Cable Concepts Blog

Cable Concepts installs computer cabling and fiber optics following the 3W’s

The NC Department of Health and Human Services is asking people to remember these three things as we stay strong and continue to flatten the curve and slow the spread of COVID-19.

Cable Installation

Cable Concepts recently completed a wireless cable and access point installation for Medicago in Durham NC. We ran Category 6 cable to 30 locations throughout the warehouse, laboratory and offices, all cables were terminated to Category 6 patch panels in the Server Room and remote IDF’s.

Cable Concepts mounted the AP’s and since this was a clean area that is washed down monthly we covered them with an acrylic waterproof dome (see picture).

We enjoyed working with the Medicago IT guys on this project.

TheeDigital Launched Our New WordPress Website!

We wanted to take the opportunity to welcome you to our brand new WordPress website, created by the award-winning website design and digital marketing agency, TheeDigital. Our goal was to provide our website visitors and clients with an aesthetic and modern website that more accurately represents our company. Just as important, we wanted to make sure it was easy to navigate and use no matter what device you’re on, so you could have the best possible experience while you’re here. We are thrilled with the result and hope you are too!

Our new website is built on WordPress utilizing the latest web design trends. Our new web content management system lets us be more proactive in updating and maintaining our website content as it’s so easy to use. Now, we will easily be able to post new photos, videos, and information to keep you up to date on the latest news as well what’s going on with us.

An Enjoyable Customer Experience

When we sat down with TheeDigital to discuss what we wanted for our website, we had you in mind – we wanted you to enjoy being on our website. We were picturing a clean, crisp design with an intuitive navigation that allows you to find exactly what you’re looking for without worrying about text that’s hard to see or pages that are slow to load. That’s why we’re thrilled to feature responsive web design technology, so you can easily find information about our services, check out images, and read the Cable Concepts NC blog on any size screen or device, including smartphones and tablets.

Easy Updates for Accurate, Up-to-Date Info

While your experience was our top priority, we wanted a website that we could be involved in – Cable Concepts NC and the data, voice and fiber optic cabling industry moves fast, and we wanted a website that any of us could update with new information or promotions and any changes we may be making. Instead of having to bring a developer in for every update, we can do it all ourselves, and we love being able to share new photos, videos,  product/service reviews, and so much more with you.

Before our site was ready to launch, TheeDigital provided comprehensive training so we could get the most out of our website. We love how simple it is to manage different operations in one place, so we can spend less time doing admin and operations tasks and more time helping you.

Search Engine Optimization

We wanted you to be able to find us easily, whether you came straight to our site or, more likely,  were looking for data, voice and fiber optic cabling on Google. The marketing team at TheeDigital follows the most recent digital marketing trends and knows the how to leverage search engine optimization techniques that make it easy for our current and future clients to find us on Google and other important search engines. Because our website now offers fast load times and a mobile-friendly design in addition to strategic keyword usage, optimized images, and relevant content, we are much more visible in search engine results and are excited for the opportunity to work with more customers!.

Custom Design for Improved Performance & Security

While WordPress offers endless customization through plugins, we know that too many plugins can slow down our site’s load time, or if they aren’t from reputable sources, they can cause security issues. TheeDigital helped us choose the essential plugins that are well-known for their quality, functionality, and security so we can have the features that will benefit our clients without any of the concerns.  

Advanced Photo Options and Galleries

We know a picture is worth a thousand words, now we have a stunning photo gallery to highlight our data, voice and fiber optic cabling, team, and events with our company. You’ll get to see beautiful photos throughout our website.

An Onsite Blog to Share Information

Not only do we want to provide you with quality service, we want to be a source of information for you regarding data, voice and fiber optic cabling. With our on-site blog, we have a great platform to highlight Cable Concepts NC and news, informative guides, and so much more, and we can update it regularly. Be sure to check it frequently to stay up-to-date or sign up for emails so you can get updates sent directly to you!

An Integrated Contact Form

The online contact form is a time-saving tool that makes it easy for you to request information, ask a question, and even give feedback without having to track down our customer service email or phone number. Because the forms are all going directly to one specific location, we can respond quickly to get you the information you need and we don’t have to worry about missing a voicemail or an email. Got a problem? Drop us a line! 

