Tag Archives: cable solutions

Developing countries’ broadband growth drives demand for cable solutions

Further research has recently indicated how demand for cable solutions is likely to grow in the months and years to come, thanks to the global broadband market.

Last week we reported a presentation from Integer Research that predicted “sustained growth” in several different types of cable solutions, from Fibre to the Home to coaxial cables.

Now ABI Research has echoed that forecast, putting figures in place for the future growth of cable broadband for fixed-line subscribers. This is in part due to the need for higher bandwidth, capable of supporting formats such as 4K video and 3DTV, and emerging faster protocols like DOCSIS 3.0.

But it’s also partly down to growth in developing areas of the world – such as in the Asia-Pacific region, where 57% of all fixed-line broadband subscribers can currently be found in China. “Chinese government investment and cable digitisation initiatives, in an effort to promote interplay between TV broadcasters, telecom carriers and internet operators, have been instrumental in this development,” ABI Research reports.

With this in mind, the analyst expects that one in four fixed-line broadband subscribers will be using cable broadband connections by 2017. In the UK, where triple play TV, broadband and telephony services are already a feature of the market, it seems sensible to expect similar growth in cable broadband as connection speeds continue to grow, in order to carry all of the necessary information to subscribers’ homes.

New smartphones have varying needs for custom cable solutions

The recent announcements of new smartphones from Apple (the iPhone 5) and Nokia (the Lumia 820 and 920) each have different relevance for manufacturers of custom cable solutions – particularly when it comes to powering the handsets.

Apple have famously shunned wireless charging, meaning their new figurehead handset must still be tethered to a mains socket to recharge its battery.

Nokia, meanwhile, have given customers the choice over whether to use wired or wireless charging, with built-in wireless charging in the Nokia Lumia 920, and an optional backplate to enable it in the Nokia Lumia 820. Some reports say that Apple deliberately avoided wireless charging because the mat on which the phone is placed needs to be plugged in anyway – a short-sighted view, in light of the prospects for public charging points in airport lounges and coffee shops.

Either way, there’s a whole new generation of custom cables to be made, particularly for manufacturers of charging accessories for this new generation of smartphones. Whether that means cables to connect to the mains, adaptors to allow the iPhone 5 to work with existing iPhone accessories (in light of the altered design of the dock connector) or just funky cables to connect wireless charging pads, UK cable manufacturers will be ready to create designs as the new handsets hit the market.

Rebounding HDDs could drive need for power and data cable solutions

A return to growth in shipments of hard disk drives – and the use of HDDs in new types of consumer gadgetry – could help to drive demand for custom power and data cable solutions higher.

In recent years, solid-state disks or ‘SSDs’ have risen in popularity for several reasons: they are quieter, they contain no moving parts, they offer fast disk access, and they’re widely believed to last for longer before failing. However, they have never been able to provide as much cheap storage capacity as conventional HDDs, and that is one factor helping hard disks to retain a substantial market share.

As time goes on, though, HDDs are increasingly being used in less-usual applications – components analyst iSuppli points out that ‘ultrabooks’, the new, high-performance variation on laptop computers, are incorporating hybrid HDDs with SSDs alongside them.

Digital video recording is a further growth segment, as HDDs cater for the massive capacity needed in personal video recorders for high-definition television broadcasts.

As these markets develop, cable manufacturers will be on hand to create the custom cable solutions needed for both the power and data connections of disk drives – whether they are HDDs or SSDs – and to make sure that the wiring is as compact as possible within ultra-small portable devices.

How To Identify A Trusted Cable Manufacturer

The process of manufacturing a custom cable from scratch is a complex one, requiring years of practice and experience to get right. Given the complexities of building a custom cable, the cost can sometimes be quite high, although the performance of the cable in comparison to an ‘off the shelf’ alternative will always make it worth the investment.

However, this cost has led to the rise of counterfeit cables, an issue we have covered in a previous blog post. Counterfeit cables retail at a fraction of the cost of a regular cable but come with the potential to do a lot of damage to equipment, property and even lives through inherent fire risks. What’s more, identifying a counterfeit cable is often extremely difficult and can’t usually be done until the cable has actually arrived. By this point, it’s too late to return or demand a refund, as the supplier will have moved on to their next customer. That means it’s imperative before you commit to buy any new cables that you identify the supplier – or the manufacturer – as trusted. Here are a few ways to go about that:

Previous Work

When shopping for any service, one of the first things you should look for is a good track record. In the cable manufacturing industry, this will come down to the types of cable they have produced in the past, the industries they’d produced cables for and the quality of the end product. In some instances this information will be readily available on the manufacturer’s website or via a company blog, but you can also call the manufacturer direct to enquire about some of their previous work – most will be more than happy to have a chat about relevant projects.

Demonstration of Knowledge

The subject of cable design is quite complex and requires a lot of knowledge learnt over a long period of time. A counterfeit manufacturer, while having this knowledge, won’t take the time to share it with their customer base; it’s far too much effort when they could be knocking up cheap imitations. A reputable manufacturer, however, will disclose some of their processes and explain in detail what kind of cables they build, what the cables are used for, and so on. In some instances, the manufacturer will also have a regularly updated blog – like Custom Designed Cables do!

