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Stay up to date on the latest in intelligent building solutions, infrastructure, and innovations from Paige Datacom Solutions.
  • Technology News
  • 11.16.2021

There Is a Hole in the Boat: Why Access Control Professionals Need to Move From Wiegand to OSDP

Many of the people reading this publication are, presumably, security professionals who take pride in leveraging their expertise to use technology to protect people and property. A large number likely focus on access control solutions to prevent unauthorized entry into controlled facilities and areas.

As unfortunate as it is to say, statistically speaking, the probability is that many readers are not doing a good enough job. It sounds harsh, but someone must tell the captain when there is a hole in the boat, and when it comes to most access control systems being installed today, the truth is there is a hole in the boat.

Continue reading on the Security Industry Association's Website....

For more information on OSDP Access Control wiring check out our landing page.

Want to see how easy it is to hack a Wiegand Access Control System, check out this video from our YouTube page.


  • Announcements
  • 07.08.2021

See you at ISC-W 2021!

Join us at ISC West 2021 - booth 6050

It's been too long and we miss seeing your three dimensional faces! (Zoom's ok, but nothing beats the real thing.)  

Taking place July 19-21, 2021 at the Sands Expo in Las Vegas, the International Security Conference & Exposition - known as ISC West - looks forward to welcoming the security & public safety industry back to accelerate market recovery and redefine the roadmap ahead. 

With ISC West, you will have the opportunity to network and connect with thousands of security & public safety professionals, learn from the dynamic SIA Education@ISC program, plus explore the last technologies in Access Control & Visitor Management, Video Surveillance, Alarms & Monitoring, Emergency Response and Public Safety, while discovering emerging solutions in IT/IoT Security, Smart Home Solutions, Drones & Robotics, and more! The combination of products, networking opportunities, special events, award ceremonies, and educational programming all in one place truly makes ISC West the industry's most comprehensive & converged event in the U.S.

Want to register today for free? Click here!

  • Industry News
  • 06.21.2021

Redefining Category 6: Delivering 2.5 Gb/s and 90W of PoE Power to 200m

With the explosion of high-speed Wi-Fi and the Internet of Things (IoT), applications hopping on the existing copper cabling LAN network, Gigabit Ethernet became a serious bottleneck.  The majority of today’s installed LAN copper cabling (Category 5e or 6) was designed for 1 Gigabit per second (Gb/s). Upgrading to 10 Gb/s Ethernet was the next higher data rate within the standards but that meant retrofitting to Category 6A, which would be an expensive option of “rip and replace.” (Note: Actually, before Category 6A was ratified, Category 6 was defined to support 10G, but distance was limited to 55m.)

In addition to requiring higher speeds for data, other devices that are now attaching to the IP network also require power (Power over Ethernet or PoE) over the same data cabling. Among these are security cameras, access control, digital signage and of course the biggest bandwidth hog - wireless access points (WAPs).  PoE technology reduces installation costs and time by allowing power and data to run over a single twisted-pair cable. But running power with data also comes with additional challenges as temperatures may rise within the cable possibly degrading the data signaling.  This is especially a concern when providing 90W (or more) of power as defined for devices classified as  IEEE 802.3bt Type 4.

 Another challenge for the IP networked devices is their location, such as in remote parking lots or expansive stadiums, which often exceed the Ethernet standards’ distance limit of 100m. Bandwidth, heat and distance have become major concerns for existing Category 6 which has pushed Ethernet to the limit. Luckily there is one cable that defies all limits and is verified to run higher bandwidth, high PoE and twice the distance − the GameChanger Cable™ from Paige.

 

Wi-Fi Drives 2.5 Gb/s and 5 Gb/s 

 Wireless technology continues to jump ahead as multi-gigabit Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 5 access points are being deployed pushing the bandwidths even higher. This  increased performance capacity created a need for Ethernet rates higher than 1 Gb/s to run on existing cables.

