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Archive by Dee McVicker

Fiber Answer to Securing Government Networks

With new acquisitions no longer on the books and fiber optic communications in high demand for securing government networks, prime U.S. government contractor Systems Plus recently began working with leading fiber optic equipment manufacturer FiberPlex Technologies to bolster existing fiber infrastructure for its government and corporate clients.

“New optical fiber multiplexing technology is becoming a critical part of our support strategy for government organizations like NIH, Army base hospitals and other customers that are experiencing larger volumes of data at a time when security is at its highest and budget acquisitions are at their lowest,” commented Chetan Gulati, Corporate Resource Director for Systems Plus, Rockville, Maryland, referring to FiberPlex’s active wave division multiplexers and optical converter products.

FiberPlex’s WDM16, for example, is capable of multiplexing up to 16 channels at 3Gb/s each onto an existing fiber pair. By multiplexing new bandwidth capability onto existing fiber infrastructure using the WDM16, Systems Plus can effectively reduce its clients’ network transport acquisition costs to pennies on the dollar compared to the cost of installing new fiber optic runs with associated labor and conduit expenses to yield the same capacity gain.

In addition to multiplexing onto existing fiber optic build-outs for increasing bandwidth capacity, FiberPlex also offers optical modules for its multiplexer that make it possible for agencies to interface single-mode fiber cable onto existing multi-mode fiber transport links. Such bidirectional coupling of the two fiber formats is especially useful to large corporations and government agencies that acquired multi-mode optical cabling more than a decade ago as part of a government-wide mandate to secure communications, but now want to expand by adding the latest high-performance single-mode optical cable.

Systems Plus is a GSA OASIS SB, Alliant SB, IT and MOBIS contractor with a large portfolio of Government Wide Acquisition Contracts (GWAC) and Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPA). The company is also a prime contractor for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and its IT and Cyber Communication Division’s integration services span across multiple federal agencies in development and installation of technical solutions for both civilian and Department of Defense (DoD) agencies.

Optical fiber cable has ten times the transference rate of copper cable at the high end and can transmit data error-free over greater distances by a 400:1 ratio. For the medical field especially, bidirectional, high-capacity optical fiber communications is becoming increasingly critical for creating new interactive opportunities between emergency command centers and responders at the state, regional, and global level during a catastrophic event.

In addition, unlike copper cable, optical fiber communications is not susceptible to electromagnetic radiation that can “leak” data. Its electrical isolation characteristics make it virtually immune to data breaches, another reason why optical fiber is preferred over copper cabling by government and private agencies.

“We share the same goal with our partner Systems Plus, which is to provide government agencies with fiber optic links that offer the capacity and security they need now, without having to wait until they have acquisition budgets to pay for entirely new installations,” commented FiberPlex’s Director of Government Relations Mitch Abel.

FiberPlex manufactures a line of fiber optic and network products for securing communications and data. The company has a brand presence that goes back a quarter of a century as a leading global communications company, including an early leadership role in TEMPEST mitigation for the U.S. government.

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FiberPlex Takes a Whack Out of Fiber Costs

Security. Big data. Austerity. Fulfilling all three requirements for a large project can be like playing the business equivalent of Whack-a-Mole. If you manage to whack one mole, another one pops up. So while fiber optics communications clearly has the capacity for big data (100s of times that of copper cabling on the high end) and it’s absurdly secure – nothing gets into or leaks out of optical fiber – the question of cost keeps popping up.

You’ll be glad to know you can finally put away that mallet.

Overall fiber cost is now within a few percentage points of copper cabling due to new termination techniques and advancements like FiberPlex’s WDM-8 and WDM-16 active wave division multiplexers, which can run 8 or 16 channels respectively at 3 Gbps per channel down an existing pair of single-mode fiber. FiberPlex multiplexer technology has taken a huge whack out of optical implementation costs, and it has enabled organizations to extend the life and capacity of their existing network infrastructures. You simply add the capacity needed onto your existing optical fiber network, and at a rather low cost. No trenching for new fiber cable required. Plug-in SFP/SFP+ modules for FiberPlex’s multiplexers or FOI-6010 offer bidirectional communication between existing multi-mode fiber networks and new single-mode fiber – or between fiber and Cat5/6 networks.

So, yes, you can keep optical fiber costs down. And, yes, definitely, fiber optic communications can fill in holes in security, capacity, and a lot of other so-called moles that pop up. FiberPlex ought to know. FiberPlex has a brand presence that goes back a quarter of a century as a leading global communications company, including an early leadership role in TEMPEST mitigation for the U.S. government.

