What will 2019 bring to the Telecom industry?
5G is the latest generation of cellular mobile communications. It succeeds the 4G (LTE/WiMax), 3G (UMTS) and 2G (GSM) systems. 5G performance targets high data rate, reduced latency, energy saving, cost reduction, higher system capacity, and massive device connectivity.
An estimated 4.5 billion mobile users worldwide subscribe to 4G data plans and that figure is expected to balloon to 7.7 billion by 2021.
Telecommunication companies are now testing out fifth-generation mobile networks, which promise to be significantly faster than their predecessors. How fast? Users accessing 4G networks can download one feature-length film in eight minutes. Those equipped with 5G connections would be able to complete the same activity in fewer than five seconds. Technology is still in its early stages, as carriers, software and hardware providers work together in achieving great results out in the real world.
No more Telecommunications cabling required?
I hope the title of the article caught your attention so you can prepare yourself for another year of hype and misinformation. Who needs cabling as everything is going wireless? Just read the volumes of articles about 5G will replacing the nbn, WiFi 5, 6, 7 etc removing the need for cabling altogether. Can this be true, or should we take stock and understand what is on offer?
Wireless technology that we all use daily can be divided into two main areas, mobile phone and WiFi. In both, development has progressed along the lines of the development of the Category cables be it in a lot shorter time span. Cables started as telephone cabling and then become known loosely as Category 3 then eventually it graduated to Category 4 5, 6 and now we’re up to 8. In the case of the wireless technology the same has occurred, we started with GSM which delivered the early mobile phone (this was the most common technology not the only one). When that was upgraded, we moved to 3G (as in 3rd generation) and we have since moved into 4G and yes, 5G is coming but is not here yet. The same thing is happening in WiFi. As the technology evolves, we have moved from plain WiFi to WiFi 4, 5 and 6. In both cases the higher the number the faster the throughput and the lower the latency (latency being the time it takes the signals to travel through the network).
Currently we have 3G and 4G mobile technology which allows you to use your mobile phone anywhere in range of a mobile tower (see Figure 1) or if you go into a more upmarket modern office block and it has a Distributed Antenna System (DAS) installed.
Figure 1 mobile phone antenna systems.
Under the 5G world the architecture will change significantly as the number of antenna or Mobile Access Points (AP) will need to increase significantly. In fact, the coverage is so much more limited that it will be necessary to have 5G APs in buildings and on every floor. All this will mean more fibre and copper cable to provide the necessary bandwidth and powering for the access points. The powering of the access points will be done using remote power feeding telecommunications technologies to be able to not only power it but manage it and provide back up during main power failure.
Figure 2 This is an example of Commscope’s Centralised Radio Access Network connected by Cat 6A
Whilst Figure 2 shows Cat 6A cabling supporting the internal mobile network. There could be an alternative solution which may power feed using voltage in ES3 category which are hazardous. See the latest version of AS/CA S009 to find out more about ES3 when it comes out later on this year or do a web search. If ES3 voltages are used the cabling will most probably require specialised cables and installation practices.
In the case of WiFi the story is similar. More cabling will be required to each AP to support the increasingly faster speeds being demanded. The WiFi Alliance has already developed the certification branding for the faster technologies to support the recognition of the service grade.
Figure 3 Certification logos for higher speed WiFi
Currently the recommended cabling to support the higher speed WiFi generations is two category 6A cable. The reason for two cables is based on providing the power and the bandwidth. So, this is an extension of structured cabling.
So, if you hear anyone saying there is no need for cabling so no need for cablers, it’s simply not true so make sure you keep up with the technological developments. Whilst reading articles like this is a good way of keeping up, you cannot beat throwing yourself into the deep end and making sure you do some ongoing professional development. Keep in mind, cabling is not just cabling, it is only as good as the installation practices used.
Article provided by: Ian Millner
Have you retired from workforce?
If you have retired from the industry and no longer require your cabling registration, please contact ACRS. In doing so, we will no longer constantly send you renewal reminders. ACRS will flag your registration as “retired” and you can continue to enjoy a happy and healthy retirement.
Are you returning to the workforce?
The Australian Government is encouraging people to continue to work for as long as possible, way beyond 65 years.
Lifelong learning can enhance your knowledge of today’s world, and will not only provide better quality of life, but will create better opportunities within the workforce. Employers are continually looking for well-balanced people with transferable skills, and able to demonstrate that you are adaptable and willing to learn.
If you hold a current OPEN registration and looking to extend your skills and knowledge, you can complete some educational courses.
It is a mandated requirement by the ACMA to have the appropriate competencies applicable to the specialised cabling work you will be undertaking.
If you are working with structured cabling, coaxial cable or fibre optics, these specialised cabling competencies will need to be completed to upskill your registration.
These competencies form the basis for training programs developed by industry skills councils and delivered by recognised training organisations.
