R&M looks to the future

Cabling vendor sets sight to 5G, internet of things as future of communications beckons

Tags: R&M Middle East
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R&M looks to the future  Vahid said Middle East operators have the advantage of being able to learn from the experience of network providers in mature markets.
By  David Ndichu Published  July 30, 2018

As one of the biggest names in cabling, R&M is at the heart of the industry revolution now underway.

One of the most interesting developments in cabling in the last few years has been Power over Ethernet (PoE). In the last decade or so, PoE has matured into an established and proven technology and is especially relevant today. As it delivers both the energy supply and the data, PoE could become a key technology for the Internet of Things (IoT), which will be the foundation of the digital transformation, Shibu Vahid, business head, special projects, Middle East, Africa & Turkey at R&M observed.

The IEEE has standardised this power supply method in the standards 802.3af (PoE) for up to 15 watts and 802.3at (PoEP) for up to 25 watts and now the third generation of PoE is waiting in the wings. It uses all four twisted pairs (4PPoE) and will support output of up to 90 Watts with currents of 1 ampere per twisted pair. This puts completely new demands on the data cabling.

Recognising this, R&M has introduced its new rating called PowerSafe. Cabling products labelled with this rating can continuously transmit high currents in local data networks. The range includes patch cords, cable assemblies, connection modules, couplers and field-mountable connectors, Vahid explains.

5G also beckons and several regional operators have committed to launching 5G services by the end of the year. Vahid said Middle East operators have the advantage of being able to learn from the experience of network providers in mature markets.

One key success factor when operators roll out 5G networks will be using pre-tested, pre-terminated fibre-optic cables. “Taking this ‘plug and play’ option avoids the need for risky field splicing, speeds up installation and lowers cost. Also, less specifically trained labour is needed. Of course, taking certain practical steps plays an important part in optimising projects:  thorough cleaning of connectors and adapters before installation is a ‘must’, as well as fully testing the installation afterwards,” Vahid explains.

In a mobile network, base stations which interconnect devices are linked to a core network through the backhaul portion of the overall network. 4G and more so 5G mobile networks need fibre optic connections in the backhaul as this significantly improves both speed and coverage, Vahid observed. “Fibre networks are a prerequisite for sufficient 5G coverage. As has been the case for the latest generations of 4G and LTE, with 5G, mobile fibre is even required in the fronthaul- i.e. in the broadcast feed- to link the base station to the antenna,” he added. 

In an increasingly competitive cabling and data centre infrastructure market, Vahid cites quality, innovation, speed, customisation and flexibility as the key market differentiators for R&M. “Every year, a sizable portion of our revenue is reinvested into R&D, ensuring constant innovation and enhancement in our product ranges. Our solutions are manufactured according to the industry’s highest standards and often exceed the performance, and quality requirements of these,” he says.

Thanks to this reliability, R&M customers are eligible for its unmatched 25-year systems warranty. “We can also extensively customise our solutions to meet the specific needs of our customers. This is particularly useful in fibre optic cabling as we can produce pre-terminated cables of custom lengths that eliminate the need for splicing in the field and thereby eliminates the error that that can introduce. For many customers, particularly malls, hotels and residential complexes, we have customised our solutions to match the aesthetics,” Vahid explains.

Being a family-owned business, R&M understands the need to adapt to the unique requirements of each market it operates in. “We are heavily invested in the region, as is evident by our strategic decisions to maintain a local presence in the all the countries we operate in across the Middle East and our investments into setting up and operating state-of-the-art cable assembly facilities in both the UAE and Saudi Arabia,” Vahid says.

R&M is set to launch into the regional markets the two latest additions to the Polaris family of sturdy and flexible connection boxes for fibre optic networks. The Polaris-Box 36 and 12 solutions enable FTTH providers to cover all the typical requirements in the access area. “These are larger variants of our highly successful Polaris-Box and continue its success of being usable for a number of functions, and featuring innovative seal, protection class IP65, simple installation, and high packing density,” said Vahid.

R&M will also soon unveil FO-Field 2.0, a high-performance field-installable connector that provides an alternative to splicing, thereby giving installers more freedom. Available as LC or SC, it is a flexible and modular solution that it is compatible with all cable types available in the market, making it ideal for FTTH and FTTD, said Vahid. “Improving on the previous design, we have pursued and achieved the ambitious goal of compatibility with all cable types and for this reason, the new FO Field 2.0 now only has one clamping position,” he added. 

Vahid saidR&M is also seeing growing demand for the Netscale product family. These solutions combine enhanced fibre cable management with automated connectivity tracking and an innovative tray design to deliver the world’s highest port density for 10/40/100G Ethernet. Most existing high-density fibre solutions for data centres offer up to 72 LC duplex ports per rack unit and pose great difficulties for management. Thanks to R&MinteliPhy, R&M’s Automated Infrastructure Management solution, Netscale delivers a density of up to 80 RFID-monitored LC duplex or MPO ports, and even 120 standard LC duplex or MPO ports per rack unit.

Building on this, the company has introduced the Netscale Blade Cabling Manager (BCM) a modular, compact and easy-to-operate system for cable management which increases the packing density of FO cabling around large switches and SAN directors with high port density. The BCM occupies just two height units (U) in the 19’’ rack or network cabinet and terminates up to 2,592 fibres. Cable management on the front and back is especially designed to quickly deal with daily configuration tasks and simple trunk cable installation, Vahid explains.

Industry Standards

The latest technology being discussed in the structured cabling industry is the new category 8.1. Specified for transmission frequencies up to 2000 MHz, it is recommended as a connection solution for 40- and 25GBase-T. The tried and tested RJ45 format is to be retained.

The standards TIA 568-C.2 Cat. 8 and ISO/IEC 11801 Ed. 3 have been approved and the manufacturers of measuring instruments have already developed appropriate devices. But as yet, there are no Cat. 8.1 products available commercially for the permanent link (as at: Q2 2018).

R&M has a Cat. 8.1 solution ready to be rolled out and the company will be launching it as soon as the technical conditions for 25GBase-T are clear. Category 8.1 cables will feature significant upgrades over existing Category 6A due to the 4-times increase in bandwidth.

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