Cabling Basics

USB Cables Defined: All Aboard the Universal Serial Bus

usb cables

What’s the difference between USB cable types?

USB cables are used in a variety of connections between computers and mobile devices. USB cables also connect several peripheral components to a main desktop or laptop computer. 4Cabling carries several USB cable brands, lengths and adaptors to cover any installation job requirement. We also carry several power outlets for charging and docking equipment.

The Universal Serial Bus (USB) hardware (plug-and-play) standard makes connecting peripherals to your computer easy. USB 1.1, introduced in 1995, is the original USB standard. It has two data rates: 12 Mbps and 1.5 Mbps. USB 2.0, or Hi-Speed USB 2.0, was released in 2000. It increased the peripheral-to-PC speed from 12 Mbps to 480 Mbps, or 40 times faster than USB 1.1. This increase in bandwidth enabled the use of peripherals requiring higher throughput, such as CD/DVD burners, scanners, digital cameras, and video equipment. It is backward-compatible with USB 1.1.

The newest USB standard, USB 3.0 (or SuperSpeed USB), (2008) provides vast improvements over USB 2.0. It promises speeds up to 4.8 Gbps, nearly ten times that of USB 2.0. USB 3.0 has the flat USB Type A plug, but inside there is an extra set of connectors and the edge of the plug is blue instead of white. The Type B plug looks different with an extra set of connectors.

USB 3.0 adds a physical bus running in parallel with the existing 2.0 bus. USB 3.0 cable contains nine wires, four wire pairs plus a ground. It has two more data pairs than USB 2.0, which has one pair for data and one pair for power. The extra pairs enable USB 3.0 to support bidirectional async, full-duplex data transfer instead of USB 2.0’s half-duplex polling method.

USB 3.0 provides 50% more power than USB 2.0 (150 mA vs 100 mA) to unconfigured devices and up to 80% more power (900 mA vs 500 mA) to configured devices. Also, USB 3.0 conserves more power when compared to USB 2.0, which uses power when the cable isn’t being used.


Cat 6A Cable? Is it worth it? What is it?

cat 6a cables

Are Cat6a cables all they’re cracked up to be?

Cat6A – it’s all the rage this season – We get asked a lot of questions about what it’s all about.

CAT6A is currently the cable of choice for future-proofing cabling installations and for 10-GbE networks.

There are two types of CAT6A cable, unshielded (UTP) and shielded (F/UTP). F/UTP denotes foiled/unshielded twisted pair and consists of four unshielded twisted pairs encased in an overall foil shield. This is not to be confused with an S/FTP (screened/foiled twisted pair) cable, which has four individually shielded twisted pairs encased in an overall braided shield.

CAT6A UTP is constructed in a certain way to help eliminate crosstalk and ANEXT. (ANEXT is the measurement of the signal coupling between wire pairs in different and adjacent cables.) This includes larger conductors (23 AWG minimum), tighter twists, an extra internal airspace, an internal separator between the pairs, and a thicker outer jacket. These features also increase the outer diameter of the cable, typically to .35 inches in diameter, up from .25 inches for CAT6 cable. This increased diameter creates a greater distance between pairs in adjacent links, thus reducing the between-channel signal coupling. But CAT6A UTP cable is still affected by ANEXT.

According to the standards, ANEXT can be improved by laying CAT6A UTP cable loosely in pathways and raceways with space between the cables. This contrasts to the tightly bundled runs of CAT6/5e cable we are used to. The tight bundles present a worst-case scenario of six cables around one, thus the center cable would be adversely affected by ANEXT. Testing for ANEXT is a complex and time-consuming process where all possible wire-pair combinations are checked. It can take up to 50 minutes to test one link in a bundle of 24 CAT6A UTP cables.

CAT6A F/UTP denotes foiled/unshielded twisted pairs and consists of four unshielded twisted pairs encased in an overall foil shield. ANEXT, and the time needed to test for it, can be greatly reduced, if not eliminated completely, by using CAT6A F/UTP. The foil shield acts as a barrier preventing external EMI/RFI from coupling onto the twisted pairs. It also prevents data signals from leaking out of the cable, making the cable more difficult to tap and better for secure installations. Studies also have shown that CAT6A F/UTP cable provides significantly more headroom (as much as 20 dB) than CAT6A UTP in 10-GbE over copper systems.