Since the next copper cabling IEEE standard after 1 Gb/s  was defined as 10 Gb/s (IEEE 10GBASE-T) and required Category 6A (or higher), IEEE published the 802.3bz standard (2016) for multi-gigabit Ethernet. This standard defined transmission of high speed and power for Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) and Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac), while using existing Category 5e and Category 6 twisted pair copper cabling. In addition, multi-gig switching enabled 2.5 Gb/s and 5 Gb/s speeds on existing cables, which brought the potential to breathe new life into copper-based infrastructures, while expanding and improving Wi-Fi.  This also provided the ability to add in high-bandwidth IoT capabilities as these evolve – without replacing the existing cabling plant.

 In reality, the technology of IEEE 802.3bz is based on 10GBASE-T, but operates at a lower signaling rate. By reducing the original signal rate to one-quarter or one-half, the link speed could drop to 2.5 or 5 Gb/s, referred to as 2.5GBASE-T or 5GBASE-T or NBASE-T and MGBASE-T, respectively.  To be able to run over the existing Category 5e and Category 6, the actual spectral bandwidth of the signal is also reduced, which helped lower the cable requirement from Category 6A. Therefore, using the IEEE 802.3bz standard, not only does it not reduce the cost of cabling, but also it can achieve up to five times the data transmission rate.  

 

Pushing Beyond the Limits 

This multi-gigabit Ethernet standards resolve the bandwidth and speed challenges, but the distance limitation was an additional challenge.  Recognized options including adding another telecom room with additional active switches or utilizing a hybrid fiber/copper cable that can greatly extend the distance but will require media conversion at the device end.   Both of these are costly solutions. Paige offers the best solution with GameChanger Cable™, a four-pair UTP cable that does it all – pushes the bandwidth limit to 2.5 Gb/s, doubles the distance, all while safely running 90W of power to the device. GameChanger is a 22 AWG UTP cable that allows those long-distance IP runs without additional electronics.  

 UL, an independent third-party lab,  verified GameChanger’s ability to run data up to 2.5BASE-T  and 90W of PoE out to 200 meters.  UL primarily tests and inspects products primarily test for safety and specification.  GameChanger was tested for specification under two different conditions – server to server and the other utilizing a pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) IP-enabled security camera.   GameChanger surpassed four separate tests that included: Test# 1: 1Gb/s connection @ 200 meters; Test# 2: 2.5Gb/s connection @ 200 meters; Test# 3: 10Mb/s connection @ 850 feet; and Test# 4: 802.3bt 90W PoE 1Gb full draw over 200m.

 Earning UL’s verified mark demonstrates that Paige’s performance claim of GameChanger Cable has been verified through an independent repeatable assessment.  It ultimately helps the end user as they have 100% assurance that the specification will match that performance.  Once again, GameChanger is proven as the easiest and most cost-effective way to extend the network past the 100m limit with increased bandwidth and highest PoE with highest performance. 

  • Industry News
  • 04.14.2021

Economic Growing Pains

Economic Growing Pains: Slower Supply Chains, Limited Supply Pointing to Increases in Prices and Lead Times

The world is opening back up and that’s a good thing. However, as elements of our economy open back up it’s not as if we can just pick up where we left off a year or so ago. As commercial and consumer spending shifted around the world, so to did our global supply chain. If you’re reading this blog you’re probably familiar with the historic rally in the Copper commodity market over the last year but what you may not be hearing about is that we’re seeing inflationary pressure across the board.   The major drivers have been grouped into the following categories:

  • Copper (Conductor Material)
  • Compounds (Insulating and Jacketing Material)
  • Logistics (International and Domestic Shipping)
  • Packaging (Lumber and Cardboard)

I’ll share a number of charts that track the prices of each commodity to give you a sense of the dramatic increases we’ve seen over the last year or so. One important thing to keep in mind, these commodity prices represent the material in their raw forms. To transform them into useable materials for wire and cable they must each undergo processes which add to / amplify the increases.

A second important (and confounding) factor putting upward pressure on prices is that none of these factors consider the delays at all US ports of entry (as long as 6 weeks unloading material), or the driver shortage affecting the trucking industry which are contributing factors to a nationwide shortage of these raw materials.

It’s a perfect storm, and it may get worse. From where I sit today, all indications seem to point to continuing increases in prices and lead times.

Charts provided by Trading Economics

Let’s start with copper. For the last couple years, COMEX Copper has traded between $2.50 and $3.00/lb. For reference, the all-time high price topped $4.47 in June of 2011. A few weeks ago, copper climbed as high as $4.34/lb and is currently around $4.19/lb which represents a 100% increase since March 22, 2020. 

