The AV integration industry is just now beginning to realize how many advantages fiber has over Category 5 cable for long runs. But now, the fiber vs Category 5 cable debate is irrelevant, according to Cleerline.
“Fiber started out being the futureproof solution for the integrator to protect them from what is coming. Today, the future has arrived,” says Rob D’Addario, managing director/president of Cleerline Technology.
D’Addario highlighted several of the advancements that support his position in the fiber vs Category 5 debate, including:
- Speed – “It is simple math. The 18.2Gbps spec for HDMI simply cannot go over Cat 5 or Cat 6a cable.” According to D’Addario, Cat 7 and Cat 8 cable can handle the speed, but it is much more difficult to handle in the field than fiber. He notes that two strands of fiber can carry 40Gbps to 100Gbps on two strands of fiber up to 1,000 feet.
- Durability – “Fiber today, especially fiber from Cleerline, is more durable than copper, and it is more durable than other fiber. It is also easier to terminate than copper. I know that many people would find that hard to believe, but that is what we overcame.” He notes that Cleerline’s fiber has a mechanical dynamic fatigue rating of 30, while the industry standard is 18. The fiber can be bent to just 2.2 millimeters and still maintain a 31-year life expentancy.
- Signal Quality – With fiber, installers do not have to worry about EMI or RFI. D’Addario says many installers don’t even realize how problematic interference can be. He says it is very common for integrators to blame the Ethernet cable for a signal problem, when up to 70 percent of the time it is not a defective cable but EMI or RFI affecting signal quality, but the integrator often doesn’t even know it.
“We changed the way the glass is made to incorporate a polymer coating into the fiber itself. With the polymer coating, we can eliminate 50 percent of the steps required in the field to do mechanical splicing,” he says.
D’Addario notes that mechanical splicing of fiber has been adopted as a common practice among integrators outside of the U.S. for many years.
“We’ve been able to overcome all of the barriers and hurdles that integrators had to face with fiber previously,” concludes D’Addario.