Bigger isn’t always better.
CAT6A UTP cable has an overall allowable diameter of 0.354 inches. CAT6A F/UTP cable has an average outside diameter of 0.265–0.30 inches. That’s smaller than the smallest CAT6A UTP cable. An increase in the outside diameter (O.D.) of 0.1 inch, from 0.25 inches to 0.35 inches for example, represents a 21% increase in fill volume. In general, CAT6A F/UTP cable provides a minimum of 35% more fill capacity that CAT6A UTP cable.

Also because of its large diameter, CAT6A UTP requires a larger bend radius, more pathways, less dense patch panel connections, and extensive ANEXT testing.

CAT6A F/UTP cable is actually easier to handle, requires less bend radius, and uses smaller pathways. In addition, innovations in connector technology has made terminating CAT6A F/UTP cable simpler. In terms of grounding, the requirements for both UTP and F/UTP cable fall under TIA/EIA J-STD-607-A Commercial Building Grounding (Earthing) and Bonding Requirements for Telecommunications.

The advantages of CAT6A F/UTP vs. UTP
In summary, there are a number of advantages of using CAT6A F/UTP over CAT6A UTP in 10-GbE networks.

1. Shielding eliminates ANEXT and EMI/RFI problems and testing.
2. Data line security is enhanced because of shielding.
3. Lighter, slimmer cable provides higher port density.
4. Smaller outside diameter cable is easier to handle and reduces installation costs.
5. Shielded cable uses less space in conduits.

4Cabling stock a large range of Cat6A Patch Leads on our website.

Cross Over Cables – What are they?

crossover cable

Cross-over Cables, what are they?

We often get asked what cross over cables are and whether they actually serve a purpose? Crossover cable is generally used for peer-to-peer connections. The send and receive pairs are crossed between Connector A to Connector B on either end of the cable. A crossover cable directly connects two network devices of the same type to each other over Ethernet. Ethernet crossover cables are commonly used when temporarily networking two devices in situations where a network router, switch or hub is not present.Compared to standard Ethernet cables, the internal wiring of Ethernet crossover cables reverses the transmit and receive signals. The reversed color-coded wires can be seen through the RJ-45 connectors at each end of the cable:

  • Standard cables have an idential sequence of colored wires on each end
  • Crossover cables have the 1st and 3rd wires (counting from left to right) crossed, and the 2nd and 6th wires crossed

An Ethernet crossover cable will also feature the name “crossover” stamped on its packaging and wire casing. Ethernet crossover cables should only be used for direct network connections. In particular, attempting to connect a computer to a hub with a crossover cable will prevent that network link from functioning. Home broadband routers have become an exception to this rule: modern consumer routers contain logic to automatically detect crossover cables and allow them to function with other types of Ethernet devices. 4Cabling stock a full range of cross over cables.

Finally – A Crimp Tool and a Tester all in one!

Check this out: 2-in-1 Crimp and Test Tool

Hobbes Tooltest™ is a small hand held cable map tester. It enables network professionals to quickly and easily test Ethernet twisted pair cable for wiring continuity, opens, shorts,and mis-wires.

With a single push of the TEST button, Hobbes Tooltest™ will automatically test cable and indicate the result of the cables pin to pin configuration.

With its unique combination of a Crimper Tool and a Cable Tester in one, it is the smallest and most convenient and innovative tool in the market worldwide today.

• Testing for both UTP and STP cable
• Testing cable for continuity, opens, shorts, and mis–wires
• Pin–to–pin indication
• Test mode selection for run once or test repeatedly
• Auto Power Saving
• Low power indications
• Single and multi–wired cable crimping
• Modular Crimping Plugs: 8P8C (RJ-45), 6P6C (RJ-12), 6P4C (RJ-11)
• Integrated cable stripped and cutter
• Crimping Tool and Cable Tester in One
• Cable Tester can be detachable from the Tool

To Shield or Not To Shield – Custom Patch Leads

shielded patch leads

Shielded or Unshielded patch leads, that is the question.

4Cabling custom make patch leads – one of the more common questions we get asked is what the difference between shielded and unshielded cables are.

The environment determines whether cable should be shielded or unshielded.

Shielding is the sheath surrounding and protecting the cable wires from electromagnetic leakage and interference. Sources of this electromagnetic activity (EMI)—commonly referred to as noise—include elevator motors, fluorescent lights, generators, air conditioners, and photocopiers. To protect data in areas with high EMI, choose a shielded cable.

