Vol. 1 - June-July 2016 Edition

EU Cable Fire Safety Regulations Set for July 1

EU Cable Fire Safety - CE Mark

As of July 1, 2016, the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) will include requirements for a CE marking on cables for Safety in the Event of Fire. This will impact all cables that are being used in a construction product as part of the Construction Products Regulation (CPR). The inclusion of the recently published EN50575, “Power, control and communication cables - Cables for general applications in construction works subject to reaction to fire requirements” in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) provides the standard that all cabling must meet to achieve a CE mark for a certain fire-performance category. There is a one-year transition period, and on July 1, 2017, cabling manufacturers having a mandatory requirement to apply the CE marking to their products manufactured to a European technical specification. Brand-Rex has made extensive preparations for this event and will be on hand to support and provide advice to specifiers, installers and the supply chain through the one-year transition phase. You can learn more at our website

Wireless in Health Care Facilities

What is Driving Demand for Wireless?

Hospitals are seeing huge jumps in data growth, largely due to the rise of Electronic Health Records, as well as more connected equipment at the bedside and other areas. But there is also a huge push to support staff, patients, and visitors, as they increasingly expect reliable wireless access for mobile devices. This means that stronger, faster wireless networks — and the wired infrastructure supporting them — have become a much bigger priority for health care IT departments. They must take into consideration the following trends:

More Doctors and Staff Use Tablets and Smartphones for Work

Today, 90 percent of doctors and staff use mobile devices to engage patients, according to Healthcare Business Insights. And it’s little surprise that nearly 70 percent of health care IT leaders say Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies will be fully supported in their organizations by 2018. This incredible growth requires staff to have a network that delivers the data they need without disruption or downtime.

Patients and Guests Expect Wi-Fi Availability

The demand for reliable wireless access isn’t limited to employees and staff. Wireless access is one of the biggest nonclinical factors for patient and guest satisfaction, as more than half of all health care customers say a positive experience includes access to Wi-Fi and other entertainment, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers Health Research Institute survey. While guest networks may not require the bandwidth of critical clinical networks, managing this traffic has become an important part of an overall health care IT network strategy

More Automated Medical Devices Rely on Wireless

The proliferation of mobile devices is just one facet of a connected hospital. The Internet of Things (IoT) is widely considered as the next frontier for networking all types of medical devices, including stationary devices like IV pumps, fetal monitors, MRIs, and CTs. These devices will be able to quickly send patient data and alerts. Other devices can monitor supplies and equipment, then notify staff when they need to be replenished or maintained, creating greater efficiencies and cost savings.

Building the Right Network

To handle these rising data demands, and to lessen the impact of future disruptions due to network upgrades, IT managers need a well-planned design for both clinical and guest networks. They also need a high-bandwidth wired network to support them. New technology, such as 802.11ac access points that deliver gigabit speed and faster fibre and copper cabling infrastructure, are helping health care IT managers meet these demands.

Wireless Access Points

802.11ac offers performance improvements by utilizing wider channel width and incorporating additional spatial streams. This translates into data rates of up to 1.3 Gbps per radio for current Wave 1 certified 802.11ac products, and eventually up to 6.9 Gbps with Wave 2 products. These upgrades mean staff will get the information they need quickly, and the network won’t be taxed by higher numbers of devices in use simultaneously. In addition to using 802.11ac, some IT managers may also start considering 802.11ad wireless for short-range environments in a single room. Also known as WiGig, 802.11ad can deliver up to 7 Gbps in the 60 GHz band, and would operate as an extension of a larger 802.11ac deployment.

Cabling and Connectivity

Hospitals will not see the full benefits of new wireless technology without the right cabling infrastructure behind it. Health care IT cabling standards, such as TIA-1179, recommend using Category 6A cable for new installations. Only Category 6A will support future migration to speeds up to 7 Gbps offered by 802.11ac Wave 2 and 802.11ad technologies. The Brand-Rex 10GPlus Cat 6A cabling system was designed to support critical systems such as clinical networks. It can deliver 10 Gbps out to WAPs, preparing hospitals for 1 Gbps Wi-Fi today and up to 6.9 Gbps with Wave 2 and beyond.