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FiberPlex Announces New Converter for Unified Communications

 

With Unified Communications bringing about a convergence of big data in a variety of formats, FiberPlex Technologies introduces a new tool for the AV production toolbox capable of adapting between media and transport formats, including optical fiber.         

FiberPlex’s new TD-6010 adapter, to debut at InfoComm 2014, takes a variety of SFP/SFP+ modulesfor any format conversion scenario imaginable – even those that haven’t been invented yet.The AV professional today is dealing with a growing number of different formats for audio, video, and transport. He’s also dealing with huge media files that require fiber optic transport. So we designed a one-box solution that can take care of all those conversion issues and is portable and durable enough to be a staple in his arsenal of solutions,” said Buddy Oliver, President of FiberPlex Technologies, a leading manufacturer of multiplexers for transporting data over fiber optic networks.

Interchangeable Modules. The TD-6010 frame includes two bidirectional ports for interchanging SFP/SFP+ modules capable of converting between analog video, SD/HD & 3G-SDI or HDMI media formats as well as full duplex and BiDi optical, 10/100/1000 Mbps Ethernet and MADI. The TD-6010 can convert between Dante™, CobraNet® and EtherSound, or between single-mode and multi-mode fiber, as well as between MADI and Ethernet, and any combination of the above.

Adaptability for Live Production, Telemedicine, and More. FiberPlex is targeting its new adapter for television, live production, conferencing, corporate data and other applications requiring universal use and conversion between media and transport formats. For live sound production, for example, technicians can plug a single-mode optical SFP into the TD-6010 for the transport feed from the venue back to the remote van, and then plug another MADI SFP into the TD-6010 for 64×64 MADI compatibility with gear used on location. That same TD-6010 frame can be used for a video sportscast the next night with just an SFP module change to run 3G-SDI from a camera in the stands to the video switcher.

The TD-6010 also can be used to slowly migrate equipment from standard definition to high definition video, or to interoperate multi-mode fiber optic with single-mode fiber optic networking.  

Durable “Throw Down” Chassis. The TD-6010 is based on FiberPlex’s popular industrial grade FOI-6010, but is designed for commercial work environments. It is housed in a sleek and attractive, yet durable “Throw Down” chassis and includes a non-polarized AC adapter.

Fiber Optic Communications. FiberPlex’s FOI-6010 and newer TD-6010 can work in conjunction with FiberPlex’s popular WDM-8 and WDM-16 multiplexers, which take the same SFP modules to multiplex a number of media feeds over optical fiber. Optical fiber communication is being widely adopted for live production, training, conferencing, telemedicine and other media-intense applications because of its high data rate (around ten times that of copper at the high end) and its clean transference over long distances compared to other communication links.  Fiber optics can transmit 1 Gb of data 40 Km or more and can easily migrate to 40GbE or even 100GbE and higher network backbones, the headroom now needed to support existing as well as anticipated media applications.  The WDM-16 active wave division multiplexer is capable of multiplexing 16 channels at up to 3 Gbps each down an existing fiber pair, yielding an aggregated payload of 48 Gbps.

Complementing FiberPlex’s multiplexers, the TD-6010 supports up to 12.5 Gbps per slot for high-bandwidth applications. A ‘uFAC’ micro-USB interface provides full control and reporting of any SFP/SFP+ registers including settings for video interface and link statistics, SFP status, etc., through a FiberPlex software application available for PCs and Macs. 

 

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Adapting Pro AV to Unified Communications

We’ll be the first to say it. One of the biggest things to come out of unified communications (UC) — besides a list of acronyms a mile long — is that pro AV has finally attained the respectability it deserves among IT peers.

We have video to thank for that. IM. Web. Customer service. It’s all going video, and it’s one of the reasons why companies like Cisco are suddenly taking notice of AV.

Which brings us to that mile-long list of acronyms we mentioned earlier. FiberPlex recognizes that our friends in pro AV are going to need to adapt a lot of different media formats to fiber optic communications in order to get across those big, fat audiovisual files. We have the answer. Our new TD-6010 adapter can convert HD/SD-HDI or HDMI to optical fiber. It can convert between Dante™, CobraNet® and EtherSound; analog video to fiber; and transport bi-directionally between modes of fiber optic communications.

Just throw it in your toolbox, and go. It comes with wall wart charger and takes a variety of SFP/SFP+ modules for any conversion scenario you can imagine – even those that haven’t been invented yet. You won’t have to pack this tool in bubble wrap, either. There’s a reason why we call it the Throw Down – or TD for short. Check out the TD-6010 at InfoComm, FiberPlex booth C11205.

