Stay up to date on the latest in intelligent building solutions, infrastructure, and innovations from Paige Datacom Solutions.
  • Industry News
  • 05.28.2020

Strange Bedfellows: Low-voltage and Electrical Contractors

Ever since the dawn of IP cameras being attached to the data network, combined with the capability to add power over the same infrastructure through Power over Ethernet (PoE), the role of the low-voltage contractor has changed.  And, as more and more previously disparate building systems, including A/V, lighting, HVAC controls and fire safety, are now integrating through the IP network infrastructure, their responsibilities have expanded to include system designer, integrator, installer and application troubleshooter. 

Converged systems create intelligent buildings, which result in lower capital and operating expenses while providing a more reliable and cost-effective management system for all the integrated systems. As the applications merge, so do the professional resources.   Integrating intelligent building systems work best when there is a collaboration between all services – architects, building owners, facilities, IT contractors, designers and installers. This shift brings to light the importance for electrical contractors to understand the impact on their business and the value to partner with low-voltage installers.

Old World vs. New World

We think of electricity as being around much longer than low-voltage telecommunications cabling, but their paths have run in parallel. Electricity is thought as coming into existence with Thomas Edison’s discovery of the light bulb in 1879, but two years earlier, Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone.  Around the same time, an unknown Connecticut mill worker, Thomas Doolittle, devised a way to make the first hard-drawn copper wire strong enough for use by the telegraphy industry, in place of iron wire. In 1881, Lucien Gaulard of France and John Gibbs of England arranged the first successful alternating-current electrical demonstration in London. 

It took another 100 years for the first unshielded twisted pair (Category 1) to be manufactured.  It consisted of two insulated copper wires twisted around each other to eliminate crosstalk and used for telephone wire.  Category 3 in the early 1990s was the first of the four-pair twisted pair cable with simultaneous transmission with a data rate of 10 Mb/s.  Category cables evolved (up to today’s Category 8)  to meet demanding high-bandwidth applications and increasing data speeds.  

Electricians banded together early as organized unions to protect the workforce. In 1891 IBEW was formed and 10 years later, NECA emerged.  IEC (Independent Electrotechnical Commission) was formed in 1904 to secure the cooperation of technical societies to consider the standardization and ratings of electrical machinery.  This is not to be confused with Independent Electrical Contractors (also IEC), founded in 1957 with a goal to promote activities that enable the electrical industry to be conducted with the greatest economy and efficiency. IEC works closely with the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI), the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) and the National Electrical Safety Code (NESC) to develop the NEC and reviews standards created by Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (UL).  For electrical wiring, it’s understood that the National Electrical Code (NEC) is the basis for licensing of electricians.  And the NEC code is enforceable by law because it is written for safety – people and equipment. 

Because low voltage includes low-wattage power, which is defined not to exceed 90W, the installers observe a different set of rules.  Collectively cabling standards, which are best practices, are created by many associations to assure that errorless data is transmitted, and low-voltage cabling does not incur signal interruption or excessive voltage drop.  

Low-voltage cabling standard bodies include IEEE, ANSI, EIA, TIA and BICSI – each with a different function. IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Standards) provides documents that established technical criteria for electrical and transmission performance.  EIA (Electronic Industries Alliance), formed in 1957, was an American trade organization for electronics’ manufacturers that developed standards to ensure the equipment between them was compatible and interchangeable. They merged with TIA (Telecommunications Industry Association), which consisted of 60 contributing organizations including manufacturers, end users and consultants. In 1991 the first published standard, TIA/EIA-568, defined structured cabling system for commercial buildings and between buildings in campus environments. Since then, several revisions have been created to keep up with cabling types, performance characteristics, cable installation requirements and methods of testing the installed cable.  Today, EIA no longer exists, and these standards are updated under TIA’s working group, TR-42.  BICSI standards are also written by manufactures, end users and consultants to provide guidelines for the design and installation of cabling systems by Information and Communication Technology (ICT) professionals. BICSI standards are focused on all manners of industry verticals such as healthcare, data centers and intelligent buildings.  ANSI (American National Standard Institute) provides a framework for standards’ development and quality conformity assessment systems for many different industries. Both TIA and BICSI standards are accredited by ANSI.