Contact

Many counterfeit manufacturers will provide a non-specific email address and little else; getting in touch with the manufacturer will also prove nigh-on impossible, as they are likely to be based in the Far East. A reputable cable manufacturer will provide full contact details including where they are based. During the process of your project, they will also provide a direct point of contact for you to get in touch with should you have any queries or complaints. Make sure that this is the case before you pay out for new cables! This direct point of contact will also be able to make amendments to your specific custom cable specifications.

Markings

While not necessarily something that you can check before the cable has been made, proper markings are a sure sign of a reputable manufacturer. One thing to look out for is the manufacturer’s name on the cable; rather than being for vanity or free advertising, this allows the cable to be traced back to the manufacturer should something go wrong. Almost all counterfeit cables will negate this detail. To learn more about how we manufacture cables in a trustworthy manner, get in touch.

What Are Instrumentation Cables?

Instrumentation cables are one of the most common kinds of cable we are asked to design here at Custom Designed Cables, yet providing a single definition for what exactly instrumentation cable is would be extremely difficult.

This is because instrumentation cables can be used for just about any application involving the transmission of voice and data, meaning that they are used for an extremely broad range of equipment. They can also be used for the interconnection of electrical equipment and instruments.

Instrumentation cables, being used for as many applications as they are, can be designed in all shapes and sizes. These can range from small cables with a small number of cores for handheld devices such as walkie talkies, to large multicore cables used in medical equipment such as MRI scanners.

In short, if you need a cable for a piece of equipment that requires the transmission of data or voice, then you’re probably going to need an instrumentation cable.

How Is An Instrumentation Cable Constructed?

As instrumentation cables can be utilised in so many different types of equipment, they are usually custom built to the particular requirements of whoever has requested the cable. These requirements are usually based on the size of the equipment, the kind of tasks the cable is going to have to power and the conditions in which the cable will have to operate. This places a lot of emphasis on the cable designer to come up with a suitable solution for the particular application.

This involves suggesting the kind of materials that could be used for the cable, determining what level of cable shielding (if any) will be required, and designing the cable so that the transmission of data, no matter what the distance between two points, is properly facilitated. The base of an instrumentation cable usually consists of a black cable jacket, a set number of cores (according to the requirements of whomever has ordered the cable) and different colour codes for each cable. Most organisations who order instrumentation cables usually require a basic instrumentation cables with a few tweaks in order to make it suitable for their particular application.

This could involves a different colour cables jacket, different colours for the cores, or even a change in the number of cores housed inside the cables. Other changes could include the inclusion of screening or the printing of the companies name on the side of the cable. All of these changes are the responsibility of the cable designer. So what is the best way to go about ordering your own instrumentation cable? The answer, quite simply, is that it depends.

A lot of organisations who order cables have an idea of the kind of cable they want (the amount of cores, etc) and call upon us to design a cable that meets their exact specifications. In other cases, however, a client may approach us with little technical knowledge and require us to research their particular application and devise a solution based on our years of experience. No matter what your level of knowledge and what you require instrumentation cables for, Custom Designed Cables is here to help. We have a proven track record of taking the requirements of a client and providing them with the perfect cable for the job. To learn more, call 01204 658784 or contact us online.

Custom Cable Solutions For CCTV Cameras and High Level Installations

Although all custom cables are different in their design, there is one characteristic they all share; they were all designed to solve some kind of problem a normal cable couldn’t address. Custom cables work where other cables simply can’t, whether that’s because a standard cable lacks the required power or simply isn’t long enough to reach whatever it is it needs to power.

The latter is actually one of the most common issues a cable designer has to contend with; a great deal of applications involve some form of height – think security cameras or flood lights. This is the same with high level masts, which again can feature some kind of video camera, a standard camera or even just lamps.

Building a cable to fulfil the core functions of these applications seems difficult. Not only does the cable need to be long enough to actually reach the equipment it needs to be connected to, but it also has to combine multiple functions, like powering the equipment while transmitting audiovisual data to a screen elsewhere. For lighting, a single cable is often required to light multiple lamps in a reliable manner.

There are other practical issues to consider too. Having multiple cables crawling up a mast can lead to those cables getting entangled, potentially leading to damage. This means that cable designers are often tasked with creating a single cable rather than having the luxury of two separate cables. The cable also needs to be strong and resilient enough to operate in occasionally adverse outdoor weather conditions.

The Solution

Most cables intended for use on high level masts and with CCTV cameras make use of multicore cables combining power, data and coaxial elements.

This cable will be responsible for powering the equipment as well as ensuring that the data captured by the device (in this case, video data) is transmitted in a reliable manner. As the cable is to be used outdoor, a degree of cable screening is required to negate the ill-effects of electromagnetic interference and ensure that a smooth transmission of data is achieved.

A cable jacket can also protect the cable against tampering and any environmental damage. Multicore cables are most commonly deployed for high altitude applications; the types of core the cable consists of, however, depends on the particular application.