Foil is the most basic cable shield, but a copper-braid shield provides more protection. Shielding also protects cables from rodent damage. Use a foil-shielded cable in busy office or retail environments. For industrial environments, you might want to choose a copper-braid shield.

For quiet office environments, choose unshielded cable.

To find out more about custom patch leads and shielded patch cables contact our sales team:

UPS: Protecting yourself from Power Outages

socomec ups power supply

Protect your data and IT equipment.

UPS is the abbreviation for Uninterrupted Power Supply. In very simply terms it is a power conditioner with a battery. By adding the battery it is possible to offer protection against power failure / black outs. Generally there are two types of systems available in the market today – Online and Offline / Standby.

Basically a UPS will consist of three key elements:

  • Rectifier / Charger- takes the incoming AC supply and converts it to DC to trickle charge the DC battery and where applicable feed the inverter.
  • Inverter – takes the DC from the battery and where applicable the rectifier converting it to a regulated AC voltage to feed the critical load.
  • Battery – a collection of cells used to store the DC voltage.

The demand for UPS products exists where computer equipment and information technology has been installed. Power supply is often inclined to be erratic and users of modern electronic technology in places like :

  • information technology networks
  • offices
  • hospitals
  • mines
  • factories
  • banks
  • airports
  • railways

These facilities, buildings, operations, companies and many other applications need the assurance of power backups in the case of interruptions due to power failures, surges and lightning strikes.

Power problems are the most common cause of network interruptions. According to an IBM® study, the average system is hit by 120 power disturbances per month.

Have you ever had to reset the clock on your VCR or seen the lights dim for a moment when the refrigerator kicks on? These are common occurrences that are insignificant at home but can cause a shut-down in your network. Many power disturbances are so short they’re invisible to the human eye, but they can make a router lock up or a switch require rebooting. Power problems are actually more common than you may know. For instance:
• 34% of network downtime is because of bad power (IBM study).
• 99% of power problems are brownouts (low voltage) or blackouts (complete outages). Only a UPS protects against those.
• It takes 90.87 seconds for switches in non redundant networks to recover from power interruptions.
• 45% of all data loss is caused by power problems.

For a small fraction of the cost of your networking hardware, you can purchase a UPS that protects your network from blackouts, brownouts (low voltages), and surges—even lightning strikes!

To prevent power disasters before they happen, more than 70% of servers are protected with a UPS. Network managers know that having a server down brings many operations to a halt. Although the loss of a single hub or router may not bring the entire corporation to a standstill, it can result in zero productivity for entire workgroups or remote offices.

How can you tell if your system is suffering from power problems?

See if some of these symptoms are familiar: damaged hardware, numerous service calls, erratic operation, unexplained problems, unreliable data, system slowdown, damaged software, system lock-ups, and more.

If you have experienced some of these problems, you need a UPS. It will keep power flowing, giving you enough time to shut down safely during a power outage. It will also regulate your power, smoothing out dangerous over-voltages and under-voltages, spikes, surges, and impulses that often go unnoticed. These power anomalies can be caused internally by nearby machinery, fluorescent lights, and elevators, as well as externally from nearby transformer problems, lightning strikes, downed power lines, and more.

Data and equipment losses from power problems are preventable. Eliminate system downtime and increase profitability and productivity with a UPS.

We can help you calculate the size of the UPS you will need for your equipment – contact us or view our range of UPS:

Shop Uninterrupted Power Supply products at 4Cabling.

Copper Clad Aluminium (CCA) – Buyer Beware!

At 4Cabling we pride ourselves on selling great quality cable, patch leads and accessories at very competitive prices. That’s why we only sell 100% copper cable.
The cable and patch lead market is currently flooded with Copper Coated Aluminium (CCA) leads. These leads may offer your supplier higher profit margins and you slightly cheaper prices, but they do come at a price.