With the merging of data and power over IP cabling for building systems, a merger of professions and cooperation between low-voltage and electricians need to take place as each bring benefits to the reliability of the systems. Unlike licensed electricians who follow the written codes under NEC, low-voltage licensing varies from state to state and can even be different within states from county to county and city to city. Each contractor must check the state and the specific locality where projects are being designed and installed.   

Handle with Care

Besides the physical differences of electrical and low-voltage cabling, there are some major differences between installation means and methods.  One of the biggest differences between structured cabling and electrical wiring is the fragility of twisted-pair copper and fiber optic cabling.  It’s easy to destroy or degrade the performance of the cable if they are not handled right or follow best installation practices.  Some of these include the maximum pull tension, bending the cable too tightly (fiber will break), and kinking the cable.  Poor installation practices can result in the data and power not being transmitted and ultimately system failure.

Also, there is much caution to be taken for over bundling the cable in pathways, especially when both data and PoE are running through the same cable as higher wattage (heat) can degrade the performance, especially with smaller cable gauge sizes. Best installation practices for pathways include adhering to fill ratios for the different pathway and cable types.  

Distance is also an important factor since standards recommend not to exceed 100 meters for copper cabling but are exceptions (check the manufacturers’ specification sheets for installation and operating temperatures and check out our GameChanger™ that exceeds performance and distances for Category 6) 

There are also rules of separation between telecommunications and electrical cables as higher voltage on electrical cables can create unwanted signal interference that affect data cables.  Lastly, when terminating a four-pair cable, an untrained technician does not know that the different color scheme of the insulation over the copper conductors must match the scheme on the connector.  An improperly terminated cable will fail a wiremap test which also attributes to system failures.

The Main Squeeze

There are degrees of competency between professions.  As disciplines continue to converge, electrical contractors with structured cabling installation experience and education will have a strong edge over their competitors without low-voltage knowledge. With the intelligent building evolution, electrical contractors can benefit themselves and their customers by getting an education in ICT and partnering with low-voltage contractors.  Proper training and accreditations are available through trade associations, such as BICSI, and training from manufacturers, who can provide specific system warranties.

The ICT profession has grown from cabling system design and installation to encompass project management, system testing and commissioning.  Since technology is constantly evolving, savvy low-voltage contractors keep ahead of their competition by consistently taking courses to gain new insight and to expand their offerings.  Low-voltage contractors realize the importance of staying relevant, and in doing so find the proper training and certification programs available to them. Available resources in the market include hands-on design and installation classes, certification training, technical conferences, virtual training and webinars.  

For electrical contractors to get into the low-voltage trade means a fundamental mind shift to become more of a customer service company, spending more time with the client and learning the technology. As the degree of separation closes in, future opportunities are for the taking for both electrical and low-voltage contractors who cannot become complacent over old world technology and do take advantage of cutting-edge training and education outside of their niche.  

  • Industry News
  • 04.29.2020

The Sign of the Times: A Wireless Explosion

With the entire world currently under “stay at home” orders, everyone who is classified with “non-essential” jobs are now working from their homes or not working at all. In doing so, everyone is realizing the importance of the “4th Utility” — the Internet. Just like flipping on a light switch or turning a faucet on for water, network connectivity is an expected deliverable. 

Can you imagine if this pandemic occurred 20 years ago when high-speed Ethernet communication was not established? The paradox of online communication has just been ratcheted up. Internet — both wired and wireless networks — are coming under immense pressure to deliver reliable connectivity as schools and businesses have shifted their day-to-day operations out of the workplace and into homes. Think of the media rich and mission critical applications, which have become part of everyone’s daily routine – video conferencing, streaming videos, online learning, news reports, telemedicine, shopping online, to name a few.

Infrastructure is an essential element in all our lives as it is everyone’s link to the world. While the nation may be on the cusp of slowly re-opening, the cable contractors and suppliers are answering the demand for the installation of more network connections, for both commercial and private use. 

Challenges and Solutions for Wi-Fi

Technology evolution waits for no one. As we are sitting on the edge of 5G, which will double the speed of 4G, and the next generation of Wi-Fi standards, wireless devices have become critical lifelines. Once students go back to school and businesses reopen, the public will be demanding more connections in every space and in every environment. With the evolution of higher speeds and bandwidths, network system designers are facing a big challenge to deliver this technology over the existing Category 5e/6/6A copper infrastructure.