In addition, the 10GPlus system takes full advantage of Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology, which can transmit power and data over the same cable. Most Wireless Access Points (WAPs) use PoE, which eliminates the need for additional electrical wiring installations, saving on money and redundant cabling. PoE also allows for faster deployment at the WAP. The Brand-Rex Cat 6A system can meet the needs for both higher bandwidth and power. Brand-Rex connectivity is also available as part of a complete in-ceiling system, providing reliable connectivity out to WAPs. The system includes patch cords, cable, connectors, and mounting boxes and brackets. It has been tested and approved to meet requirements for flammability and smoke density in air handling spaces.  It is important to remember that wireless is not the end-all solution for a hospital’s network needs. For example, transferring large images, such as MRI scans, can often take too long to transmit over wireless. Hospitals need to ensure they are installing the right infrastructure to handle greater demand now and in the near future. The Brand-Rex system is ideal for those critical applications that require wired connectivity.

You can learn more about Brand-Rex’s full range of network connectivity for hospitals on our website.

New State-Of-The-Art HI-DEX Solution

HI-DEX panels in a 4U chassis

Nestled in the small Western Netherlands town of Capelle aan den IJssel, on the Eastern edge of Rotterdam, the IJsselland Hospital is a high-tech general regional hospital with beds for 390 patients. These patients are cared for by more than 1,550 employees, 110 medical specialists and around 200 volunteers, who work hard to ensure that everyone inside the hospital walls feels secure and trusts in the care they are receiving. The hospital was founded in 1991 as a result of a merger of the Rotterdam Bergweg Hospital and the Hospital Eudokia and specialises in stomach, intestine and liver care.

Technology and healthcare

The healthcare sector is under increasing pressure, with budgets being cut and spending closely monitored. This means that healthcare facilities are looking to get the absolute maximum from their investments and are keenly aware that they need to find affordable solutions that don’t compromise on quality in any way.

Life expectancy in Europe is growing year on year - the 65 and over age group in the European region is expected to grow to 224 million by 2050 - and the IJsselland Hospital has made every effort to ensure that it is ready to handle the increase in elderly patients, having already been classed as a ‘Senior Friendly Hospital’, which means it has adjusted procedures to make sure it can adhere to the wishes and needs of vulnerable elderly patients.

To deal with these changing patient patterns and trends, the introduction of leading edge technologies such as fibre based IT systems can be key - helping to better monitor patients, improve communications, analyse data and speed up administrative tasks.

Experience and expertise

Brand-Rex has been the Hospital’s cabling solutions provider of choice for many years so when the IT department identified that the infrastructure was in need of a major overhaul in order to keep pace with advances in medical technology, the network infrastructure specialist was naturally the first port of call.

Hospitals, trusts and other healthcare establishments such as IJsselland Hospital must be absolutely sure that their networks can handle growing volumes of data and can afford senior staff access to this data at any time and in any place.

Representatives from Brand-Rex attended several meetings with IJsselland to discuss the hospital’s needs and requirements in developing its main equipment room (MER). IJsselland Hospital was keen to implement a solution that would meet tomorrow’s needs as well as those of today and provided Brand-Rex with a clear vision of a future proof IT infrastructure.

