Is your building powered correctly?

The commercial buildings of today – and most certainly the buildings of tomorrow – require power.

From the ease of scalability to safety to cost savings from increased efficiency, how your network is powered and deployed is becoming more important by the day.

Jason Bautista, a solution architect for Cloud and Hyperscale Solutions at CommScope®, spoke to exactly that at a recent presentation Capital Electric attended. It was essentially a “State of the Nation” focused on the evolution of commercial buildings related to four key trends driving the transformation of the spaces we occupy every day:

  • Hyperconnectivity
  • Bandwidth
  • Power
  • Design adaptability

While the central ideas and benefits around hyperconnectivity, bandwidth and design adaptability are important to understand, they’re also somewhat self-explanatory. A more thoroughly connected, high-speed and low-latency network powered by 5G, cloud and IoT endpoints is better for business.

Ditto for increased bandwidth and the design adaptability that makes it all possible.

Power, on the other hand, was an illuminating discussion to listen in on in many ways. And worth diving into deeper when thinking about what it means for your building’s network – today and into the future.

Just think for a second about the devices already connected to your network. Whether it’s a school, hospital or office campus chances are your telecomms room is bursting at the seams. Now, consider the new gear you’re contemplating and the promised tech of tomorrow that you’ve been keeping tabs on.

Networks get smarter but do not get smaller. Power distribution has to keep up.

Let’s look at a typical healthcare facility, for example. It’s not uncommon for your run-of-the-mill hospital to have more than 60 separate low voltage subsystems running concurrently. More and more of those systems are being powered via PoE, or power over ethernet, which is almost single-handedly keeping copper cabling alive. The need for widespread power to disparate systems is what keeps us from switching entirely to fiber connections throughout our buildings.

Making buildings “smart” is therefore about next-gen tech and how it’s powered. As the number of cables dropped to individual workstations decreases the number of cables in our ceilings grows.

The trend now is to lay out a cabling grid in the ceiling space that facilitates additions to the network on the fly. That could entail adding wireless access points for better coverage and throughput. Perhaps adding cameras for security or digital signage for branding and guest education. And, of course, sensors.

Sensors accommodate just about anything you can imagine: occupancy of rooms, daylight monitoring, water and/or vapor presence, noises and temperatures just to get you started.

Each and every device you add consumes power – and power creates heat. Keeping those PoE cabling installations safe is imperative.

The good news, something Jason echoed and that we’ve been preaching, is that your existing cabling infrastructure can deliver that power safely and effectively if some basic best practices are employed:

  • Use only reputable sources for cables, jacks and panels
    • They must be UL (Underwriters Laboratories) listed for safety. This is particularly important if you’re buying off the internet. Just because UL is in the jacket print does not mean it’s actually UL certified. UL has special hologram labels to ensure compliance with flame standards.
  • Never use Copper Clad Aluminum conductors – they simply cannot handle the heat from PoE power (and they’re not compliant with TIA standards or approved for use by the NEC)
    • Remember, people live and work in the buildings you cable. What happens if a fire breaks out? Do your cables make the problem worse and actually spread the fire?
    • Do your own flame test. This is not scientific, or standards-based, but if you do buy from unknown or non-reputable sources, take a sample of the cable and light it with a torch. Does the flame go out once you remove the torch? It should. Immediately. If it doesn’t, ditch it and buy certified materials. Safety is priceless.
  • Keep your cable bundles small
    • No more than 24 cables per bundle. Using bundles of 24 cables aligns well with patch panel layouts to keep things organized and allows heat to dissipate from even the cables in the center of the bundle.
  • Consider using Cat6A cable
    • The larger conductor offers greater power carrying capability than the Cat6 cable which makes heat less of a concern.

Give us a call to learn more about futureproofing the power that brings your cabling infrastructure to life.

Discover Air-Blown Fiber® Solutions from Sumitomo Electric Lightwave

In this day and age, copper cabling just won’t cut it when it comes to expansive networks or expanding a network. What does that mean? Simply put: copper loses its effectiveness after 300 feet. Network speed diminishes then, too. If your connections are longer than 300 feet, or you’re expanding the footprint of your campus…

Read More

Realities of Cable Network Testing

As an owner of a structured cable installation company, have you ever faced this dilemma? Being forced to decide whether to buy a vehicle to expand your business or a certifier? Or, how about this one – you can’t hire an additional tech because you also need a certifier? A Fluke certifier can list for…

Read More

SFP Third-Party Provider Options

Ethernet switches are the heart of your network. Connecting them together with high-speed backbones is critical, and usually means connecting to the fiber optic cabling in your facility. It’s common that switches have empty modular ports that accept small form-factor pluggable transceivers (SFPs) of your choice – allowing you to pick and choose the fiber…