As I mentioned earlier, this is just the raw material in its basic bar form. Before it can transmit your signal, the copper is melted down, drawn and rolled into rod which is then drawn down to 9 gauge in the intermediate drawing process and then depending on the wire being made will get a fine drawing to say 23 gauge for Cat6 conductors or for stranded products like speaker wire, it needs to be drawn down to 30 gauge where 65 fine strands get bunched (twisted) together before they can be insulated. Several of these processes could take place in different factories or different parts of the world. All of these steps add to the price of “usable” copper and increases of course are amplified as the raw materials get closer to becoming a final product.

While copper is a major driver of material costs of wire, it’s far from the only factor.  If you’ve ever terminated wire (or really taken a close look at it) you’d see other materials for insulating and jacketing that are made from various types of plastics (yes there are non-plastic materials involved too, but I’m not getting into those here.). Those insulating and jacketing compounds (polyethylene, propylene, etc.) are petroleum based and as Crude prices increase so to do the compound prices.

Resin Prices April 2020 - April 2021
(chart provide by The Plastics Exchange)
In addition to Crude Oil prices having increased increased over 300% in the last year, there are even more critical factors at hand for the resin markets. Back in late February a storm hit Texas and shut down approximately 80% of US resin production. and while most resin reactors have restarted,  most producers remain under force majeure and allocations are intact. The problems in the US don't exist in a vacuum and as such the sector is experiencing “severe shortages of raw materials and [unprecedented] price increases,” according to the European Plastics Converters (EUPC) association. According to the PlasticsExchange, "This Polypropylene environment has been like none other in our 20 years of making spot resin markets."


The end of the manufacturing process also has some surprises for us as well. The cost of lumber is at an all-time high (as of today it’s $1,212 per 1,000 board feet). Wood products (think everything from lumber used to frame your house to wood pulp used for toilet paper to cardboard boxes used to deliver your packages) are all effected and so too are the costs of our reels, boxes and skids used to package and carry your wire.

Logistics costs have been another dramatic source of price increase and limited supply recently. Driver shortages have plagued the trucking industry for a few years now and in addition to rising prices at the pump, trucking companies are having to increase wages to attract more drivers. And as far as International logistics are concerned the problems are even more complicated. Lumber Prices April 2020 - April 2021There’s a shortage of shipping containers that’s partly due to the box makers themselves cutting back on production ahead of the lockdown only to be met with unforeseen demand from US consumers buying all sorts of pandemic-rated goods (think IT equipment to work from home, DIY improvements, PPE, etc.) The result has been that shipments that used to take 4-6 weeks and cost $2,000 are now taking 12-14 weeks and cost $8,000.

If you’re still reading at this point, I think you get the idea. Our global economy is surging in some unexpected ways and the short-term effects have clearly resulted in a slower supply chain with higher prices. I don’t pretend to know when prices will cool off and lead times will return to normal, but if you’re business counts on wire to get the job done, please plan accordingly, I know ours is! 

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  • Industry News
  • 04.01.2021

OSDP: The Only Secure Access Control Option

OSDP: The Only Secure Access Control Option

 Access control technology has come a long way from the very first method of  “Knock, knock!”  “Who’s there?” to  becoming an integrated network application within an intelligent building.  In the early 1970’s access control moved to being electronically controlled, but still somewhat siloed with the primary function to create barriers from unauthorized persons.  With the introduction a smartphone in 2007, security moved to being controlled and monitored on a remote device, connected to the Internet. Access control systems included both mechanical and electronic hardware devices from basic physical keys and door locks spanning to advanced access control systems encompassing IP features such as biometrics.  As we return to our places of work, a new purpose of access control is emerging to include promoting wellness of inhabitants in addition to safety. Today almost every commercial and residential building employ some sort of electronic access control system and is a collaboration between IT and physical security.