One of the key requirements was a short and hassle free installation that would keep disruption to an absolute minimum and with this in mind pre-terminated copper and fibre assemblies were quickly identified as a solution that would marry with the end user’s demands. After actively participating in the design of the new network infrastructure and by displaying the specific knowledge, experience and expertise needed to introduce cutting edge technology in a healthcare environment, Brand-Rex was awarded the contract. Gert van Zuylen, ICT Coordinator, comments: ‘The upgrade was needed because a rebuild and expansion of the desired MER room was necessary. The new cabling system needed to be future proof for higher connection speeds and flexible for expansion in the future. Our hospital has a certified Brand-Rex cable infrastructure that has served us well so it was logical to choose Brand-Rex again. There were no doubts that Brand-Rex could supply us with the right solution.’ When work officially got underway the initial plans to install a pre-terminated solution based on standard components were quickly reworked to feature a solution based on MTP, which was then worked into a HI-DEX design - offering significant advantages in terms of flexibility, expandability and longevity. Gert continues, ‘Early on we took the decision to go for a Brand-Rex MT Connect solution but we were then shown the benefits of the HI-DEX solution and we very quickly decided to make the switch - it was a pretty easy call to make in the end.’

The HI-DEX solution

HI-DEX is an ultra high performance, pre-terminated, modular, optical fibre cabling system based on MT ferrule connector technology. The product set is ideally suited for installation in the data centre where multiple, point to point, fibre connections between distribution racks and equipment racks can be quickly and efficiently installed and where an upgrade path to multi-lane higher speed transmissions is required.

Recognising optical budget limits is vital in many modern cabling deployments because the total connector loss within a system channel governs the ability of the system to operate over the required distance for any given data rate. The design of the HI-DEX solution allows for flexibility in that it is possible to incorporate multiple connections and achieve longer distances.

The 1U HI-DEX chassis can accommodate six independent fibre cassettes and the split cassettes tray design ensures that access can be made to individual 24f cassettes without compromising other live connections. It also presents a patching field of either 24 x LC connectors (12 duplex pairs) or 12x12 fibre MTP connectors for 40Gb/s and 100Gb/s applications.

Polarity issues with multi-fibre MPO/MTP connectors are avoided as an innovative design feature allows the cassettes to be flipped-over to change from Alpha polarity to Beta. To provide technicians and IT staff at the hospital with further on-site flexibility, the HI-DEX cassettes can be inserted or withdrawn from both, the front or rear of the cabinet.

A cable tracking system ensures the distance from patch adaptor to cable tie point remains constant whether cassettes are ‘in’ or ‘out’.

All of the fibre utilised in the HI-DEX solution is bend-insensitive, protecting the transmission line and ensuring maximum reliability and performance.

In a busy working environment, such as the IT department at IJsselland Hospital, dust caps can easily be misplaced and lost, potentially leading to higher losses and compromising data transmission.

The Brand-Rex HI-DEX solution replaces dust caps with dust and laser protection shutters ‘in-built’ into the adaptors, providing safety and significantly reducing the risk of transmission loss.

The suite of HI-DEX products provides future proofing for multi-gigabit fibre channel infiniband and Ethernet technologies, supporting 10, 40, 100 and 400Gb/s and beyond.

Key features and benefits include:

  • Superior performance - Ultra low loss connectivity ensures the challenging optical budget is achieved
  • Increased density - Maximise density and minimise footprint – up to 144 fibres using LC presentations
  • Unrivalled accessibility - Two point cassette removal ensures realistic access to patch
  • Internal shuttered adaptor - Dust and laser protection negating the need for dust caps
  • Modularity - Scalable design allows the isolated access to 24 fibre cassettes without compromising other connections


Each 19 inch server rack at IJsselland was equipped with one HI-DEX chassis, complete with 12 LC-Duplex connections on a single cassette. Additionally, each of these 19 inch racks was connected with 24 ports and Augmented Category 6 pre-terminated assemblies, built using Brand-Rex’ unique DC Zone cable positioned on space efficient angled patch panels.

The new setup is fully scalable so that the Hospital can make changes and expand the IT infrastructure when required. Serdar Sarica, Territory Account Manager at Brand-Rex, comments:

‘As part of the design dialogue with IJsselland Hospital Brand-Rex outlined its vision to implement a future proof system in terms of both flexibility and expandability. HI-DEX provides this based on ease of installation, ease of replacement and fibre type upgrades if and when required. Sufficient room for expansion is provided without jeopardising accessibility as part of day-to-day operations such as moves, adds and changes that require patching activities.’