If you have not completed the relevant competencies, please contact your NECA training centre who will offer you expert advice in selecting the relevant course that suits your needs or click here for a full list of registered training organisations Australia wide. Click here for RTO listing
NECA Training NSW 02 9188 4424
NECA Education & Careers VIC 03 9381 1922
NECA CET Joondalup WA 08 9233 5000
NECA CET Jandakot WA 08 6595 6600
OPTICAL FIBRE, STRUCTURED CABLING AND COAXIAL COMPETENCIES
Duration: 5 days
This skill set is designed for people wishing to extend their ACMA Open Cabling Registration with Fibre Optic, Structured Cabling and Coaxial Cabling specialist competencies.
This course will provide you with the training, skills and knowledge to install these cables in homes and commercial buildings for computer and telecommunication networks.
Once you have completed the course you will be issued with a transcript that lists the following national units, which can be added to your OPEN registration.
ICTCBL301 Install terminate and certify structured cabling installation
ICTCBL302 Install and terminate optical fibre cable on customer premises
ICTCBL303 Install and terminate coaxial cable.
Duration: 2 days
This course provides participants with the required skills and knowledge required to install aerial cable supports in domestic, commercial or industrial communications applications.
Includes digital and analog, telephony, data, video, digital broadcasting, computer networks, local area networks (LAN), wide area networks (WAN), master antenna television (MATV), cable television (CATV), closed-circuit television (CCTV), long term evolution (LTE) and multimedia.
The course includes the following unit which allow you to apply for the Aerial cabling specialisation on your ACRS Open Cablers registration
ICTCBL309 – Construct aerial cable supports
ICTCBL310 – Install aerial cable
Duration: 3 days
This course provides the skills and knowledge required to install underground enclosures and conduit, either direct buried or in pits, for new or cable maintenance tasks in access networks for outdoor installations within client premises or in public locations permitted by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).
The course includes the following units which allow you to apply for the Underground cabling specialisation on your ACRS Open Cablers registration
ICTCBL307 – Install underground enclosures and conduit
ICTCBL308 – Install underground cable
Quality Assurance and your obligation as a Cabler
Registered cablers must:
· Carry their registration card and be prepared to show it to customers when requested.
· Provide your customers with a signed TCA1 form at the end of the job stating the work completed and meets all the relevant standards. If you have this form you are covered for the work you did, not the work you didn’t do.
· Cabling work must comply with the industry standards AS/CA S009:2013 (wiring rules).
· The wiring rules detail the minimum requirements for cabling installations to ensure that network integrity and the health and safety of end-users, other cablers and carrier personnel is protected.
AS/CA S009:2013 can be downloaded here to your phone/tablet:
New NBN consumer rules
Complaints-handling Standard-outcomes of investigations
The ACMA completed 38 investigations into telco complaints-handling processes. Four telcos were issued with remedial directions, and 27 were given formal warnings. Three providers contravened the standard, but no enforcement action was taken. Four providers did not breach the complaints-handling rules.
Further information of the investigation can be located at the ACMA website.
Review of regulation of telecommunications customer cabling
The ACMA received 31 submissions to this consultation and they have been uploaded onto the ACMA’s website.
“The industry submissions were consistent in that they did not want a reduction in regulation and ensure the integrity of the network and the health and safety of end-uses is protected. In fact, the submissions largely called for ACMA to be more active in its compliance role. The submissions also pointed out the continuing electrical dangers that still exist in both commercial and domestic dwellings and the safety concerns relating to cabling work”.
You can access the submissions here:
The ACMA – Action on telco safeguards: October to December 2018
Completed 38 investigations of compliance with the ACMA’s new
Complaints-handling Standard, resulting in enforcement action against 31
providers-including issuing four remedial directions and 27 formal
Conducted an audit of 25 providers’ compliance relating to providing Key Facts Sheets and advertising NBN plans under the ACMA’s new Consumer Information Standard.
Following investigations into TPG/PIPE Networks’ compliance with the new Mobile Phone Base Station Deployment Code, the ACMA issued a direction to comply to PIPE Networks. The code requires mobile providers to consult local councils and communities before deploying mobile phone infrastructure.
Accepted an enforceable undertaking from Telstra to improve the delivery of
the Triple Zero emergency call service, following an ACMA investigation in
the second half of 2018.
The ACMA’s key telco consumer advisory group-the Consumer Consultative Forum-discussed consumer priorities for 2019.
Heat rise in cabling could cause fire or cable failure
Murray Teale explains how changes to the long-standing information and communication equipment safety standard will see the emergence of new energy classifications.
While the industry awaits the ratification of 100W power over Ethernet on generic cabling, changes to AS/NZS 60950.1:2015 Information technology equipment – Safety General requirements, which deals with the delivery of DC power for telecommunication equipment, sees the emergence of new energy classifications.
These new energy classifications will see power exceeding 100W being delivered over telecommunication cabling with commercially available products that are now available, delivering digital power of 1,000W at 2,000m over a single pair.