According to ANSI/BICSI-007-2020 standard, “Information Communication Technology Design and Implementation Practices for Intelligent Buildings and Premises,” the components of an access control system are classified into the following levels:

  • Level 1 – Central equipment processing, recording, software, and database
  • Level 2 – Controllers for intelligent field processing (e.g., data gathering panel)
  • Level 3 – Peripheral devices (e.g., card reader, lock, door position switch)
  • Level 4 – Credentials (e.g., cards, fobs, biometrics, personal identification numbers [PINs], passwords) 

All of these can be integrated into the data network to provide a complete integrated access control system. Connectivity to edge devices, such as peripheral devices allow sensors to monitor and control passage through entryways. These devices are classified into these categories:

  • Door contacts—used for monitoring an open or closed door.
  • Readers
  • Electrified door hardware
  • Request-to-exit devices (REX)

COVID-19 also seems to be accelerating the shift in access control to become mobile and cloud-based solutions.  However, the merging of physical and logical access control systems still face many challenges that impede the journey to a truly digital infrastructure. Designing and implementing a network-based access control system includes assuring that the installed infrastructure utilizes the most secure cabling with advanced security and IP communication capabilities, in addition to being able to update and integrate with other devices.  

OSDP as the New Gold Standard for Access Control

The Security Industry Association (SIA) industry introduced the Open Supervised Device Protocol (OSDP) as the essential standard for access control communications to enable digital access control features with advanced data encryption.

It’s easy to see understand why OSDP has become the security industry’s gold standard replacing old Wiegand-based systems and wiring protocols. Prior to OSDP there was a disconnect between the multiple device components including the readers, hardware, door contacts and controllers. OSDP has advanced functionality and provides a roadmap to future access control devices. 

Wiegand dominated the access control industry for decades but hasn’t kept up to today’s requirements for many critical functions such as secure encryption, which is vital to protect against intercepting transmissions between proximity cards and readers.  Wiegand offers only one-way communication, which becomes vulnerable to “sniffers” and hackers, whereas OSDP has bi-directional communications and supports AES-128 encryption, as used in federal government applications.  This prevents hackers from intercepting data transfers. With bi-direction communication, access control systems are continuously monitored to protect against failed, missing, malfunctioning or tampered readers. OSDP utilizes the RS-485 protocol for the cabling and facilitates longer distances and is more robust to mask interference.

There are even more reasons to make a move to OSDP. Wiegand readers require homerun pulls from the control panel to each peripheral device. OSDP has a concept called “multi-drop” that allows devices to daisy chain directly from the controller to the reader and then to a secondary reader and so on.  This reduces the number of ports on the controller, as well as the number of individual cable runs, saving on cabling and installation time.   OSDP requires as few as two pairs compared to 6-12 (or more) conductors used in Wiegand.  In addition, OSDP works with biometric devices and allows for remote configurations and upgrades, while Wiegand employs time-consuming workarounds. 

Composite OSDP Access Control Cable by Paige

 

Connecting with Paige OSDP Cable

Recently Paige introduced a family of OSDP composite cables for today’s most advanced access control systems utilizing the OSDP protocol. The low-capacitance card reader component allows for distances to extend out to 4,000’ versus being limited to 500’ with Wiegand. In addition, to having fewer wires OSDP leverages the bi-directional communication to allow for simplified remote upgrades and configurations not possible with Wiegand systems. Because these are based on OSDP standards, they can easily integrate with other building systems like video or gunshot detection.   

The Paige OSDP reader cable consists of 2 pairs of 24 AWG stranded bare copper cable with an overall tinned copper shield and a low-smoke PVC plenum-rated jacket. Meeting RS-485 communication protocols this cable is available in 1000’ lengths. 

The composite cable consists of four components that are cabled together with an overall yellow jacket. The cable is rated to a 75°C operating temperature and meets UL-444 plenum rating and is available in lengths of 500’ and 1000’. Cables can be spliced together to extend the distance. The individual cable components are color-coded to allow easy application identification. The components include:

  • Component 1: Reader - Orange inner jacket, shielded with 24 AWG/2 conductors; 
  • Component 2: Contacts - White inner jacket, unshielded with 22 AWG/4 conductors;
  • Component 3: REX/Power - Blue inner jacket, shielded 18 AWG/4 conductors;
  • Component 4 - Lock Power or AUX: Gray inner jacket, unshielded 18 AWG/4 conductors.