Promoting Featured Content

Cable Concepts NC wants you to know about the latest promotions, new services, and news, and that’s why we love our home page slideshow. You get the opportunity to know any important information the moment you land on our home page, so you won’t miss out on anything you may need (or didn’t know you needed). 

We are proud of the new Cable Concepts NC website and hope you enjoy it, too.  After meeting with TheeDigital, we felt confident they understood our goals to create an excellent visitor experience, make it easy to find us online, and simplify site updates. Be sure to browse around and explore some of the new features, read our blog, and check out our photos and videos about data, voice and fiber optic cabling. If you are interested in finding out more about custom web design or internet marketing, visit our friends at TheeDigital.

Data Center Cleaning Tips

Contaminants in a data center can lead to overheating, corrosion damage, electrical and mechanical failure of disk and tape drives, power supplies and circuit boards.  Maintaining a clean data center is critical to its long term success and continued uptime.

The sub-floor air space in your data center is critical to delivering pressurized cool clean air to your IT equipment.  It is very important to keep contaminates from becoming airborne and entering the intake air vents of your computer equipment and under floor fire alarm sensors.

If your cooling systems are working properly, your CRAC and CRAH are delivering cool air to the electronic equipment.  If the subfloor plenum is dirty, then your cooling system is delivering contaminants directly to the same sensitive electronic equipment.  Contaminants that can lead to overheating, corrosion damage, electrical and mechanical failure of disk and tape drives, power supplies and circuit boards.  Debris shouldn’t be allowed to accumulate in the sub floor.

General Data Center Cleaning Tips:
• Clean floor surfaces quarterly or more frequently when possible –
• Clean equipment surfaces quarterly or more frequently when possible –
• Clean sub-floor plenum annually or more frequently when possible –

Note: After new construction or recent renovations, the data center environment will be especially dirty and will require more frequent cleaning

Cleaning Tips for Onsite Staff:
• Don’t sweep, this only makes dirt particles airborne and will push them into the floor panel cracks and through cable cutouts.

• Use a dry mop or vacuum to pick up dirt particles on the floor and subfloor surface.

• If a mop is used, make sure it is a data center dedicated mop, otherwise you risk bringing in outside contaminants every time it is used.

• Make sure that the vacuum being used has a HEPA filtering system.

• If cleaning chemicals are used, make sure that they are approved for use in a data center.

• Wiping down the tops of racks and the insides of cabinets is best accomplished with lightly damp clean disposable cloths. Note: After new construction or recent renovations, the data center environment will be especially dirty and will require more frequent cleaning.

Tips on Using an Outside Cleaning Service:
• Check references on the cleaning company that you are considering. Call other sites they have worked in; be sure they have experience cleaning in a mission critical data center environment and there were no issues.

• Require the employees working at your site to have background checks prior to starting the job.

• Everyone must be made aware of the critical nature of the work being preformed. This should be documented and handed out to all who work in this environment.

• Ask for a detailed scope of the work, you can add or subtract steps as needed. A good add-on would be checking for unused power cables and air dams blocking airflow. You can have them take pictures with grid location enabling your staff to address these issues after the cleaning is complete.

• Be sure the cleaning crew does not remove too many floor tiles at one time. Inform them how many and which floor tiles can be removed from each section of the data center. Make sure to explain the consequences if they remove too many floor tiles and how this could lower static pressure and cause overheating in other areas of your data center.

• Look for signs of a black dusty coating on the sub floor, this is a sign you have A/C belts which are worn or out of alignment.

• Require and check that all vacuum cleaners are in good working condition and have a good HEPA filtering system to keep air born contaminants out of the environment.

• Make sure that the cleaning crew empties the vacuum cleaners and other equipment outside the data center.

• Provide maintenance outlets for them to use, be sure they are instructed not to plug any equipment into server outlets inside cabinets.

• If you have floor tiles wrapped in galvanized steel, be sure to check for any zinc whiskers, these can cause serious problems with your equipment if they become airborne. This is something you may want your in-house staff to be checking on. Zinc whiskers consist of a conductive material, and if they become air born and get into the intake vents of sensitive computer equipment they can short out electrical components.

• Frequently check on the janitorial services work-in-progress.

Another option for data center cleaning is to use your in-house staff.  This is the route I chose at my sites.  My staff was much more familiar with the critical nature of the environment and in my opinion posed a lesser risk.