Read More

Installing Access Points with AccelTex®

You’ve been meticulous throughout the entire process of planning your wireless infrastructure solution. Why wouldn’t you? It’s a massive undertaking with a huge capital investment that’s meant to last for years, be scalable and upgradeable and all the other -ables. There’s a lot of homework to be done to get it right, which means there’s…

Read More

A/V Upgrades Don’t Have to Cost an Arm and a Leg

What do ordering a coffee from Dunkin’, strolling the mall and sitting in a conference room for a sales meeting have in common? Bueller… Bueller… Bueller… anyone? Ultra-high-definition, 4k displays! True story. Everything from grabbing a donut to making a pitch requires a digital angle nowadays. And with the lightning speed of innovation, 4k has…

Read More

K-12 Solutions from RUCKUS

Education has shifted from analog to digital-based solutions, and keeping up has become a major differentiator in scholastic results. In fact, the very nature of how knowledge itself is passed on has changed. And falling behind in a connected world, particularly in those formative K-12 years, can have dramatic effects long afterward. A recent study…

Read More

Uninterruptible Power Supply Explained

What’s your tolerance for pain? That’s what you have to ask yourself when considering which level of UPS you need because electricity courses through everything we do – from keeping the lights on to making sure your local network is up and running to ensuring ventilators and other critical hospital gear is able to keep…

Read More

Deeper Dive into Wireless Access Points

The tech in your pocket has changed immeasurably over the last 20 years. From the giant brick phone of yesteryear that wouldn’t even fit into your pocket to the sleek, wildly connected smartphone you have in there today. Ditto for your home: the massive and massively heavy tube TVs all replaced with slender flatscreens that…

Read More

Education Initiative: Mass Communications for Schools

Your campus – be it a sprawling university or a rural school with a much smaller footprint – needs some means of communicating with everyone at once. Whether it’s an announcement about a schedule change, relocation of an event or, most critically, an emergency, being able to spread the message quickly and intelligibly is imperative.…

Read More

Market Status: April 2021

Never in my 30+ years in the industry have I seen such chaos in the supply chain.  That’s a phrase we’re hearing more frequently these days. It’s unsettling because we’ve seen many challenges in past years, but today’s struggles seem to be a perfect storm. It’s not one area, it’s many areas… and they connect…

Read More

Addressing the Technology Needs of K-12

The available technology to improve communications in K-12 schools has never been better.   In the past, (present day for too many), there were individual subsystems for any technology placed in the classroom. Each system was installed by different “experts” to make sure it worked properly.  Take for instance the simple clock. That clock had to be synchronized…

Read More

AtlasIED Atmosphere Launch Announcement

In case you missed it, AtlasIED recently launched a new Atmosphere digital audio platform and associated products. This platform, more than two years in the making, is the first step in a multi-phased plan. Atmosphere consists of AZM processors, AZA amplifiers, and a line of plug and play accessories that are simple to tune and…

Read More

Prefab Solutions at Capital

You may have heard us talk about prefabrication solutions before. Today, we’re very excited to show you what we’re talking about! Up until March 2020, there was a real need to maximize your labor resources as much as possible, which made prefab a great option to consider. It still is. Maybe more now than before……

Read More

The Value of Being Independent

I recently read that two of our industry’s largest distributors have agreed to merge. Combined, they’ll generate revenue of more than $17 billion dollars each year.  That’s one-seven billion! It made me stop and think that “large” doesn’t always fit, and the value a smaller distributor can bring to the market. I believe that it’s…

Read More

CommScope Qwik Fuse Installer Tool Kit

The word fusion tends to scare people. For those not familiar with optical fusion machines, it sounds like something nuclear and dangerous; those familiar tend to think big money. In terms of fiber optic cable, a fusion machine perfectly aligns two opposing pieces of fiber of equal size and then heats the ends up to…

Read More

Termination of Fibers

Connecting a really fast cable to the equipment that lights it up is important; especially when making a connection to high performance glass. Fortunately, it’s easier to terminate fiber than ever before with these three basic options in the field—each of which comes with its own advantages and disadvantages based on performance and budget: Glue…

Read More

Is It Time to Switch to an Air-Blown Fiber Solution?

Plant managers and facility managers know that when a production line is disrupted the costs add up very quickly.   That’s why they do everything in their power to remove possible breaks in the supply chain and make sure production (revenue) doesn’t stop. For most installations, traditionally constructed fiber handles the job just fine (fiber…

Read More

Don’t Overlook the Basics

Fiber Management Now that the use of fiber for network connections is increasing, the need to manage them is critical. It’s a good thing there are so many really good options out there! For the purposes of this concept page, we’re defining fiber management as rack mounted fiber equipment. Here are a few key considerations for…

Read More

Speech Privacy Done Right, Made Easy & Fast

Modern offices are aesthetically beautiful. They tend to have minimal, contemporary designs. Many of the workspaces are open concept for easy collaboration and connection to co-workers. Often, they include additional touches envisioned to help employees refer to their workplace as “the best place to work.” But what impact do these enhancements have on sound and…