CCA cables substitute 100% copper for a mixture of aluminium and a thin coating of copper, this reduces cost but does come with some serious drawbacks.
Installers using CCA cable can experience consequences ranging from the relatively minor to catastrophic. Due to its higher resistance, compared to copper cable (as mandated by the standards), CCA installations may suffer degraded data throughput for similar length cable runs. Also with the increased use of devices powered via Ethernet, the use of CCA cable will result in increased power dissipation in the cable which could result in the cable properties degrading and overheating over time.
Furthermore CCA cables will typically not pass a stringent CAT5e or CAT6 test to ISO/IEC 61935.1 or AS/NZS Class D or E standards.
In addition to this, Under the Telecommunications Act 1997 (the Act), there are several offences that apply to the supply or installation of CCA cable for customer cabling. These include the following:

  • Section 411 of the Act provides it is an offence to connect incorrectly labeled customer equipment or customer cabling. The maximum penalty that a court could impose upon conviction is $13,200
  • Section 413 of the Act provides that it is an offence to supply unlabelled and/or non-compliant customer cabling. The maximum penalty that a court could impose upon conviction is $11,000
  • Section 414 of the Act provides that it is an offence to apply a compliance label to telecommunications customer cabling that does not meet the requirements of the ACMA mandated standards. Any CCA cable that carries an A-tick compliance mark would be the subject of an offence. The maximum penalty that a court could impose upon conviction is $11,000.
  • Under section 453A of the Act, authorized ACMA officers can also issue a telecommunications infringement notice with an associated monetary penalty to an individual or body corporate that has committed an offence, in lieu of having the matter heard in a court.

It’s vital to choose patch leads that compliment your network and that’s why you can be confident that at 4Cabling we only sell 100% copper patch leads, fully tested and compliant to Australian Standards.

Our 100% copper patchleads are in stock and available to ship, please view the range by clicking on the link below:

OM3 vs OM4 – Whats the difference?

fibre optic cable australia

OM3 vs OM4 fibre optic cable

With each passing year demand for higher data rates in data centre environments grow. More and more sophisticated equipment is introduced into the marketplace and users increasingly need access to data centre services. Today, we are able to transmit data within the data center at 10 Gig / second using multimode fiber.
While this seems like an enormous transmission rate, user demand will catch up with it fairly quickly.

Thankfully technologies are emerging that will allow transfer rates of up to 100 Gig / second in the data centre. Also on the horizon are 10 Gig / second data rates to the desktop. As demand for service grows so must the transmission standard. These new increased data rates will require cleaner signals for transmission of laser pulses on multimode fiber.

Introduction of Laser Optimized Fiber
Standard, Non-Laser Optimized Multimode fiber, typically is manufactured with an optical defect in the center of the core. While this defect is not detrimental to the transmission of light emitted by LED’s, coherent light emitted by lasers is greatly affected. In order to efficiently transmit laser light through multi mode cable one must use a mode conditioning cable. These costly patch cables offset the launch of the laser to avoid the center defect. In the early 2000’s optical fibre manufactures began producing fibre without the centre defect…

Laser Optimized Multi mode Fibre was born. OM3 was the first standard to emerge, codifying laser optimization of multimode fiber. This technology was the first to allow designs of laser transmission systems utilizing multimode optical fiber without the use of mode conditioning cables. This new fiber when paired with new low cost Vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser technology allowed for 10 Gig transmission.

OM3 vs OM4
OM4 fiber has been on the market since 2005, sold as premium OM3 or OM3+ fiber. The OM4 designation standardizes the nomenclature across all manufacturers so that the customer has a clearer idea of the product that they are buying. OM4 is completely backwards compatible with OM3 fiber and shares the same distinctive aqua jacket. OM4 was developed specifically for VSCEL laser transmission and allows 10 Gig / second link distances of up to 550 Meters (compared to 300M with OM3).

The effective modal bandwidth for OM4 is more than double that of OM3 (4700 for OM4 v/s 2000 for OM3).
While OM3 fiber will still be future proof in most applications, allowing speeds of 10GB/s up to 100GB/s, OM4 fiber offers users longer length distances and more wiggle room in optical budgets
At 4Cabling, we feel that offering our customers a high quality product is our first priority.

OM4 patchleads are now in stock and available to ship, please view the range by clicking on the link below:

What is Structured Cabling?

Structured cabling is cable infrastructure that is made up of a bunch of standardised subsystems. Whether you are running network or voice cable for a data centre, an office building, or a home network, the practices used are governed by a strict set of standards around how you lay the wires to accomplish the job at hand.

The most common used cables for these projects are:

  • Cat5e (Category 5e)
  • Cat6 (Category 6)
  • Fibre Optics
  • Modular Connectors

Depending on the project, the chosen cables will feed into a patch panel for use, where network switches will be used to connect through an IP or telephone system patch panel.

The various cables, fibre, switches, and panels needed to produce structured cabling projects can be found at data and electrical communications suppliers, such as 4Cabling.