New OM5 Fiber Optic Cables Make All the Difference

Do you know why OM5 multimode fiber optic cables are an improvement over singlemode fiber optic cables?

The world runs on data. From how-to videos for online classes to interactive home security networks to intricate network structures of large and small businesses, regular access to the internet is crucial. You want to always be able to offer your employees and clients the best products. That means offering fast, reliable internet speeds, and that’s where multimode fiber optic cable can make an impact.

Multimode fiber cables transmit multiple modes of light at the same time, enabling them to transmit large amounts of data over shorter distances. They differ from singlemode cables in that singlemode cables are capable of transmitting small amounts of data very long distances. Multimode cables may be essential for your project if you or your client needs lightning-fast internet upload and download speeds, or if your business relies on having an always reliable connection.

Types of multimode fiber optic cables

Currently, five generations of multimode cables are available: OM1, OM2, OM3, OM4, and OM5. The first two cannot be used for some modern applications. They use LED light, instead of making the best use of laser equipment like more modern multimode fiber optic cables. OM3 and OM4 are optimized for laser equipment. OM4 can transfer large amounts of data a longer distance than OM3.

OM5 cables are an improvement over the previous fiber optic cable types, because they are capable of transferring multiple wavelengths on a single fiber. This capability may allow you to save fiber optic cable when working with certain ultra-high-speed networks.

Like OM4, OM5 can reach up to 440 meters in a 40G network and up to 150 meters in a 100G network. OM5 cables come with a lime green jacket, which helps you immediately identify them in crowded switches or patch panels.

Advantages of OM5 cable

OM5 fiber optic cable offers bandwidth of 28 GHz. Because OM5 cable is capable of transferring multiple signals or wavelengths on a single fiber, it is a cost-effective option for some projects. It’s also compatible with existing OM4 cable, potentially making your fiber optic cable installation easier.

Even if you decide not to use OM5, multimode fiber is less expensive than singlemode fiber and may be perfect for your next big project. It’s also capable of transferring large amounts of data, and might be just what you need to help keep your network running at the optimum level.

Now that you understand the types of fiber optic cables and the benefits of choosing OM5 cable for your telecommunications project, the next step is finding a trusted cable provider. Tripp Lite offers a line of OM5 cables up to 25 meters long. Their helpful buying guide provides more information, including the various connectors associated with fiber optic cable types.

What You Need to Know About HDMI 2.1


HDMI 2.1 is here, and it’s faster and bolder than all previous versions, including HDMI 2.0. Does that mean you need to upgrade all your HDMI cables and equipment? Not necessarily. Read on to find out why upgrading to HDMI 2.1 cables may or may not be a smart choice for your home theater, business or digital signage application.

HDMI 2.1 Bandwidth Is Almost 3 Times That of v2.0

First off, the new version of HDMI provides bandwidth up to 48 Gbps, a vast improvement over HDMI 2.0’s 18 Gbps bandwidth. This allows you to transmit 5K, 8K, even 10K video resolutions with frame rates up to 120 fps (frames per second) with Dynamic HDR (High Dynamic Range). Although no current television broadcasts, streaming sites or home video formats support 10K, some high-end video gaming applications do. Testing or playing graphics-heavy games at 10K may be an irresistible urge only HDMI 2.1 cables can let you scratch.

HDMI 2.1 Backward Compatibility with Earlier HDMI Versions

Switching to HDMI 2.1 is easy enough. Just switch out your old HDMI cables for new HDMI 2.1 cables. The connectors are the same size and shape, and HDMI 2.1 is backward compatible with your current 2.0 or earlier equipment. Even if you haven’t upgraded your audio/video equipment or computers to HDMI 2.1, your cables will work with your existing devices, though without most of HDMI 2.1’s advanced features.