The delivery of remote powering at this level creates a number of changes to industry, standards and regulations as changes create new challenges to both safety and performance.
New Energy Source Classification
The new published AS/NZS 62368.1:2018 Audio/video, information and communication technology equipment in broad terms addresses three energy classes, – ES1, ES2 and ES3.
These energy sources may be used on telecommunication cabling for remote powering.
Along with the energy source classification, the standard also defined different types of people – put simply
Not skilled or instructed
Instructed or supervised by a skilled person
Who can responsibly utilise safety equipment and procedures for the associated energy source
Relevant education, qualification and/or experience to identify hazards and take appropriate actions to reduce the risks to them and others
Along with Energy Source (ES) and ‘type of people’ classifications, the standards also address safeguards including but not limited to, basic safeguards, equipment safeguards, installation safeguards, skilled safeguards and supplemental safeguards.
The basic concept is to ensure that adequate safeguards are put in place. The safeguards will be specific safeguards to protect specific types of people from specific energy sources.
For the different energy sources, the following would appear to hold true:
ES1 classification is when either the touch current limit or the touch voltage limit is considered safe for an ordinary person to touch.
ES2 classification is applicable when ES1 conditions have not been met, however is still either touch current limited or touch voltage limited but is a higher level than ES1.
ES2 is considered to be safe with basic safeguards.
100W Power over Ethernet (PoE) and HBase T would be considered to fall under ES2 classification.
ES3 classification is applicable when ES2 conditions have not been met.
ES3 circuits have no voltage and no circuit current limit.
ES3 is classified as hazardous and requires basic and supplemental safeguards to protect ordinary persons.
What are the implications of remote powering?
Remote powering on telecommunication cabling has two primary areas of concern that need to be addressed by standards.
While LV telecommunications (ES3) cabling has been within AS/CA S009:2013 Installation for customer cabling (Wiring rules) for some time, its application has been typically limited to special applications like EWIS and public address systems; the new energy classification may well see ES3 run over generic or structured cable like systems.
The use of ES3 circuits on generic and structured cabling systems will have to adequately address safety issues and ensure that adequate safeguards are in place to help ensure the safety of the person working on or using
telecommunication cabling. This requirement may well require cable providers to have the ability to identity ES3 cable and equipment, and ensure appropriate safeguards are in place.
The heat rise in telecommunications will be affected by ES2 and ES3 circuits as a result of higher current flow. Generic and structured cabling has the challenge that what is put on the cabling system is not controlled by the cable provider. With the ongoing deployment of Internet of things (IoT) technologies using remote powering and the introduction of ES2 and potentially ES3 running over generic cabling, a number of challenges present themselves related to heat rise.
(AS) ISO/IEC TS 29125 Information technology – Telecommunications cabling requirements for remote powering of terminal equipment looks at the issue of heat rise in cable bundles with 500mA per conductor 1,000mA per pair (ES2).
AS/NZS 62368.1 has no limit on current and ISO/IEC 11801:2017 Information technology – Generic cabling for customer premises has channel requirements to 750mA per conductor, which exceeds the work undertaken by ISO/IEC TS 29125. As such ISO/IEC TS 29125 can only really be used as a guide to the effect of powering telecommunication cabling.
ISO/IEC TS 29125 indicates a number of factors effecting heat rise in a cable bundle including the following:
- Conductor size
- How many pairs are energised
- Current in each pair
- Cable construction
- Ambient temperature
· Installation conductions such as open air, on tray in ducts, sealed conduit within insulation
- DC resistance unbalance
The challenges for standards in Australia is:
· The suitability of a telecommunication cabling system is dependent on the installation, cable selection and how much power is carried within the cable/cable bundle.
· An IoT device requires both communication and power and twisted pair cabling provides both.
· The adoption of 100W PoE is likely to see higher levels of power used more often
· That the regulatory model does not address who connects services on a generic/structured cabling system.
· It is possible that enough power can be injected into a cable bundle meeting AS/CA S009, AS/NZS 3080 and ISO/IEC 11801 by the connection of approved active equipment to render the cabling non-operational.
· The revised AS/CA S009 currently under development will need to address heat rise, however this standard does not address what services are activated over structured or generic cabling by the end users.
The challenges for industry include:
· The concept of service activation by end users may well affect the installed cabling operation, which will have an associated impact on systems supporting safety, security and operational reliability that use twisted pair cabling.
· Cable providers will need to understand the new energy sources classification and how they will be applied within the regulatory framework.
· The rapid ongoing development and deployment of IoT may well see standards lagging technology and the convergence of technologies may see emerging technologies fall outside traditional standards and regulatory framework. As such, the Duty of Care obligations for individuals and organisations may need to be more carefully considered than in the past.
“Electrical Connection is cited as the original publisher of this article”.
nbn ™ www.nbnco.com.au
Dial before you dig www.1100.com.au
A2A and Network Boundary Issues www.telstra.com.au/smartcommunity/mybuilder.html
Communications Alliance www.commsalliance.com.au