry—especially following the latest research by Gartner, which states that 45% of CIOs have already gone bi-modal and 75% are expected to go bi-modal by 2017.

To recap, a bi-modal IT approach is the coexistence of traditional and modern IT practices within the same entity where some applications remain in a traditional environment due to security or reliability issues while other less critical “fail fast” applications operate within a more digital, agile model that supports fast delivery and prototyping of new technologies.   Let’s take a closer look at bi-modal IT from an organizational perspective. Read more »

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