Everything IP: Protecting Your Network Traffic

Berk-Tek Everything IP

November 29, 2016

Do you remember which iPhone you had 10 years ago? iPhone 3G? Maybe the 4s? The answer is neither. The original iPhone wasn't launched until June 29, 2007! Today (as of March 2016) we are on the 9th generation of iPhone, and each generation gets thinner, yet more powerful than the last.

The point here is that we continue to ask more and more of not only the devices we use, but also on the underlying network infrastructure that allows all of these devices to work. Furthermore, we are on the verge of a completely new wave of advanced technology that is still in development, but will be here in just a few short years.

Berk-Tek has identified three interrelated market drivers that are pushing the advancement of new technology. The question is: Will your network infrastructure hold up?

A Bandwidth Explosion: Due to unprecedented bandwidth demand, in 2014, the IEEE started a new technology initiative (802.3bz) to develop a way to transmit 2.5G and 5G over Cat 6 solutions (possibly 2.5G over Cat 5e). There are significant technological hurdles to overcome with this, primarily with alien crosstalk, which neither Cat 5e nor Cat 6 was designed to handle. Additionally, Cat 6A (10G) technology is now needed in enterprise applications like wireless access points (WAPs), and HD and UHD (4K) Video applications that require this bandwidth.

An Evolution in Wireless: This is the result of not only the billions of new wireless devices that are connecting each year, but also the growing bandwidth that each device is capable of transmitting and receiving. This is why we have the IEEE 802.3ac standard. When fully rolled out in 2018 (est), this standard will allow up to 6.9Gbps of bandwidth to flow from the WAPs back to the IDF. Another standard in development now is the IEEE 802.3ax (expected to hit the market by 2020), which will likely allow for a four-fold increase over 802.11ac. When 802.11ax technology is fully deployed, close to 30Gbps could be transmitted from the WAPs back to the IDF or Telecom Room.

More Power over Ethernet: The next generation of PoE (IEEE 802.3bt), is expected to be adopted in 2018. This new technology will allow for more than a six-fold increase in the amount of power transmitted through our IP networks (up to 100W). With it, IP networks will not only connect devices like digital signage and TV monitors, but will also be able to power them.

Over the last several years, Berk-Tek has invested millions of dollars preparing for EVERYTHING IP. With Berk-Tek, your network infrastructure is ready to deliver maximum performance for simultaneous voice, data, video, and power in real world conditions. Visit our page to learn more about the new technologies on the horizon and how Berk-Tek's solutions are designed to handle the future stress and strain that these new technologies will bring.

The Market Drivers

A Bandwidth Explosion

By 2019, global IP traffic will pass two (2) Zettabytes annually or 168 Exabytes per month (Figure 1). To provide a point of reference, one (1) Zettabyte is equivalent to the amount of data that has traversed the internet since its creation.* The application that will drive the most bandwidth over the next five years is IP video. In fact, in 2019, if you were to sit down and watch one month worth of global IP video traffic, it would take you more than five (5) million years! Lastly, more and more of this IP traffic will be sent over wireless networks.

Forecast for monthly IP traffic

To prepare for this bandwidth explosion, a new IEEE initiative was started in 2014 to develop technology that boosts the bandwidth of existing Category 5e and Category 6 standards-based solutions. Specifically, the IEEE is working to develop technology that allows 2.5G and 5G to work over existing Category 5e and Category 6 solutions. The thought is that by doing so, IT managers can use their existing network infrastructure to support the ramp-up of 802.11ac wireless technology.

However, there are pitfalls to this approach. First, both Category 5e and Category 6 were initially designed for only 1.0Gbps, and pushing these products to 2.5G and 5G will create alien crosstalk that they were not designed for. The consequence of this could be that bundle sizes may need to be reduced, and total channel lengths may be restricted to less than the standard 100 meters. Additionally, using the 802.11ac technology, the bandwidth required from the WAP to the IDF will ramp up to 6.9Gbps. At that point, 5.0G will not be enough. To avoid the need for costly changes down the road, we highly recommend only Category 6A be used to install WAPs.

For desktop applications, however, technology that allows Category 6 cable the ability to transmit up to 5.0G is an effective solution. Investing in a premium Category 6 product like LANmark™-2000, which has already been successfully tested in bundles to 100 meters with simulated 5.0G transmission, could certainly pay off down the road. You could look at investing in a premium Category 6 solution like LANmark-2000 as a relatively inexpensive bandwidth insurance policy for the desktop.

Evolution in Wireless Devices

Advancement in wireless technology is being driven not only by the sheer number of wireless IP devices being used, but also by the amount of content being generated and transmitted by each device (Figure 1). Today, anyone with a mobile smart device can take pictures or record high-definition video content and transmit bandwidth-intensive files to any number of contacts.

Content Transmitted by Mobile Devices

This growing demand is why the IEEE has developed the wireless standard called 802.11ac. This technology will roll out in phases, or waves. The first wave of products – both devices and wireless access points (WAPs) – began in 2013.

As subsequent waves roll out, significantly more bandwidth is made available. By wave 4, WAPs will have the ability to transmit up to 6.9Gbps back to the IDF (Figure 2). This means that if the theoretical maximum throughput is achieved by the WAP, seven Category 6 cables would be required to move that much IP traffic. This is why the TIA TSB-162-A recommends using Category 6A for each WAP.