Here are some trends and challenges in wireless technology identified by the Dell’Oro Group Ethernet Switch study:

  • Wi-Fi has exceeded the capacity and data rates of wired networks.
  • There is an estimated 6x growth in mobile data traffic (2017-2022).
  • More than 5.6 billion 100BASE-T and 1000BASE-T switch ports have shipped in the last 20 years with another 2.4 billion ports expected by 2022

The Ethernet Alliance, which consists of more than 45 manufacturers and suppliers has banded together to enable widespread deployment, evolve specifications and facilitate interoperability for 2.5G/5G BASE-T and beyond. WiFi-6 (IEEE 802.11 ax) will require upwards of 10 Gb/s speeds creating a Gigabit bottleneck in the infrastructure from the switch to the device.

*Image Source: Cisco

While the switch manufacturers are developing active equipment to provide both power (Power over Ethernet) and multi-gigabit technology over all four pairs at higher speeds, contractors are faced with providing connectivity and pathways out to these devices. Providing connectivity to many locations past the standards’ based 100-meter rule can be a daunting design nightmare because many wireless devices are located in remote areas -- across campuses, parking lots, warehouses, airports and sports arenas. 

So how are we seeing installers deliver the most cost effective Multigigabit WiFi? The answer is simple. It’s called “lengthonomics” – extending the cable distances without having to install additional telecom rooms or intermediate enclosures, which are cost-prohibitive and not physically feasible. The patented GameChanger Cable™ is the solution as it can more than double the distance of standard category cables (shielded, unshielded or outside plant) up to 260 meters (850 feet) for a fraction of the cost without requiring additional connectivity. The GameChanger cable supports all four types of PoE – from Type 1 which provides 15W from the powered source equipment (PSE) over two pairs all the way up to Type 4, which provides 90W from PSE through all four pairs.

How is this achieved? The GameChanger outperforms typical category cables due to increased gauge size (22 AWG), carefully designed twisting and incorporating specialty materials optimized for long-distance Ethernet applications from the switch to the device. So even when the switch is upgraded, the GameChanger meets evolving technologies.

With increasing multi-gigabit data rates, the newest wireless industry standards recognize that two cables should be pulled to each WAP to provide enough data and power (PoE). By installing two GameChanger cables, not only do they support higher bandwidths and further distances but also address future densities and additional applications. Having the cable in place in the ceiling makes future connections fast and easy. And, GameChanger pulls and terminates just like any other category cable. 

Planning is the most important aspect of the infrastructure for every real estate. Too often, many criteria for future-proofing the network is minimized due to lack of foresight. The three essential pillars of planning the infrastructure includes: 1) install as much conduit for future provisioning to be able to add robust connectivity 2) factor in as much cabling as needed for current and future applications, and 3) always make sure there is enough power in the telecom room for future active equipment changes to be able to push the signal as far as possible to the devices. Wireless pathways are underestimated in the design phase but GameChanger makes it easy to add cable runs while satisfying both data and power requirements now and in the future.

  • Industry News
  • 04.08.2020

Rethinking Outdoor Asset Protection During COVID-19

Across the country, many stores are left vacant while others have customers queued up in parking lots. This new normal has many commercial security and loss prevention managers taking a fresh look at their priorities and how the security of their premises is being impacted during this unprecedented time.  

As people hunker down at home because of coronavirus, early statistics show residential burglaries declining. On the flip side, there is evidence that burglaries of businesses and commercial locations are increasing. In New York City, statistics show that business burglaries increased 75% after businesses closed or limited operations because of COVID-19. Unfortunately, that’s a pattern that appears to be repeating across the country. 

It’s not entirely surprising that businesses and retailers usually bustling with activity and now standing empty and dark for weeks would loom as potential targets. Unfortunately, at a time when law enforcement and nearly everyone is distracted, there are criminals who will attempt to take advantage of it.

Outdoor Asset Protection

When a business is shut down and with drastically reduced traffic, the area outside the premises - from the door to the very edge of the property is likely now more vulnerable to intruders. This is the area designated by the Loss Prevention Research Council (LPRC) as Zone 4.