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FiberPlex Rolling into Knoxville

 

 

The FiberPlex fiber optic demo van is heading to Knoxville on Friday April 4th and will be demonstrating the “ultimate production snake” for AV applications. Inside the van is everything needed to easily connect remote cameras, mics, and other gear over fiber optic communications regardless of media type. Email krosenbloom@fiberplex.com for demo locations and times.

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It’s Fiber All the Way for Hillsdale College

 

When it comes to broadband AV, it’s optical fiber all the way for Hillsdale College in Michigan. The independent private college started running high-speed, secure optical fiber across its indoor track using audio optical technology by FiberPlex Technologies in May and is now gearing up for another, longer optical run that will shuttle multimedia across its campus.  

In the next few months, the College will roll out FiberPlex’s WDM-16 multiplexer into existing fiber strands for moving large multimedia files from its auditorium and sports fields to a control studio on campus.

Hillsdale’s Director of Technical Media Ted Matko is working with AVI Systems, headquartered in Eden Prairie, Minn., on the project and expects the WDM-16 active wave division multiplexer to save the college the cost of trenching in new fiber in some areas of the campus by reusing existing optical runs which will generate substantial savings.  

“We needed capacity to get video from the athletic fields, the auditorium, the fine arts building and elsewhere to our new control studio about a quarter of a mile away. Multiplexing will make it cost effective to do that,” said Matko, explaining that FiberPlex’s WDM-16 lets him multiplex 16 separate channels at 3Gb/s each onto two fiber pairs used by the campus network.

The additional channels are needed to stream the college’s live volleyball, football and baseball games across a quarter-mile distance from its athletic fields to the control studio, which was originally the College’s bookstore but now serves as the command center for media control and the head-end to the LTN feed picked up by the networks. The College also shuttles media to its control room from its auditorium on a regular basis for guest speaker engagements.

Previously, in May, the College installed FiberPlex LightViper optical audio snakes for its graduation ceremony held in its indoor track facility with 5,000 people in attendance –including commencement speaker U.S. Senator Ted Cruz.  A LightViper snake connected the mics on stage to a mixing console at the back of the field some 265 feet away over fiber optic cabling. Another LightViper optical snake routed the audio channels – via optical cable – from the track to the studio control room across campus.

All audio is controlled and networked through Peavey’s MediaMatrix audio control system.

“This is a standalone digitally networked sound system that can handle just about anything they want to do from the field. If they need to change anything, they just click on a control page from their laptop and now they’re switched over to any device or location they want through optical fiber and the LightViper system,” said Andrew Walker with Avtek AV, who designed the system and recommended the LightViper optical snake instead of copper snake because it can transport audio error-free and transparently over greater distances, by a 400:1 ratio compared to copper.

A typical LightViper system includes a FOH breakout unit and 32×8 stage box connected by optical cable for sending and receiving optical signals to a remote location. One fiber cable weighing less than eight pounds can transmit the same data as two, 40-pair copper cables weighing 700 pounds.

In the next few weeks, the College’s LightVipers will be joined by new WDM-16 multiplexers that will take the school’s multimedia endeavors a step further by routing video over optical fiber to the control studio elsewhere on the campus for full head-end control of media files.   

Hillsdale College is just one example of how fiber optic technology can be leveraged for educational and communication purposes. FiberPlex makes fiber optic products and systems for government agencies as well as for houses of worship, corporate facilities, broadcast applications, and K-12 and higher education.  

Fiber-Ready Van Rolls from AV to Emergency Response

A fiber optic-ready mobile production van began crisscrossing the eastern United States on a 25-city tour this month, rolling from live production in Georgia and heading straight into the March 24 – 26 North Carolina Emergency Management Association conference.

The FiberPlex-equipped van will go from audiovisual lighting and staging or FOH use in Atlanta and continue on into the emergency conference in Raleigh-Durham, where the same fiber-optic communication link will be used to demonstrate a 9-1-1 emergency simulation for more than 300 state emergency managers there.

“Anymore, it doesn’t matter what the application is or where it’s at. Everyone wants the same thing, more bandwidth. I can open up the back doors to the van, and in five minutes, I’ve connected a full audiovisual or emergency system – or both  — over a small fiber cable with bandwidth to spare,” said Kyle Rosenbloom, who, when he’s not talking with AV integrators and emergency managers, is behind the wheel of the production van as the Eastern Regional Representative for FiberPlex Technologies, a leading fiber optics equipment manufacturer.