Remember, in addition to implementing a cleaning program designed to minimize contaminants in the date center, seal all raised floor cable cutouts with brushed grommets like Air-Guard cable seals to eliminate airflow bypass and limit contaminant migration into the air handlers and electrical equipment.

Cleaning your under floor environment is a necessary maintenance practice and will contribute to overall uptime in your data center.

Article by Ken Koty

https://www.pducables.com/kens-korners

Copper vs. Fiber Optic Cables

When assessing which type of network cable you want to install, which type should you go with?

Copper has been used in electrical wiring since the invention of the electromagnet and the telegraph  in the 1820s.

Copper wire is used in power generation, power transmission, power distribution, telecommunications , electronics circuitry, and countless types of electrical equipment.

Copper has the advantage of being less expensive to connect network devices and the fact that it already exists in many places.

1. Fiber optic transmission is faster.

Fiber optic versus copper wire transmission can be boiled down to the speed of photons versus the speed of electrons. While fiber optic cables don’t travel at the speed of light, they come very close—only about 31 percent slower.

 

2. Fiber optic transmission results in less attenuation.

When traveling over a long distance, fiber optic cables experience less signal loss than copper cabling. This is called low attenuation. Copper cables can only transmit information up to 9,328 ft due to power loss, whereas fiber cables can travel between 984.2 ft to 24.8 miles.

 

3. Fiber optic cables are impervious to electromagnetic interference (EMI).

Copper wires, if not properly installed, will produce electromagnetic currents that can interfere with other wires and wreak havoc on a network. Fiber optic cables, unlike copper cables, do not conduct electricity.

 

4. Light cannot catch on fire.

An added benefit of fiber optic cables is that they are not a fire hazard. This can also be attributed to the same reason that the cables do not produce EMI—there is no electric current traveling through the core.

 

5. Fiber optic cables do not break as easily.

This means that you will not have to worry about replacing them as frequently as copper wires. Even though the fiber is made of glass, copper wires are more prone to damage than fiber optic cables are.

Goodwill Industries of North Carolina: New Credit Card Machine Installation

Cable Concepts is pleased to be in the process of installing credit card machines for 41 Goodwill locations across North Carolina. Previously, Goodwill locations in our area only accepted checks and cash payment for goods.  Our work will consist of running two single drops to cash registers to connect the new credit card machines. We are very excited to be a part of this update.

Sound Masking vs. Noise Cancellation

Sound masking (or “white noise”) is often confused with sound cancellation. They are not the same thing, though this is a common mistake.  When we speak to customers, they often think of sound masking as if it were something like the “Cone of Silence” in the old Get Smart TV series.  In the TV series, whenever someone was speaking in “the cone of silence,” the theory was that no one outside the cone could hear it very well.  Unfortunately, it never really worked – with comical results!

Sound cancellation – or “active noise control” – electronically alters an incoming sound wave to minimize or eliminate it altogether. With sound

cancellation the sound wave is picked up by a microphone, analyzed by a microprocessor, and then a speaker placed in the path of the sound wave broadcasts a mirror image (exact opposite) frequency, thus flattening out the wave and canceling out much or all of the sound. This has proven quite effective in small, controlled environments where there are few frequencies to “mirror” (such as wearing noise-canceling headphones on an airplane), but it’s not practical for open office areas in part because the processors necessary to analyze and mask so many frequencies would be prohibitively expensive.

Sound masking, on the other hand, works on the principle that when background noise is added to an environment, speech is less intelligible. In technical terms, the “Articulation Index” – a measurement of how intelligible speech is – has been lowered by this change in the signal-to-noise ratio. The “signal” would be, for example, the person speaking, and the “noise” would be the sound masking. A high signal-to-noise ratio means that speech is very intelligible – an amphitheater would have a very high Articulation Index, for example. Based on this principle, scientists and engineers realized that you don’t have to actually stop the sound waves from a speaker’s voice in order to obtain speech privacy, you just have to make the speaker’s words unintelligible.

If I can see and hear you but I can’t understand the words that you’re saying, we have effectively established speech privacy.

