AV & Fiber Testing

In my last post, I discussed AV over networks as the next upcoming change in audio/video technologies. Instead of using signal specific wiring for analog AV (VGA cables, mic cables, etc.) we’re now using network switches. To use network switches, we also get to use industry-standard network wiring.
Using the network though requires making sure the network is robust and terminated correctly. I discussed that a 4K video signal is nearly 20GB, but we could compress it down so it’s under 1GB. But what if we have two network switches, each with video transmitters and receivers and we need to get that video from one switch to the other? Normally there is a single link in between. In a basic network that may only be a 1G connection. If we have multiple 1G streaming trying to move across that link, we’re going to have an issue. Or what if those two switches are in two different buildings on a campus?
With fiber cable, we can make that link 10G or more, and can transmit up to 2 kilometers, giving us immense reach with our AV equipment. Fiber, just as in networking, is becoming more and more prevalent in AV systems.
At Camera Corner Connecting Point (CCCP), as part of our commitment to providing world-class technology solutions, we’ve invested in the latest tools to allow us to terminate and test fiber optic cables used in our AV installations. We’ve recently purchased a Fluke Versiv testing system and a Belden fusion splicing tool kit. This allows us to make the highest quality fusion splices in the field. Fusion splicing does just what the name implies. Two pieces of fiber optic cable are inserted into the unit, which then melts the glass ends together making a seamless connection. Since fiber optic cabling is so small, smaller even than a human hair, we need a way to make sure the connection meets specifications. The Versiv system tests the fiber run to make sure any light loss is within specification. This includes all splices and connectors in the run.
All good so far. But what if the cable run goes through a couple patch points and we’re getting poor performance out of the system? The Versiv testing system also includes an OTDR module that can then identify where the problem occurs along the cable path. It can tell us how many feet down the cable the problem occurs. This helps us efficiently find the problem and make the fix instead of redoing all the terminations in the link.
The Versiv system also allows us to test copper CAT5 and CAT6 cabling as well. CCCP is committed to providing high-functioning systems for our customers. Using the proper wiring components, techniques and testing helps us ensure you are satisfied with our work. Even if you have a system that was installed by others and have questions about system performance, you can contact us to come out and test your wiring with our test equipment. Let us know how we can help you with you AV systems!

Written by: Scott Tomashek

His certifications include: CTS; CTS-D; DMC-D; and Certified London Architect.
Scott began at CCCP in January 2007 as an AV Systems Consultant, focusing on Houses of Worship. During Scott’s tenure, his skillset continued to grow and evolve and as a result, he was chosen to be a member of InfoComm’s Standards Committee. He was also chosen to be an Instructor at the 2016 InfoComm Technology Expo. Tomashek
has been instrumental in many projects, and was promoted to Director of AV Design Engineering in 2016. Fun Fact: Scott was formerly a High School Band Director.


Top Photo by Savannah River Site