Inside the van is a FiberPlex Live Production Toolbox with everything needed to easily connect remote cameras, microphones, closed-circuit TV cameras and other equipment over fiber optic communications regardless of media type or format. Included in the toolbox is FiberPlex’s LightViper fiber optic audio snake and WDM-16 active wave division multiplexer combining 16 optical channels, each at 3 Gb/s for transporting video, audio, lighting and control feeds onto one fiber pair.

As a result of multiplexing technology, optical fiber communications is not only easier to implement, but also more affordable than in previous years. “Optical fiber was cost-prohibitive just a few short years ago, but new technology from companies like FiberPlex is giving fiber an edge that other communication links can’t even come close to in terms of bandwidth and security properties,” commented Tim Hunnicutt with HWPco, which represents FiberPlex as a strategic partner.  Optical fiber cable has ten times the transference rate of copper cable at the high end and can transmit data error-free over greater distances by a 400:1 ratio. And unlike copper, optical fiber does not put out electromagnetic radiation and is therefore not susceptible to emitting data that can lead to security breaches.

“We are seeing a huge demand for more security and bandwidth, especially in the emergency field because of new interactive smart technology that is pushing out more data,” agreed Phyllis Kinard with Strategic Connections, a systems integrator headquartered in Raleigh specializing in low-voltage smart systems. Kinard said bi-directional, high-capacity optical fiber communications is critical for creating new interactive opportunities between emergency command centers and responders at the state, regional, or even global level during a catastrophic event.

The integrator will demonstrate during the North Carolina Emergency Management Association conference new interactive emergency applications into FiberPlex’s mobile production van, which is scheduled to stop in Memphis, Nashville, Philadelphia, Pittsburg, Charlotte, Charleston, Ocala and other eastern cities before returning to Raleigh May 26 -28.

FiberPlex’s WDM-16 multiplexer uses interchangeable SFP/SFP+ modules for interfacing to a variety of gear and environments, including converting between media formats SD-SDI, HD-SDI, 3G-SDI, and 6G-SDI and for HDMI/DVI, 10/100/1000 Mbps Ethernet and MADI, as well as full duplex and BiDi optical.  FiberPlex makes fiber optic products and systems for government agencies as well as for houses of worship, corporate facilities, broadcast applications, and K-12 and higher education.

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Get Fiber’d Up

Optical fiber use is heating up just as surely as summer in June. First it was Google Fiber. Then, AT&T. And now, Century Link. Everyone is getting fiber’d up for 4K video and Big Data apps. In about 12 to 18 months, when all those services and more are in full bloom, you’re going to be feeling the heat, too. Here are a couple things you can do between now and then, according to FiberPlex Technologies.  
 
 

Graft in optical to existing copper infrastructure. Sure, copper’s days are numbered, but you don’t have to rip out all that copper cabling from the ‘80s and ‘90s in one day. Add fiber one branch at a time. FiberPlex’s  SFP/SFP+ modules let you run optical into a copper network by converting between the two.

Beef up fiber capacity without trenching for new fiber cable. FiberPlex’s WDM-16 active wave division multiplexer can run 16 channels at 3 Gb/s each down an existing fiber pair. In fact, one college saved almost $400,000 in trenching costs by using the WDM-16 in front of an existing fiber network installed years ago.

Extend an existing fiber build-out. Add to an existing multi-mode optical fiber network with newer, faster, longer-range single-mode optical fiber. FiberPlex’s FOI-6010 gives you bidirectional communication between the two.

Go for the green. We’re not talking Franklins, either, although the cost of optical cable systems are now on par with copper systems due to advances in fiber and the high cost of copper. Large corporations love green initiatives, and it doesn’t get any greener than optical fiber. Energy efficient. Lower maintenance. Reduced cabling heat. Fiber’s list of green benefits is as long as a warm summer day.

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MassAV Creates ‘Ultimate Production Snake’ by FiberPlex

It’s lights, cameras and a whole lot more action for massAV as a result of a new FiberPlex Technologies optical snake recently added to its linecard.

The live event AV staging and production company in Billerica, Massachusetts, purchased FiberPlex’s WDM optical multiplexer to create what massAV Director of Operations Aaron Raymond calls the ultimate production snake. “We build a lot of very high end video systems, and when you start adding multiple lines of HD video along with audio, data, lighting and control for an event, it really has to be fiber,” he said, adding, “We’d been limited in our use of fiber until now because it meant having to set up an optical transmitter and receiver on every single channel, and that got expensive.”

Now, with FiberPlex’s WDM-8 active wave division multiplexer, massAV can multiplex eight discrete signals at 3 Gb/s each for transporting video, audio, lighting and control feeds onto one fiber pair.