Read More

Five Industry Trends

Can you believe that it’s May already? The year has been flying for us, and it sounds like we’re not alone. This month, I’d like to take a moment to share some of the trends we’re observing. Perhaps you’re seeing them too. In addition, I’d love to hear what trends you’re seeing so please email…

Read More

Today’s Basic Differences in Fusion-Splicing Machines

Because we’re involved in the daily supply of network cables and infrastructure we get to see shifting installation techniques and strategies many of you are using to get a network up and running as quickly and inexpensively as possible. Tools that speed up installation have never been more popular with contractors. On a job, every…

Read More

Single-Pair Ethernet

I know I’m going to sound like a grandpa here (I am one, by the way), but I still remember having to solder wires into an RS-232 25 pin connector in order to create a special pin-out for a client’s new machine. Once you got the hang of it, it went smoothly. But nowhere near…

Read More


  Audio/visual options in the commercial space have become plug & play, which is great. Simply plug an HDMI cable into both the flat screen and an AV source and it works. How cool is that? Well… it works if your two devices are close together, generally within 50ft. But finding HDMI cables beyond 25ft…

Read More

Splice on Connectors: Your Introduction to Three Vendors

We recently hosted Fusion Day at Capital Electric’s HQ and introduced three of the industry’s finest fusion splicing machine manufactures to our guests. Each manufacturer, America Ilsentech, FiberFox and Sumitomo Electric, offers top of the line active core alignment as well as budget friendly clad alignment splice machines. We featured them as part of our…

Read More

Splice-On Connectors Change the Fiber Management Game

If your career involves technology, specifically networking, you know that we’re using more fiber in our connections than ever before. Fiber brings us more speed at greater distances than copper connections, which is why we almost exclusively use it to connect cities, buildings and network rooms. There are options for the type or grade of…

Read More

Wireless Enclosures to Secure & Simplify

Oberon wireless enclosures secure, simplify and professionalize your facility Whether it’s a new space or an old one, your ceiling may be starting to get crowded. If your space is “public,” you’ve got considerations that most others never need to think about. Namely, how to keep hands off your devices. We know that you’re looking for…

Read More

Wireless Enclosures for Healthcare

Oberon wireless enclosures secure, simplify and professionalize your healthcare facility. Whether it’s a new space or an old one, your ceiling may be starting to get crowded. If your space is “public,” you’ve got considerations that most others never need to think about. Namely, how to keep hands off your devices. In the healthcare industry, you’re often…

Read More

Faster WiFi Access Points Require Faster Cable Systems

Due to higher bandwidth and the increased power requirements of the latest wireless access points (802.11ac), industry best practices recommend that Cat 6A cable systems are installed to support WiFi AP (access point) connections. By design, Cat 6A cable systems follow standards to provide at least 10Gbp/s ethernet speeds up to 100 meters. This may…

Read More

Sound Masking Benefits of Zoned Office Systems

We’re ready to help your office get zoned for sound. Whether it’s an overhead paging system, sound masking or background music, a professionally designed system can make all the difference when it comes to the quality of sound within your office. Think about it this way: Who wants a speaker over their work area that blares…

Read More

Connecting the Access Point

When you consider the logistics of installing a Cat 6A cable to support your wireless needs, you’ll specifically want to think through exactly how the cable will plug into the access point (AP). One of the reasons the Cat 6A cable can support 10Gbps speeds is that it’s built larger than a Cat 5e or Cat 6 cable,…

Read More

Best Practices for Reducing Open Office Distractions with Sound Masking

Creating a great work environment has come a long way in recent years – brilliantly designed for maximum collaboration and comfort. They’re bright, airy and provide the flexibility you need to perform at your best. These open work spaces come with many distractions, too: conversations among co-workers, phones ringing, printers, even outdoor created noises. Our…

Read More

WiFi… Where We Are Today and Where We’re Headed in the Future

  Where We Are Today… The most popular WiFi version installed today is the new IEEE 802.11ac. This new version expands the throughput of wireless local area networks by using high frequencies (5GHz band). It’s also widened individual channels from 40MHz (802.11n) to 80MHz or even 160MHz; added more spatial streams (up to 8) and…

Read More

Capital Electric Predicts Growth in CAN Bus Market

A controller area network (CAN bus) is a vehicle bus standard designed to allow microcontrollers and devices (sensors/actuators) to communicate with each other in applications without a host computer. As you may know, we’re using more and more sensors and control actuators on every automobile made in recent years. You’ve seen the commercials for cars…

Read More

The Challenges of Firestop Systems

The need for firestopping in our network and low voltage cabling world is important, yet fairly limited in nature. For everyone, a key challenge exists within the nature of the install: We penetrate a wall, ceiling, or floor to lay the cable, and then must somehow recreate the original fire rating of that structure. The ratings…