If you want to make sure your access control system is integrated into your intelligent building to deliver the highest security capacities, contact Paige: https://www.paigedatacom.com/osdp

 

  • Industry News
  • 02.15.2021

How ANM Transformed an Airport's IT Infrastructure

This case study explains how Advanced Network Management (ANM) simplified the IT infrastructure for an International Airport while reducing costs and eliminating potential points of failure.

The Situation


ANM, an IT consultancy based in Albuquerque, NM was asked to participate in a large security system upgrade project at a major airport in the Western US.

  

ANM’s role was to upgrade the security camera infrastructure of approximately 700 cameras at the airport. Since higher resolution, PTZ cameras were being installed, it would also be necessary to upgrade most of the cabling that supports these new cameras. All the existing IP cameras had been on Cat5 and Cat5E and many of the original cameras at the airport were analog and using coax cabling and copper power conductors.

  

Like most airports, there was an immense, sprawling layout that would require numerous long-distance cable runs. In many cases, the location where the camera was needed would easily exceed the typical Category 6 cable distance of 100 meters to the nearest IDF or network closet. 


The Solution


John Pace, ANM’s Project Manager and his team considered various options for the airport project. The initial plan that was considered would utilize fiber, along with copper conductors to power remote media converters. However, the client’s IT staff preferred not having new devices placed across the facility and Pace said they “did not want to have a scenario where devices could fail out in the field and would have to be located and dealt with by their staff at a later date.”


John Pace then discovered an alternative solution - GameChanger Cable from Paige. And for this installation, it did in fact, prove to be a game changer. 


With GameChanger Cable, ANM found an easy, fast, and cost-effective way to take networking infrastructure beyond the 100-meter limit. With increased gauge size, carefully designed twisting and specialty materials, GameChanger is optimized for long distance Ethernet applications. It is UL verified to deliver 1 Gb/s performance and PoE+ over 200 meters. UL has also verified it to deliver 10 Mb/s over 850 feet.


As John Pace described, “GameChanger turned out to be a very viable cost-effective alternative to running fiber and media converters, in the instances where the cabling requirements exceeded 328 feet for a network drop.” He added, “The GameChanger was a really good option from a cost-effectiveness standpoint and the ability to eliminate any kind of media converters or signal boosters or anything in-line on these cable runs.”


Click to download the full case study

 John Pace shelved the original plan to use fiber as “obviously that was cost prohibitive compared to the GameChanger.” He added, “In addition to the cost factor with the fiber and the media converters, we avoided adding additional points of failure into the system by being able to use GameChanger. So that was a win-win for us and the airport.”

After successfully using GameChanger Cable in the airport, John Pace feels it can be “a perfect fit” for all kinds of other projects, especially those where “their infrastructure is already established, and their budgets are limited.” He sees it as potentially an ideal solution for the numerous projects they do on school campuses, and he says that GameChanger “will be in our arsenal of solutions to these kinds of long-distance problems.” 


About ANM


ANM is ranked by CRN as one of the fastest growing technology solutions providers in the U.S. It specializes in the fastest-growing areas of IT, including enterprise networking, cloud, remote workforce solutions, collaboration, security, cabling, and audio visual. ANM was founded in 1994 and maintains its headquarters in Albuquerque, NM and has additional locations throughout the western United States.  


Looking to have your work featured in a case study? Leave us a note here.

  • Industry News
  • 01.05.2021

4 Use Cases for Testing Long Haul Twisted Pair Cabling

4 Use Cases for Testing Long Haul Twisted Pair Cabling

Many cable install professionals are under the false impression that a cable tester only needs to verify twisted pair copper up to -- but not exceeding -- 100 meters (328 feet) in length. While it is true that most two- and four-pair 802.3 Ethernet standards do indeed have a maximum distance limitation at the 100-meter mark, there are plenty of other uses and standards that require a tester to verify proper cable operation well beyond 100 meters. This includes cabling projects for the Internet of Things (IoT), Industrial IoT (IIoT) and many surveillance camera deployments over twisted pair copper. In this article, we're going to point out four different real-world use cases where a cable test unit must be capable of validating copper runs up to 1000 meters.