In the midst of all this, the next generation of wireless is also being developed. This new technology – IEEE 802.3ax – will pick up where 802.11ac drops off. The goal of IEEE 802.3ax is to provide bandwidth of at least 4X what 802.11ac can deliver, with an estimated 30Gbps delivered back to the IDF. Additionally, as bandwidth goes up, the reach of each WAP goes down. Therefore, as 802.11ac technology advances to waves 3 and 4 and 802.11ax starts to become commercially available around 2020, more WAPs will be required for the same square footage.

802 11AC Wireless Transmission Rates

More Power over Ethernet

Power over Ethernet (PoE) was first adopted in 2003 with the original 802.3af standard, providing up to 15W of DC power with 12.95W minimum available to the powered device. The ability to power IP devices, primarily VoIP phones at that time, proved to be very cost effective for customers. As years went by and advanced VoIP phones began to require more power, the IEEE ratified 802.3at in 2009, allowing up to 30W of DC power with 25.5W of power available to the powered device. This accommodated VoIP phones with larger full-color displays, as well as some of the early IP security cameras and other IP devices.

PoE remains very cost effective, and therefore a very popular technology. As such, the need for more power continues to grow, and the IEEE has begun work on a new standard – 802.3bt. The technology being developed for 802.3bt will likely introduce the following advancements over previous generations of PoE:

  • Deliver power over all four pairs instead of only two
  • Deliver power with 10Gbps throughput, not limited to 1Gbps
  • Deliver power in two increments (depending on what is needed) – 60W / 100

Figure 1 below shows the forecasted growth of next generation PoE technology, and examples of devices that will require more than the currently available 30W of power.

4 Pair High Power Market Potential

The challenge to future network infrastructures, especially cabling, is this: How can IP traffic be isolated and protected from the additional heat and noise that will be generated from more than 3X the power that is currently available? Berk-Tek’s premium Category 6 products have advanced technology built in to do just this. Additionally, Berk-Tek’s LANmark™-XTP product with its innovative discontinuous shield allows for superior isolation and minimum temperature rise, even under 100W of power through all cables in large bundles.

Converged Application Score

Berk-Tek’s Converged Application (CA) Score is calculated using a proprietary algorithm that combines the results of the following tests over a specially designed 100 meter, four connector channel:

Berk-Tek Converged Application Score chart

  • Mean Opinion Score (MOS) – A quality of service metric used mainly to measure VoIP.
  • Frame Error Rate (FER) – A very rigorous test for IP data applications.
  • Media Loss Rate (MLR) –A quality of service metric used to measure IP video (IPTV).
  • Heat Rise from PoE – A measurement of how efficiently cabling can dissipate heat.

A cable’s CA Score is in an indicator of how well IP traffic is protected, as well as how much heat rise there is when the cable undergoes PoE testing. The score is represented by a numeric value between 1 and 10, with 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest. In reality, a score of 1 is not possible because it would represent no connection and catastrophic heat rise. Likewise, a score of 10 is unattainable because it would mean perfect performance and zero heat rise with high power PoE. Consequently, CA Scores range between 2 and 9, as illustrated in this table:

What does the CA Score tell you?

Berk-Tek Converged Application Score chart

A performance rating of “Unacceptable” (less than 3.6) means that there are consistent noticeable flaws (dropped frames, media loss, etc) in the applications tested. As you move towards higher scores, you notice fewer flaws until you reach a score of 9, which is almost flawless. PoE testing is also an important factor; cables that experience less temperature rise can achieve higher CA Scores. Because the CA Score algorithm assigns weights to MOS, FER, MLS and PoE heat rise test results, there are multiple ways to achieve a specific CA Score. For example, the CA Score algorithm weights the results of MOS and MLR higher than FER due to the time-sensitive protocols used within VoIP and video applications, such as RTP and UDP, where lost frames are not retransmitted.

About the Converged Application Score Test:

The four (4) connector, 100 meter channel used for CA Scoring is not the same as what the industry has used for last 20 years. The CA Score test looks like this:

Berk-Tek Converged Application Score test
Berk-Tek Converged Application Score test

Environmental Certifications

Berk-Tek is now providing Environmental and Health Product Declarations (EPD and HPD) to help customers reach sustainable building objectives driven by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). EPDs and HPDs are necessary to the accreditation of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program managed by USGBC.

[PDF] Berk-Tek Environmental Certifications

Berk-Tek Product Enhancements

How can IP traffic be isolated and protected from the additional heat and noise that will be generated from more than 3X the power that is currently available? Berk-Tek’s premium Category 6 products have advanced technology built in to do just this. Additionally, Berk-Tek’s LANmark™-XTP product with its innovative discontinuous shield allows for superior isolation and minimum temperature rise, even under 100W of power through all cables in large bundles.

[PDF] Berk-Tek Product Enhancements
[PDF] Berk-Tek Product Selector
[PDF] Berk-Tek Internet of Everything Brochure

To learn more about BerkÔÇÉTek’s enhanced EVERYTHING IP platform, contact your Graybar representative, call 1-800-GRAYBAR, or fill out the form below:

IoT Product Information Request Form