Not Just Video, But Also Audio Receives a Boost Under HDMI 2.1

Your audio receiver, amplifier and soundbar will also see a vast enhancement with HDMI 2.1’s eARC (enhanced Audio Return Channel) feature. It’s basically HDMI’s Audio Return Channel (ARC) feature on steroids, allowing the installation of advanced audio codecs (including DTS:X and Dolby Atmos) and using the increased bandwidth to carry louder, sharper audio signals.

So, Should I Upgrade Now to HDMI 2.1 Cables?

While the enhanced 48 Gbps bandwidth and 120 fps refresh rate are exciting to think about, the fact remains that, as of today, few source or display devices support HDMI 2.1 technology. Certainly, they don’t come cheap. However, staying ahead of the curve is rarely a bad thing. The first 8K televisions with HDMI 2.1 support are already on the market, delivering resolutions up to 7680 x 4320 at 60 Hz. When HDMI 2.1-compatible equipment becomes more available and affordable, having HDMI 2.1 cabling already in place will put you ahead in the game. And remember: HDMI 2.1 cables work with your current HDMI devices.

Insertion Loss Shouldn’t Be Your Loss

As more and more businesses search for high-speed, global IT solutions that maximize scalability, optical fiber infrastructures have become increasingly popular. Since fiber-optic connections are powered by light instead of electrical signals, information can flow smoothly and rapidly through the network without the constant need for signal amplification, an interruption that traditional network lines often require.

However, the efficiency and integrity of your fiber-optic network can be greatly undermined by insertion loss.

What is insertion loss in optical fiber?

According to Wikipedia, insertion loss is the loss of signal power resulting from the insertion of a device in a transmission line or optical fiber. This degradation of the signal can be measured in decibels by comparing how much light is lost from one point to the next on an optical fiber.

While slight losses are normal along a large network, it’s important to understand insertion loss as fully as possible to minimize these losses.

What causes insertion loss?

MYTH: All insertion loss is the result of fiber contamination, misalignment or bad connectors.

FACTS: Insertion loss is most commonly observed in situations where fibers:

  • Have been spliced together, connected, or sent through passive network components.
  • Are cracked or bent.
  • Are installed in complex configurations, causing tight coils or kinks.

Why should I care about insertion loss?

Insertion loss, when it becomes too great, can lead to a noticeable lag in network performance. Analyzing, testing and repairing the network in the wake of insertion loss can be costly and time-consuming.

And, of course, a slow business network leads to unhappy employers, employees and customers.

How can I prevent insertion loss?

Try following these tips:

  • Make sure to keep all cable connectors clean, especially before and after installation and testing.
  • Install cable carefully, avoiding any pushing or pulling that could exceed the fibers’ tensile strength.
  • Minimize the number of tight bends, coils, splices and connectors in your network.
  • Plan ahead! Realize that designing a smart network and investing in quality installation and materials upfront can actually save money long-term.
  • Avoid field terminations, which are more susceptible to particle contamination and may result in less than acceptable polishing of fibers.
  • Utilize factory terminated cabling. These terminations are made under stringent guidelines and typically include a manufacturer warranty.

Tripp Lite Fiber Cable Solutions

Tripp Lite offers an innovative selection of fiber cables, all of which have undergone insertion loss testing with results that can be easily verified on our website. Our support team is standing by for expert business solutions so you can create a reliable, quality fiber network for you and your clients.

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Cat6 vs Cat6a Ethernet Cables – Everything You Need to Know

Cat6 has become the go-to cable standard for network installers. If you’re wondering whether you should use standard Cat6 or the more robust Cat6a, keep reading.

You can think of Ethernet cables as the plumbing system of your network. If your house has rusty or clogged pipes, you’ll probably have contaminated, low-pressure water coming out of your faucets. Similarly, if you use older Ethernet cables, such as Cat5 or Cat5e cables, you’re more likely to experience slow network speeds and signal interference. Basically, higher quality Ethernet cables can improve network performance.

Just like most other forms of technology, Ethernet cables have dramatically improved in functionality over the past decade. Currently, it’s considered a best practice for businesses to use Cat6a, replacing the Cat6 cables that used to be considered the gold standard. Speed and distance capabilities are several of the reasons why Cat6a has rapidly outpaced standard Cat6.