1. Intelligent building control systems

A major part of the IoT movement is to make the buildings we work in smarter. Newly built constructions are receiving intelligent control systems right out of the gate. Older buildings are being retrofitted with similar systems that meter, monitor and automate many building functions. These technologies can be used to better control energy costs of electrical and mechanical systems while also automating previously manual processes. Ultimately, intelligent building controls provide the precise HVAC and lighting/power needs when and where occupants need them while conserving these resources everywhere else. 

The problem is, many intelligent building control system components are dispersed throughout large building campuses. At the same time, they also require constant and fully connected communications. Many leverage the use of serial interfaces over twisted pair copper as a way to allow long haul connections to connect building control components located hundreds or thousands of feet away. Thus, once your business clients begin implementing these types of intelligent systems, expect the need to run and verify twisted-pair cabling well beyond 100 meters.

2. IoT sensors using single pair Ethernet (SPE)


Example 10Base-T1L 1000m (802.3cg) Test

 Example 10Base-T1L 1000m (802.3cg) TestThere are any number of new IoT sensors that are hitting the enterprise market in 2019 and beyond. Examples include sensors that measure temperature, humidity, smoke, pressure, acceleration and chemical levels. Sensors can be used to monitor areas that demand consistent temperature/humidity levels such as in a data center. Other uses are to identify objects/people in proximity to a sensor and send alerts when the object or person moves. Sensors can also be used to rapidly alert building occupants of a dangerous event such as a fire, gas/carbon monoxide/chemical leak or other dangerous environmental situation.


One interesting aspect of these types of sensors is that they typically don’t require even close to 1 Gbps or higher throughput rates that common 802.3 Ethernet data protocols provide. That said, IoT sensor deployments do often require cable runs that extend far beyond common 10/100/1000BASE-T distance limitations of 100 meters. That’s why many are looking at Single pair Ethernet (SPE) for future IoT deployments. SPE is a relatively new standard (IEEE 802.3cg) that allows for cable runs up to 1000 meters using only a single pair of Category 5e cabling or better. Runs can extend this far while also providing data speeds of 10Mbps. 

 Expect IoT sensor manufacturers to begin adopting the SPE standard in their hardware to further increase ease of deployment within large buildings, office campuses or even entire municipalities.

3. Manufacturing and warehouse automation

Manufacturing plants and warehouses are regularly being revamped with the latest in smart assembly lines and robotics. These technologies help to decrease process times, reduce outages, eliminate waste, and increase safety protections. This is often accomplished using intelligent monitoring, augmented reality and advanced analytics. The problem is, all these platforms, sensors and robots must be centrally connected. This often means that twisted pair cabling used to connect these types of systems will far exceed 100 meters. While this has been the case for manufacturing/warehouse environments for years, the need for long cable runs is only going to increase.

4. CCTV deployments

The demand for closed circuit television (CCTV) and other security control and surveillance systems is growing at a rapid rate. The reason for this is the fact that one can now deploy high-quality and high-definition surveillance cameras at a fraction of the cost compared to even a decade ago. Thus, to ensure the safety of employees, partners and guests within a building or campus – as well as to provide insurance policy protections against robberies, thefts and frauds – CCTV is a wise investment. That said, many CCTV cameras must be installed at considerable distances away from the central network. Cameras are often positioned at remote gates and entrances, building outposts and on rooftops. Thus, many manufacturers offer the ability to stream CCTV feeds over twisted pair cabling up to 1000 meters in length.

Is your test equipment capable of verifying operational status of cabling up to 1000 meters?

Cable test equipment manufactures only guarantee their test results up to a certain distance limitation. In many cases, this distance is far below what you might need given today’s demand for long haul twisted pair runs. In order to prepare for the increase in long haul runs, be sure to have test tool like the AEM CV100 which can verify twisted pair runs up to 1 KM in length. The CV100’s standard autotest supports testing twisted-pair cabling up to 600 meters. If you require testing beyond this length, there is a special test mode for cables that range between 500 and 1000 meters.

Long Cable Setting for 500m to 1km Testing

 Showing GamerChanger Cable Type inSetup

 

 













Many field test units on the market today aren’t capable of testing this far. Considering the growing need for building control systems IoT sensors, IIoT and CCTV long cable runs, long haul verification tests are definitely a function of the CV100 test tool that you’ll put to good use.

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