3 Questions: Gepco General Cable on the ‘Why and How’ of Fiber

Now that non-broadcast integration clients across all verticals are demanding “light broadcast” solutions, Brad Pope at Gepco has advice for how and why you ought to get up to speed on fiber.

It’s always nice to get a unique perspective. Gepco General Cable has just that when it comes to the AV integration market.

Its fiber-optic signal transmission solutions are embedded in the broadcast market and, according to operations manager Brad Pope, there is a big difference between how broadcast integrators and traditional AV integrators understand and use fiber.

Now that non-broadcast integration clients across all verticals are demanding “light broadcast” solutions, Pope has advice for how and why they ought to get up to speed on fiber.

As more integrators train and gear up for the “light broadcast” market, they’re probably focused on cameras, etc., but should they also consider signal transmission?

As AV integrators look at light broadcast markets for AV applications they need to consider the technology they’ll be supporting in the future. They will be faced with transmission of high-definition video and future applications of 4K and 8K video signals. These are technologies they may have had limited experience with in the past.

Traditionally, AV integrators are very familiar with use of coaxial cable for video applications. However, based on supplying power to the cameras and signal transmission over long distances, AV integrators now have to become experienced with triaxial cables, SMPTE 311 hybrid fiber cables, single-mode and multi-mode fiber cables.

For applications using high-definition cameras, coaxial and triaxial cables will typically support distances up to 900 feet between the central control unit and the camera.

Watch the video or read on below for the extended Q&A.

Is there a big learning curve for integrators when it comes to using fiber for signal transmission?

I would say yes and no. I would break up integrators into two categories: one is broadcast and two is AV. All broadcast integrators are leveraging fiber today with deployment of SMPTE 311 hybrid fiber cable and also single-mode and multi-mode cables. These are being used in mobile and permanent installations in large sporting stadiums and entertainment venues today.

However, there are 500 to 1,000 or more AV integrators that do not have the same technical expertise or skill set that broadcast integrators have today; therefore, they do not have the capabilities to leverage fiber today. These AV integrators need to be trained in fiber installation and maintenance to get the level of knowledge that the broadcast integrators currently have.

So how should AV integrators approach getting that training?

There are a handful of companies, including Gepco General Cable, which are providing training for fiber installation and maintenance for broadcast applications today.

This training provides AV integrators with the knowledge of the broadcast industry, the products used in the broadcast industry such as high-definition SDI coax, triaxial camera cable and SMPTE 311 fiber cable.

Next: Simplifying Inter-Building Fiber Networks