This is what a “white noise” system does to mask sound – it basically “fills in” the sound spectrum around you with barely perceptible “unstructured” noise (“structured” noise would be sounds such as speech or music that have recognizable patterns and convey information). Your brain will tune out unstructured noise as it searches for the structured variety. You’ve experienced this kind of thing before. When you turn on your computer, you hear the cooling fan begin to spin. However, your mind quickly filters out this unstructured sound and it becomes effectively “invisible.” The goal of any speech privacy system is to add enough sound to an area to cover up speech, yet still be quiet enough to be almost imperceptible. Good, well-tuned, quality sound masking systems will produce sound that your mind naturally tunes out. The more uniformly the sound masking system accomplishes this throughout the treated area, the more “invisible” the sound becomes.

Zip Ties Vs. Velcro

There has been much debate whether it is better to use zip ties or Velcro for structured cabling projects. Each have the capacity to pull together attractive cabling projects. They both have their individual strengths and positive attributes, but is one, in fact, superior to the other? Let’s explore.

Zip Ties:

To begin: the lightweight, sturdy zip tie. Zip ties are a perennial favorite among those in the structured cabling world. Invented in 1958, zip ties were first intended for airplane wire harnesses, but now we’ve expanded their usages and applications. In modern times, zip ties now come in a myriad of sizes, colors, and categories. Due to this, along with their affordability and long-lasting strength, zip ties remain the primary choice among cabling professionals. More advantages of the zip tie include: they come in plenum-rated cable tie versions, which are allotted for use in electrical and HVAC functions. There is also a great zip tie for the more harsh settings, Tefzel® cable tie zip ties. These unique zip ties are resistant to radiation, ultraviolet light, corrosive chemicals, and intense temperatures. Importantly, zip ties consistently demonstrate their durability plus their ability to fit through small holes for wiring jobs and their space conservation.

Velcro:

Next up we have Velcro, or hook and loop fasteners. First developed by Swiss electrical engineer George de Mestral, when, in 1941, while taking a walk with his dog, noticed that burdock seeds would cling to his coat and dog. This is what inspired him to make his first touch fastener, which he then patented in 1955. He refined his product for commercial introduction beginning in the late 1950s. Of course, Velcro wasn’t used for cabling purposes at first. At its start, Velcro was intended to be the “zipperless zipper” in the fashion and textile industry. Today, Velcro is used in many industries, including those that do structured cabling. More and more, Velcro straps are gaining popularity, with some technicians using them exclusively. Velcro wraps are preferred by many due to their ability to be used and reused time and time again. Another advantage of Velcro is that it doesn’t require scissors or a cable tie removal tool to remove it. Despite the fact that Velcro cable ties are by and large more costly than zip ties, many consider the extra cost worth it because they are able to reuse it. Velcro straps come in a bunch of sizes, plus large continuous rolls, which can be cut and customized to fit the length requirements for the job at hand. Overall, Velcro straps are thought to have the advantage when dealing with extremely large bundles.

It should be noted that many people select a combination of zip ties and Velcro for cable management. In general, Velcro straps are used for temporary jobs and/or large bundles, and zip ties are best for permanent or semi-permanent jobs.

The Take-Away:

Given their unique strengths and weaknesses, it is difficult to make a definitive call on which is best. Perhaps we can conclude that each have their place in a cable technician’s arsenal, depending on the job.

New RTP Credit Union Corporate Headquarters and Branch Location in Durham, NC

Cable Concepts recently wired the new RTP Credit Union Corporate Headquarters with an additional branch location in the same building. We ran category 6 structured cabling for computers, phones, teller locations, access points, and printers. We installed data racks and cable management for the server room. We also pulled cables for the elevator phone, fire alarms, and IP security cameras throughout the facility. Finally, we mounted TVs and cabled the conference room tables for phones.

We are proud of the work we have done at RTP Credit Union and look forward to doing more work for them in the future.

Many thanks to our stellar techs!

 

BEFORE

AFTER

AFTER

USA Baseball Job

Cable Concepts recently ran Cat 6 structured cabling drops for phone and computers at USA Baseball, headquartered in Research Triangle Park. They required extra connectivity because they are adding staff for the upcoming baseball season, which starts next week. A few fun facts about USA Baseball: it was founded in 1978, and is the governing body for amateur baseball in the United States of America. It is a member of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and organizes the United States national baseball team. Our techs enjoyed doing this job for them as well as meeting the great staff.

 

Cal Ripken’s Jersey

Baseball Trophies

Baseball Trophies