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Blog Category: Data Centers

Posted by: Stéphane Bourgeois on February 26, 2015

There are some exciting new developments in the world of BASE-T Ethernet and wireless.

Last November, the IEEE 802.3 working group held a Call for Interest (CFI) on the need to develop the next generation BASE-T for wireless access points (WAPs). The main issues raised in the CFI were that next generation 802.11ac Wave 2 devices will require multi-gigabit Ethernet data rates, and that there is a gap between the 1 Gb/s and the 10 Gb/s data rates needed to support Wave 2 devices.

The IEEE 802.11ac wireless standard was approved in December 2013. Current Wave 1 devices are using 80 MHz channels and Single-User Multiple-Input and Multiple-Output (MIMO) antennas with a maximum radio speed of 1.3 Gb/s. To support these devices, the network connection speed needs to be at least 75% of the radio speed. Therefore gigabit Ethernet connections over Category 6 or high-end Category 5e cabling are adequate to support Wave 1 devices.

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Blog Category: Industrial Ethernet

Posted by: Heather MacKenzie on February 25, 2015

VFDs, or Variable Frequency Drives, are used by manufacturers to control motors at variable speeds, thus matching the speed of the motor-driven equipment to the load requirement. This provides multiple benefits, such as longer motor life, energy savings, improved process control and higher reliability.

VFDs sound great, and they are, but there is one drawback to them. They generate electrical noise that radiates out and can disrupt electronic equipment, network systems and even instrumentation.

There is a simple way, however, to maximize the benefits of VFDs without decreasing the performance of nearby devices and systems. That way is to make sure that the cables connecting the VFDs to motors are high-performance ones. Furthermore, if the motor is high power (200 horsepower or greater), then parallel VFD cables offer a significant performance benefit.

Let’s take a look at how parallel VFD cables improve the safety and performance of high-power motors.

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Blog Category: Data Centers

Posted by: Mike Peterson on February 19, 2015

In today’s high-density virtualized data centers, keeping equipment cool is one of the topmost concerns among data center managers. And the problem is two-fold—not only does cooling represent about 30% of operational costs, but not having uninterrupted proper intake temperatures for equipment can result in overheating and failures that lead to even higher operating costs.

Consequently, many data centers oversupply cold air, placing undue financial strain on data center operations as CRAC units require more power to provide more cool air. And despite the oversupply of cold air, many data centers still experience hot spots.

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Blog Category: Industrial Security

Posted by: Heather MacKenzie on February 18, 2015

Defense in Depth is recognized as one of the key best practices for securing industrial networks. It involves using multiple types of defenses at different layers in the network in order to provide higher resistance to attacks than is possible with a single defense, such as a perimeter firewall.

Your first step should be to do a risk assessment and to prioritize your risks and their countermeasures.

In parallel, think about your current defenses, which likely include the perimeter firewall. Do they also include taking advantage of the security functions built in to other network devices?

Most managed Ethernet switches include cyber security features to protect themselves and they are a way to enhance the security of your network at no extra cost. Today’s blog takes a look at some of the security features built into switches, such as those from our Hirschmann and GarrettCom brands.

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Blog Category: Data Centers

Posted by: Stéphane Bourgeois on February 12, 2015

The Belden booth at the upcoming BICSI Winter Conference & Exhibition will be one that you will not want to miss!

We will be featuring several new data center solutions that maximize efficiency and optimize deployments. Come enjoy a tour of our new flexible, high-performance Aisle Containment System with innovative panels that support either cold- or hot-aisle containment for higher heat loads and improved cooling system efficiency.

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Tags: BICSI

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Blog Category: Industrial Ethernet

Posted by: Heather MacKenzie on February 11, 2015

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.

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, including maintaining 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.

Let’s look at a major manufacturer of photovoltaic power systems, SMA Solar Technology, which took care to make sure its connectivity systems include high-performing patch panels.

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Blog Category: Data Centers

Posted by: Michael Salvador on February 05, 2015

It’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.

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Tags: IoT

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Blog Category: Industrial Security

Posted by: Heather MacKenzie on February 04, 2015

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.

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