Read More

Industrial Ethernet

“Network” is a key industry buzz word right now. The first thing that comes to mind is an office setting that relies on Ethernet to operate. It’s relatively simple: plug + wifi = connection. What comes to mind for networks on the factory floor? For starters, the environment is completely different. Factors such as extreme temperature…

Read More

HDBaseT 2.0

Walk through any business and you’ll likely see messaging in many different formats, including digital displays – an application that is quickly gaining popularity. And for good reason: these “flat screens” provide creative flexibility for messages that can be tailored to the business, customers, or event. Videos, photos, and graphics of any kind may be…

Read More

What’s new? Hubbell’s Field-Terminated Shielded Modular Plug.

Connecting equipment on the factory floor to decision makers has never been more important than it is today. We do this by connecting them via the network. In concept, it sounds easy. In practice, it can be complicated. The factory floor environment is obviously much different than the typical office. Frequently, cables are exposed to…

Read More

Fiber Clarity – Part 2

In our last Cablepedia post (Fiber Clarity – Part 1), we looked specifically at CommScope’s newest product – SD Fiber Optic Panels. Why has CommScope invested in this line? Much of the answer has to do with streamlining and enhanced clarity. Thankfully, the fiber optic cabling industry has gone through some major growth, resulting in…

Read More

Fiber Clarity – Part 1

CommScope and the many legacy brands they have acquired (ADC, AMP, Krone, NetConnect, Systimax and Uniprise), have offered many iterations of fiber termination shelves. Most followed the LGX panel format that became the industry standard (push pin panels, 118mm). Since CommScope acquired the Broadband Network Systems (BNS) group from TE Connectivity, they’ve combined the best…

Read More

Pre-Plan Your Pathways

In our last Cablepedia post (click here to access Ready to Help with Prefab), we touched on an important part of the process: pre-planning. It might not be a stretch to say that this is actually the most important part of the process! Thinking ahead can save so many things, like money, man hours, and…

Read More

Ready to Help with Prefab

For more than 40 years, we’ve been blessed to have a number of contractors as customers; helping them understand the technical aspects of the cabling products they buy from us has been much appreciated. Now, Capital has a valuable service to add specifically for contractors. Commonly called “prefab” (short for prefabrication), this service is a…

Read More

Fast Forward

Maybe you’ve encountered the phrase “high speed migration” as an industry term. Leave it to our brilliant partners at CommScope to adopt it as a way to help us all think about where we are with our infrastructures, and what it’s going to take to grow to the next level. These are three important words.…

Read More

The Power of Transition

January is an interesting time of year. Many of us begin the month reflecting on the 12 months that came before, and thinking about how to make the next 12 even better. What’s really happening is a transition from one place and time to another. Being mindful of it is important… after all, transition is…

Read More

The Internet of Things and Manufacturing

Looking back on our 2016 Cablepedia posts, the Internet of Things (IoT) was probably mentioned as much as “wire” and “cable.” That should come as no surprise to anyone. The IoT is growing up quickly and dictating the future of information sharing. Of course, I also need to point out that wire and cable are…

Read More

Model Behavior

A colleague of mine is going through the exciting-yet-somewhat-scary process of college applications with her daughter. It is certainly no secret that times have changed, but I was surprised to hear about the latest choices for fields of study – particularly in the business world. A number of schools are offering study tracks and degrees…

Read More
Welcome to the Digital Age

Welcome to the Digital Age

There’s a bit of a trend happening in and around our industry: big-name companies are joining forces. While this is nothing new in the business world, these mergers are notable because the motivation is different. Sure, the same ground rules for more customers and market share still apply, but the latest unions are creating a…

Read More

Made in America: What Does It Mean?

With domestic manufacturing on the rise, “Made in America” is poised to take on a whole new meaning. The parameters for today’s definition will be written by using quality, cost effectiveness, and culture as important barometers.

Read More

Understanding Your Investment

The best advice for anyone looking to cross off items on the company infrastructure shopping list is this: Buy the best you can afford, and you’ll never be disappointed. That means doing your homework to avoid a costly mistake.

Read More

Today’s Wireless

  Today’s Wireless Just a few short years ago, the top raw speed for a Wireless Access Point (WAP) was a blistering 11mbps per second. I use the term “raw” because that bandwidth was in constant battle with walls, doors, and other environmental blockades, plus had to share the waves with other devices in range. In…

Read More

Data Security: Prepare Now

Data Security: Prepare Now 2014, and headlines everywhere screamed about the hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment. The fallout from releasing personal, confidential information was enormous! This is just one, high-profile example; according to Beazley, a leading provider of data breach response insurance, the trend for outside infiltration like the Sony bombshell is rapidly rising. Last…

Read More