Paige’s Bucksaver is an asset protection solution for LPRC Zone 4, as it enables an existing security system within a business to extend its reach beyond the building. It has proven to be a reliable, user-friendly and flexible method of securing outdoor assets.

The Bucksaver system is comprised of heavy-duty, weatherproof cables that loop through merchandise stored outdoors and it can also be used to help secure storage containers, loading docks and roof access ladders.  

Bucksaver cables come in 15-foot lengths to make merchandise easily accessible, and you can daisy chain segments to create a protection loop of up to 3,000 feet. If the loop is opened or disconnected, the security system triggers a notification or an alarm condition, depending on how the security system is programmed.  

Bucksaver is also available as a wireless system, easily moving with your inventory/assets and lowering installation costs. The wireless Bucksaver can protect up to 32 loops of inventory per wireless receiver. The wireless receiver is powered by Inovonics and simply hardwired to an existing burglar alarm control panel.

Protecting Gates 

Another Paige solution for Zone 4 helps to secure a business’ perimeter, or its high security areas outdoors. The Paige Gate System extends the reach of an existing monitored security system to protect outdoor gates. This hassle-free way to secure gates reliably detects unauthorized access, without the risk of nuisance false alarms, caused for example, by the regular movement of a gate in the wind.

Adapting During Times of Crisis

Our Custom Asset Protection solutions are as simple as they are flexible. In times of crisis it's more important than ever to be able to seek out new tools and/or apply them in new and creative ways. Consider how you may need to rapidly deploy Wireless Bucksavers to protect the CONEX containers housing inventory in parking lots, or even how to use the Gate System to protect trailers backed up to loading docks. If you can imagine it, we can help you make it a reality. To get started, click chat button on the bottom right corner of your screen. We're here to help!

  • Industry News
  • 02.21.2020

Gaining CPR: How a cable spec survives global adoption

Paige’s patented GameChanger Cable™,  the first four-pair datacom cable to perform beyond the 100-meter channel distance for Ethernet data and power (PoE) was recently launched in the United Kingdom and Europe.  To gain acceptance, this cable went through rigorous testing to earn the CE “Conformitè Europëenne” mark, which is a European marking of conformity that indicates that a product complies with the requirements of the applicable European laws. The CE label is legally required to appear on many types of products sold in specific European countries to show that they meet European health, safety and environmental standards.


Where cabling that is permanently installed in the building is concerned, the CE mark means that that a product meets the safety standards specified by the European Union Directive 305/2011 Construction Products Regulation, known as CPR.  CPR was announced in the Official Journal of the European Union in 2015, which then became mandatory for cables on July, 2017.  CPR provides unified requirements for reaction to fire for power, control, communications, and optical fiber cables intended for installations in all types of construction works in all EU member states.

UL vs. CE vs. CPR

UL Listed means the product meets the standards of Underwriters Laboratories, a private safety testing organization. There are some key differences between a UL Listing and a CE Mark.  One of the biggest differences is that the UL Listing must be performed by a 3rd-party lab with approved flame and smoke tests.  Another, and probably most importantly, is that cable products used in U.S. construction may not necessarily be required by law to be UL Listed, even though most contractors choose to use UL Listed products in order to avoid potential liability issues, whereas the CE Mark is mandatory by law.

A product that is already UL Listed in the U.S. doesn’t automatically qualify for the CE Mark. If a UL Listed product has also been tested to the European harmonized standards, then it may be eligible for CE certification; however, it still must receive a CE Mark and have a Declaration of Performance certificate available before it can be used in Europe.  And on the flipside, products that carry the CE Mark are not automatically considered to be UL Listed. Some product types with the CE Mark do not have to be third-party certified and are not necessarily compliant with U.S. standards.

The CPR requires the construction products, such as cables, to be assessed against a harmonized standard or have a European Technical Assessment (ETA) before the declaration can be issued and the CE marking affixed. If there are no applicable harmonized standards and the manufacturer has not requested an ETA, then the product cannot be CE marked under the CPR and as a result, cannot be sold or installed in the EU.

Steps to obtaining the CE Mark to comply to the CPR includes: identifying the applicable harmonized European standard (hEN), review the essential characteristics (which can vary depending on the specific products), undertake initial type testing and factor production controls (which might require the involvement of a Notified Body) and finally complete a Declaration of Performance and affix the CE Marking.