Because HI-DEX is a new solution, on-site support was provided to Brand-Rex certified installer Alewijnse Utrecht by Brand-Rex staff. This additional support and intimate knowledge of the solution, coupled with the experience of the installer, meant that the project ran smoothly from start to finish and whilst a standard implementation of copper and fibre would be expected to take over two weeks, the cabling infrastructure at IJsselland was carried out by a two man team and completed in less than 10 days.

Gert comments, ‘The hospital environment comes with its own challenges as it demands high availability on a 24/7 basis. We are confident that any potential issues with cabling or patch cords can be corrected in a timely manner by the certified installation partner. Expanding the cabling system is straightforward and should not take a great deal of time, giving us the flexibility we need to expand when the time comes. Given that the new infrastructure is expected to last for a minimum of 10 years, we are not expecting to have to carry out a major overhaul for quite some time.’

‘This is the first MER cabling system for our hospital and everything is much better than the previous situation where we were using top-of-rack switches in the cabinets. We would certainly recommend using the Brand-Rex HI-DEX solution in similar projects.’

Serdar concludes, ‘The Hospital is very satisfied with the end result and is proud to be the world’s first HI-DEX system owner. The end user can expect to benefit from a highly flexible, modular plug and play system with high fibre density per U, a fully accessible patch field on both HI-DEX for fibre and angled panels for copper, safety and security thanks to integrated dust and laser fibre protection and cable management features that allow patch cord segregation, bend management and easy cable routing.

Industry and Standards Snapshot


Engineering Committee

On 14 June, TIA approved the ANSI/TIA-568-C.2-1 specifications for Category 8 cabling systems. The document is now awaiting publication and is likely to be available soon. The Category 8 standard document was developed by the TR-42.7 Telecommunications Copper Cabling Systems Subcommittee.

TIA is also working on TSB-5021 to support 2.5G and 5G data rates over cat 5e and 6 cabling, but there is concern about the practicality of this compared to using Cat 6A. Cat 5e and 6 cabling wasn’t designed to suppress alien crosstalk (electrical noise from adjacent cables), so there is a chance that extensive testing and mitigation would be required to qualify existing Cat 5e and 6 cabling for this application.

TIA TR-42.12

Optical Fibres and Cables Subcommittee

In January, The TR-42.12 Subcommittee discussed performance and application parameters of Wideband Multimode Fibre (WBMMF) and 2x16 position MPO/MTP Connectors. One of the four architectures chartered in the IEEE P802.3bs 400 Gb/s task force will use the 2x16 MPO or MTP fibre connector. The application will have a 100-meter reach using 2x16 25 Gb/s multimode lanes.

IEEE 802.3

The P802.3bs task force is making progress to define 200 and 400 Gb/s over multiples lanes of 25 and 50 Gb/s. In January, the standard was approved to move to draft D1.2, with an expected publication of 2018.


Deployment of 100-gigabit Ethernet ports rose significantly in 2015. According to the Dell’Oro Group, in addition to installations in core routers, more 100G ports are being installed in lower-priced edge routers. The price of 100G ports continues to drop, and Dell’Oro Group predicts that by 2018, 100G will sell at a price per bit transmitted below that of 10G today.

802.11ac routers are expected to make up around 94 percent of all WiFi router shipments by 2019, according to the Home Networking Devices report from IHS Inc. On the enterprise side, 802.11ac Wave 2 products are expected to provide a boost to the surge of access point and infrastructure upgrades in 2016, according to IHS.

Company News

Ian Wilkie has been appointed Managing Director of Brand-Rex. Brand-Rex is now part of Leviton's Network Solutions group and continues to serve customers in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia Pacific markets. Ian has been with Brand-Rex for more than 15 years, including his most recent role as Commercial Director. To read the full press release click here