The FiberPlex WDM multiplexer comes in 16-channel and 8-channel models and are on a cost parity with copper and copper’s associated installation and handling expenses. As the cost of copper cabling continues to rise, companies like massAV are going the fiber optic route to transport large volumes of content. Optical fiber has ten times the transference rate of copper at the high end and can transmit data error-free over greater distances by a 400:1 ratio.

“The FiberPlex multiplexer makes it so that we can run eight channels on the same fiber pair as opposed to dealing with the different types and sizes of copper cabling as well as the need to re-clock signals every couple hundred feet for longer runs,” explained Raymond.

As a result, massAV is able to replace 2,000 pounds of copper cabling with a 25-pound spool of fiber optics for large events, a savings that is realized by its corporate and other live event customers in reduced labor, setup time and transportation costs to truck in and set up copper cabling at events.

Multiplexing media and control signals onto one, 1/4-inch optical cable is also ideal for events that require running cables down hallways, across doorways or through public areas where bulky copper cabling is not practical, said Raymond.

massAV recently tried out the new multiplexer for a 1,500-person event with a main stage, two control areas, and 26 video projectors in the air – all tied together via the ultimate production snake consisting of little more than a spool of fiber optic cabling and a pair of WDM multiplexers. The setup involved multiple lines of data, video, audio, lighting control, intercom communications, and serial communications between equipment.

FiberPlex’s eight-channel WDM-8 and sixteen-channel WDM-16 multiplexers use interchangeable SFP/SFP+ modules for interfacing to a variety of gear and environments, including converting between media formats SD-SDI, HD-SDI, 3G-SDI, and 6G-SDI and for HDMI/DVI, 10/100/1G Ethernet and MADI, as well as full duplex and BiDi optical. massAV’s new multiplexer provides the flexibility now and into the immediate future as new media requirements change, noted Raymond.

FiberPlex recently took to the road to conduct a 25-city demo tour of its active wave division multiplexers as the ultimate production snake (check with a local FiberPlex representative for details). FiberPlex makes fiber optic products and systems for government agencies as well as for houses of worship, corporate facilities, broadcast applications, and K-12 and higher education.

FiberPlex MADI SFP Passes Optical to Avid During NFL Pro Bowl Sunday

It was a double pass for optical fiber at Sunday’s NFL Pro Bowl game at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, where copper cabling took a beating due to excessive moisture buildup from the rain.

“The issue with copper wasn’t noise for a change, it was water,” said Jeff Kang with Custom Audio, Kaneohe, Hawaii, which has been providing sound reinforcement for Pro Bowl for over 10 years. Fortunately, this year, Kang had contacted FiberPlex Technologies about a MADI-to-optic conversion box for his Avid Profile live audio console in order to run optical fiber across the stadium, and thereby bypass the problems associated with a copper run.

The FiberPlex FOI-6010 conversion box with MADI SFP/SFP+ (small form-factor pluggable module) on one end and multimode fiber SFP/SFP+ on the other makes it possible to run a fiber snake between the Avid FOH rack and a main stage rack about 650 feet away, something Kang wishes he had been able to do with a secondary stage rack 350 feet up field. The secondary stage rack connected through copper cabling was glitchy due to a steady drizzle of rain the day of the game.

“The problem was that it (copper snake) would constantly switch between primary and backup because of the condensation,” he said, adding that the optical run was unaffected by weather or noise – which was good, because he didn’t have a backup system. “That’s how much trust I put in these fiber systems,” commented Kang, who has two FiberPlex LightViper audio snakes that he uses for a variety of venues, including use as a 330-foot optical snake during the Pro Bowl game.

For Pro Bowl 2014, FiberPlex’s MADI SFP/SFP+ easily handled Avid’s modified MADI protocol for bidirectional 48×48 digital audio channels into multimode optical fiber supporting separate wireless mics, multitrack recordings, live band, plus a number of announcers and other sources that add to the mix of a typical NFL game. The remaining channels of the 64×64 bidirectional MADI capability are used for controlling mic preamps, metering, and for reading data on the Avid stage rack down field. (This is part of Avid’s modified use of the MADI protocol.)

Custom Audio is one of a growing number of sound reinforcement firms now using optical snakes for live mixing and other applications that require transporting media error-free and transparently over long distances. Setup requires only a few strands of fiber for the copper equivalent of a 40-pair, 500-pound snake, which is why Custom Audio’s crew was able to dismantle the system in record time after the Pro Bowl game. “My crew looked at me and said, ‘We got out of here two hours faster than we normally do,’” commented Kang.

FiberPlex makes fiber optic products and systems for government agencies as well as for houses of worship, corporate facilities, broadcast applications, and K-12 and higher education.

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