One critical thing to remember for both UL Listings and CE Marks is that compliancy can differ from city to city or country to country so it is key to work with the local Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ)

Cracking the code

The GameChanger product certified for the EU to the CPR is coded to the standard “Cca-s1a, d0, a1” So, what does that coding mean?

CPR defines several classes that indicate the impact of cables on the spread of fire, using a series of parameters obtained from the corresponding tests. Refering to Table 1, cables are classified by seven performance classes, running from Aca to Fca, with Aca being the least reactive to fire.  Additional subclasses call out for smoke production, flaming droplets and acidity for cable classes B1ca, B2ca, Cca and Dca, as well as a more stringent, larger scale test using bundled cable.


Smoke production is rated on a sliding scale from s1a to s3, where s1 is the most demanding classification and s3 is for products where no performance is declared or which do not comply with the requirements of s1 or s2.

Flaming droplets during combustion is similarly rated from d0 to d2, where d0 is the most demanding and d2 is for products where no performance is declared or which do not comply with the requirements of d0 or d1.

Acidity is also rated on sliding scale from a1 to a3, where a1 is the most demanding criteria and a3 is for products where no performance is declared or which do not comply with the requirements of a1 or a2.

Table 1 CPR Classifications



Reaction to Fire

Additional Criteria


EN50399 20kW burner

IEC 60332 1kW flame

No reaction

s = smoke emission


d = flaming droplets


a = acidity


EN50399 20kW burner

IEC 60332 1kW flame

Very little reaction

Heat release + flame spread


EN50399 20kW burner

IEC 60332 1kW flame

Little reaction

Heat release + less flame spread than Cca


EN50399 20kW burner

IEC 60332 1kW flame

Reduced reaction

Heat release + flame spread


EN50399 20kW burner

IEC 60332 1kW flame

Improved reaction

Heat release criteria


IEC 60332 1kW flame

Basic reaction

Flame spread criteria



IEC 60332 1kW flame


Fails class Eca test criteria



So, let’s break it down for GameChanger’s CE Mark: Cca-s1a,d0,a1. The “Cca” rating meets a reduced flame and fire reaction as well as heat release.  The “s1a” relates to the meeting the most demanding smoke protection. Regarding flame droplets, noted as “d0” for the GameChanger relates to the most demanding droplet reduction.  And finally, “a1” for acidity also comes under the most demanding criteria.  In short, GameChanger cable meets the highest performing CPR rating to earn its premier CE Mark.

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  • Industry News
  • 12.04.2019

How Airports Are Going the Distance with Data and Video

When you think of airports, you think of big, sprawling spaces, including parking garages and terminals. It’s a large, bustling infrastructure filled with retail stores, jetways, baggage-handling facilities and boarding areas. Typically, cabling is traversing this vast interior, supporting the vital information displays that travelers depend on - and of course, an extensive network of security cameras and equipment.

Making the necessary and critical cable connections in these large airport spaces has always been cumbersome and expensive. And then along came a gamechanger, if you will.

Airports across the country have started deploying Paige’s GameChanger™ Cable, successfully reducing the need for IDF’s (Intermediate Distribution Frame), resulting in an average savings of $107,000, while eliminating potential points of failure.

The patented GameChanger Cable may look like and install like standard Cat6, but it can run twice as far. Underwriters Laboratories (UL) evaluated it and verified the claim that it delivers 1 Gbps performance and POE+ over 200 meters. See the report from UL here.

With the recent surge of interest in adopting GameChanger Cable in airports, Kristin Shaw of Airport Improvement magazine interviewed David Coleman Executive VP of Paige at the Airport Consultants Council Annual Conference. Watch the video interview here:

For more information on Airports and how to successfully meet their unique communications and cabling requirements, you are also invited to read our Airport White Paper – “Cabling the Friendly Skies

  • Industry News
  • 11.12.2019

The Heat is On: GameChanger Elevated to Meet High-Power PoE at Longer Distances

It’s been a year since high-power PoE was defined and ratified by IEEE 802.3bt. So, what has changed in the low-voltage industry and what are the challenges for system designers and contractors when selecting and installing cables for high data and high power? High-power PoE, more commonly known as Type 3 and Type 4, utilize all four pairs of a twisted-pair cable, hence IEEE 802.3bt refers to this as four-pair PoE. Type 3 can provide up to 60W of DC power from the source to a typical maximum of 51W to the device and Type 4 provides up to 100W from the source to up to 71W at each port.