For lighting towers using more than one lamp, a multicore cable will usually consist of multiple power cores, each powering a different lamp. For adjustable masts, a solution will have to be devised with the manufacturer of the mast itself in order to ensure that the cable isn’t damaged when the mast is lowered or extended.

In some cases, this will involve designing some kind of way to lower the cable separately to the mast, or to remove the cable altogether. For more information on custom cables for security and high-level purposes, contact Custom Designed Cables.

How Much Should You Spend on Cables?

An interesting article appeared in the Independent at the start of the month posing the age old question ‘is it worth splashing out on cables?’

The article explored the ongoing idea that the more you spend on a cable, the better audiovisual quality you’re going to get out of your television or speakers. After much deliberation and opinions from both audio experts and cable manufacturers, the article comes to the grand conclusion that…erm…we’re not sure.

Confusion has long been abound among the general public when it comes to cables, a confusion that’s becoming even more prevalent as more and more people splash out on home theatres. A common presumption among the general public is that the more you spend on a cable, the better quality it is going to provide you.

This is often helped along by clever marketing on the part of cable manufacturers with dazzling language combined with technical jargon to make their product sound absolutely essential. Although there is a lot of controversy surrounding the actual differences in performance these cables provide, a lot of consumers claim to notice a marked improvement after installing them. On the other side of the coin, there are the cheap cables you find on eBay for 99p.

Many swear by these cables, claiming they do a perfectly good job for a fraction of the cost. So who is right? The answer, unfortunately, is that it depends. The science behind digital cables would suggest the eBay camp is correct; the nature of a digital signal means that, in theory, it’s either ‘there’ or ‘not’. There can be interference in the ‘re-sending’ of data through the cable, but across the distances in the average home, this presents a minor issue.

For analog cables, it’s a little bit different as interference and resistance does play its part. In layman’s terms, the less resistance a signal experiences, the better quality that signal is going to be when it reaches the output device. One of the ways to overcome this is to use bigger wires. This still doesn’t mean you need to spend a fortune on cables; it just means spending a little bit more time comparing specifications. So what advantages do expensive cables offer, then? A lot of the advantage lies in the build of the cable; expensive cables tend to be built to last, reducing the amount you spend replacing cables. Many cables also boast gold plated connectors, which are less prone to rusting. It’s important to note, however, that both copper and silver are better conductors on the whole.

Buying cables off eBay also means you run the risk of buying counterfeit cables. Although eBay do their best to limit counterfeit listings, there are still plenty that make it through the net and these cables can be extremely dangerous. Check out our previous post on counterfeit cables for more information. Application will also play a big part in how much you spend on a cable.

For home use and across short distances, buying a mid-range cable should suit your needs fine. For more demanding applications, you might need to invest in custom cables. If this is the case, the amount you spend will depend on the design of your cable and the materials used to manufacture it! So how much should you spend on a cable? In all honesty, it depends.

Most people swear that cheap cables are just as good as expensive alternatives, so it might be worth buying cheap and working your way up. If you’re happy with the performance of a cable, that’s really all that matters. For more information on custom cables, get in touch with the team at Custom Designed Cables.

The Undersea Cables Which Power The Internet

In a Wi-Fi world, the internet is a fleeting, invisible force which links together all of our devices. Smartphones to desktops, futuristic fridges to television sets, everything is connected together without wires. But on a global scale, this is simply not true.

When it comes to communicating between London and Hong Kong, the information sent to your router might be wireless but from then on in, a series of interconnected cables transports everything across the world. The internet, in reality, is made possible thanks to the huge volume of underwater cables. While most assume that satellites are doing the heavy lifting, the bulk of information is sent along wired connections.

This is far cheaper and simpler than beaming data to space, a tool usually reserved for broadcasting. The fibre-optics which make our internet a reality are buried deep in the sea bed. They serve each and every continent, spread out like a submarine spider’s web. While the current crop of cables can carry a huge amount of data, our appetite is growing, as is a need for a fall back option should anything break.

The layout is designed to avoid fault zones which exist underwater and to deliver internet with the minimum amount of interference. There are issues, however, three quarters of which are down to external aggression (fishing, anchors from ships). Geological issues also pose a threat, with landslides, earthquakes and the moving tectonic plates all destabilising connections.

The 2011 Tsunami which struck Japan, for example, required quick work and rerouting in order to keep the country online. The more cables which route into the country, the better protected they are in such circumstances. Not all cables are created equal, with those found in the Atlantic capable of transmitting more data than those which run down the coast of East Africa.

Demand dictates performance and smaller markets lead to lower capacities in certain areas. The cables which cross the largest oceans can cost hundreds of millions of dollars. With the majority of landmasses connected, island nations and remote communities are still waiting for integration.

The main challenge now is maintenance. For those in western countries, the amount of connections provides almost seamless service. For locations such as Bangladesh, one cable going down can have a big impact. Additional connections, such as the large cable nearing completion between the USA and Mexico, will add further capacity in certain areas.

As internet traffic increases and bandwidth is ever more important, scaling the solutions already in place will be essential.