Overview of Power Types by IEEE Standards:

NomenclatureStandardMin Power at PSE Output Max Power at PD InputNo of PairsMax Current per Pair
PoE (Type 1)IEEE 802.3af-2003 15.4 W13.0 W2-pairs350 mA
PoE+ (Type 2)IEEE 802.3at-200930.0 W25.5 W2-pairs600 mA
4-pair High PoE (Type 3)IEEE P802.3bt-2018 60.0 W51.0 W 4-pairs600 mA
4-pair High PoE (Type 4)IEEE P802.3bt-201890.0 W71.3 W4-pairs960 mA

The good news is that more devices, such as digital displays, laptops, televisions, access points and advanced IP cameras, can be powered through the network cable versus having to connect with other cables and to an AC outlet. Think of the freedom. Think of the cost savings. So, what’s the downside?

Turning up the heat

Category cables can power the PoE-enabled device as long as there is sufficient wattage at the source (i.e. a powered switch) to power the unit all the way till the end of the cable run and assure that the voltage has not exceeded the specified voltage drop. The voltage drop is affected by the end device requirement (typically 48V-57V), cable construction based on individual specifications and distance of the run. To calculate the voltage drop (V), multiply the current or amps (A) by the cable ohm resistance (W) which can vary between cable types.

With higher power going through the cable on all four pairs, the identified inhibitors are heat build-up within the cable and the distance limitations. It’s still classified as “low-voltage” so be assured your cable won’t melt or burn, but be concerned that the internal temperature rise can result in increased insertion loss which decreases cable efficiency and affects the entire cabling system.

There are standards and codes to help with the design and selection of the proper cable for safety and performance -- NEC NFPA-70 (2017), TIA-TSB-184-A and TIA-569-D-2. Note that TIA and NEC differ in their maximum bundle sizes. NEC’s focus is safety and the 2017 code provides an ampacity chart (Table 725.144) for up to 192 cables, based on the bundle size, maximum current (A) per conductor, AWG size and cable temperature rating. TIA is concerned with assuring the data and power arrive safely to the powered device and identifies the contributing factors as the current (A) per pair, cable category and number of cables in the bundle (not to exceed 100). TIA provides recommended mitigation techniques and best installation practices to include: reducing the bundle size (manufacturers’ recommendation is not to exceed 24); spreading the cable out within the pathway (such as open cable tray) to provide air circulation; selecting a cable with a larger conductor size (i.e. 22 AWG versus 23 or 24 AWG); and, adhering to the manufacturers’ specifications for ambient and installed temperature ratings.

Extending the distances

Since the dawn of category cable history, dating back to 1983, IEEE 802.3 defined the distance limitation of a four-pair copper cable at 100 meters (which includes the patch cords on both ends). Today this is an age-old dilemma for which many can’t figure out how this rule came into existence or why it still exists. One hundred meters was a convenient length due to legacy specifications for data transmission (10Base-T and 100Base-TX) and could be backwards compatible. The longer the run, the more the signal degraded and the problem was presumed to get worse at higher bandwidths.

For power, the voltage drop and the resistance of the copper affects the length of the copper distance. Basically, voltage drop depends on the power transmission strength sent at the powered source and the gauge of the copper cable.

The restricted reach of 100 meters can severely limit the viable locations where end users can operate a remote IP-enabled device. Most devices requiring the high power PoE extend beyond the 100-meter limitations – think wayfinding signage in an airport, or scoreboards at a stadium, or security cameras in a parking lot.

Existing alternatives to extending the reach include running a hybrid coper/fiber cable with media converters and transceivers (which will require AC power), or installing extenders or repeaters for the copper cable. These options will add cost, as well as more points of failure. For more information, check out our previous blog.

Change the rules by changing the game

It’s a fact that the signal can degrade due to external and internal noise, but with the development of newer and better manufactured cables, there is a more cost-effective and reliable option. The solution is the GameChanger from Paige Electric.

The patented GameChanger cable supports all four types of PoE out to almost 40% farther than the standard 100-meter limitation. Power is carried over the larger 22 AWG conductors and the distance is only limited by the data bandwidth and the application -- 10/100BASE-T (10/100 Mb/s) out to 260 meters (850 feet); and 1000BASE-T (1 Gb/s) out to 200 meters (656 feet).

GameChanger greatly reduces any voltage drop concerns with proven 25%-40% less voltage drop than other typical category cables due to its excellent resistance rating. See the voltage drop chart on Paige’s website.

These cables are designed for all environments, meeting all codes – riser, plenum and outside plant – and are available in unshielded or shielded. In addition, they carry a UL listing. There’s no trick as these cables install and terminate like a traditional category cables and can be certified by most major field test equipment.

Why play by the rules, when you can change the game?

This blog post was written by Carol Oliver, RCDD, DCDC, ESS, BICSI President-Elect (2020-2021)
For more about Carol Everett Oliver, visit:

  • Industry News
  • 10.05.2018

Living on the Edge, the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Extenders and Repeaters

We have written in the past about Lengthonomics. Simply put, lengthonomics is the economics of length with respect to cost of components and intermediate connection points along the way. For instance, if one can install devices out of a single IDF supporting several end devices at 200m rather than 100m, this saves the cost of installation of an additional IDF closet if one were to stick to the 100m rule for category copper channels. Costs of an IDF closet include the cost of the actual footprint, power for the equipment, security, additional equipment, maintenance costs for the equipment, power bill, etc. Estimates of these costs vary. At the minimum, for some installations the cost would also need to include hardened equipment meant to operate at higher temperatures and an enclosure, as the 100m limit puts the equipment needs in an area where air conditioning is not available.

Estimates for the costs of an IDF/Telecommunications room, or minimally a hardened, secure point of power presence range from a few thousand to well into the tens of thousands. In order to save the costly expenditures for the few links that reside outside of the 100m mark, repeaters and transceivers entered the market place. These also range in cost, complexity and reliability.

A repeater can be powered, or can be in line and use PoE, but act as a signal booster/repeater without external power. The distances supported for inline repeaters without power are significantly less that the ones that inject power via an external power supply. Also, the inline, non-powered repeaters degrade the digital transmission signal and power as they add connections into a channel and will not support the same lengths as their powered counterparts.

Transceivers are another product designed to allow longer circuits via a digital to optical conversion which allows fiber like lengths for digital equipment signalling. As fiber is not capable of providing the PoE family of powered applications, the fiber must be run with either external power for the end devices or accompanied by an additional channel of copper, so the end device will receive power. Hybrid copper and fiber cables exist, but they are expensive and should either the copper or fiber fail one would need to rerun one or both.

Other problems can arise out of the use of repeaters and transceivers. First, they are active and as such are subject to failure. When they fail, if documentation is not adequate, they can be difficult to locate and often times a new channel is run as it is more time effective leaving an abandoned cable in the pathway. There is not guaranty of interoperability between manufacturers, so for those failures, you can be stuck with the same manufacturer to replace the failed component as the failed component. Tranceivers and repeaters add costs to the channel and labor to install them. They add an additional points of failure and the equipment adds an additional point of risk. As the channel requirements change, you may need to run new channels or procure new repeaters and transceivers which can make the solution even less cost effective over time.

In a study completed by MSB Security Consulting, a comparison of 106 cameras in a parking structure showed the following totals:

GameChanger cable                                             $ 22,305 

Category 6 with repeaters                                   $104,525 

Powered fiber                                                        $126,172 

Powered fiber without media converters            $116,935

All costs are exclusive of labor which, of course, will be higher with additional components. As you can see the lengthonomics of GameChanger is roughly 80% less than the next closest option, while eliminating points of failure and risk. For those of you that have missed the news, GameChanger cable is UL Verified to support Gigabit Ethernet with PoE+m 200m without repeaters or tranceivers. For 10Mb/s and PoE+ that distance increases to 850.'

Lastly, with repeaters and tranceivers, testing is an issue. When you add repeaters and transceivers, you can test each individual component of the channel, but you can’t test the channel end to end as the channel is over the limits of traditional testers. To test, one hopes the sum of all parts is going to work. With GameChanger you can test the channel end to end with the standard cable testers equipped with GameChanger parameters.

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