Cat6 versus Cat6a

The “a” in Cat6a stands for augmented. The chart below shows some of the major differences between the two types of cable:

FrequencyUp to 250 MHzUp to 500 MHz
Maximum Cable Length328 ft./100 m for slower network speeds
(under 1 Gbps);
180 ft./55 m for Gigabit Ethernet
328 ft./100 m, regardless of network speed
Hypothetical Top Speed10 Gbps (over 110-180 ft./33-55 m)10 Gbps (over 328 ft./100 m)

As the above chart illustrates, Cat6a cables support high-speed data transfer over longer distances than Cat6 cables. Cat6a cables are also a future-proof solution that can handle network upgrades.

Cat6a cables were around 50% larger than Cat6 cables when they were first introduced, but the size of the cables has been reduced by around 10% in recent years. Much of the extra size (and weight) is due to the superior shielding on Cat6a cables, which reduces interference.


If you are considering installing Cat6 or Cat6a cables in an older network, both are compatible with 10BASE-T and 100BASE-T standards. Cat6a cables are typically more cost-effective because they will not need to be replaced during network upgrades.

Upgrading from Cat6 to Cat6a is easy because both cables use RJ45 connectors.

Choosing the Right Cable

Tripp Lite offers hundreds of Cat6 and Cat6a cable solutions. Contact our team of Chicago-based product experts for guidance when evaluating the cable in your network.   

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Isolate and Protect Sensitive Data with NIAP-Certified Secure KVM Switches

As stories about highly sensitive data security breaches within the U.S. government and U.S. military make headlines, government agencies are demanding a higher level of security from their IT vendors.

Internal Threats

While we may still envision the remote “hacker” trying to break through a firewall when we think of IT security threats, networks are in fact most vulnerable to data breaches from internal desktop computers and other peripheral devices.

The NIAP (National Information Assurance Partnership), which agencies rely on to test and certify the security capabilities of IT products, emphasizes the ability to combat these internal threats. They have rigorous requirements for products, such as KVM switches, that connect with and manage users’ peripheral devices.

A KVM switch that is not secure provides an open door for in-house users to:

  • Access/remove restricted internal information
  • Introduce malware network-wide
  • Physically breach the device hardware

More Secure KVM Switch Technology

Select IT product manufacturers are enhancing the security capabilities of their KVM switches to address these challenges. Some specific features include:

  • Isolated Channels. Physically separated circuits for each data path on a KVM switch prevent data transfer when switching between authorized and unauthorized channels.
  • One-Way Communication. Prevents users from transferring data back out (to an external device) through the KVM switch. This is essential as handheld drives with terabyte-sized data stores have become available.
  • Secure Emulation. Keyboard and mouse emulation is secured to restrict discovery of connected devices during switching, as is transmittal of EDID data from connected monitors.
  • Flash Drive Restriction. External storage devices are blocked to prevent exposure to malware.
  • Memory Clearing. Secure KVM switches will continuously clear their internal memory after every data transmission to protect against memory mining.
  • Tampering Protection. Device firmware cannot be reprogrammed. Tamper-evident seals  indicate if physical intrusion has been attempted; if the physical casing is opened, the KVM switch renders itself inoperable.
  • Push-Button Control. Requires physical access to the KVM switch when switching between connected computers.

Tripp Lite Secure KVM Switches

Tripp Lite’s new B002 Secure KVM Switch series has earned NIAP certification for the latest Common Criteria Protection Profile for Peripheral Sharing Switches Version 3.0 (PP3.0). This line of 11 new models includes all of the enhanced security features listed above and some models with additional features like:

  • CAC (Common Access Card) ports supporting smart card readers
  • Support for DisplayPort 4K x 2K UHD video (optimal for satellite imaging)
  • TAA compliance for GSA Schedule purchases

While it was designed to meet the strict security requirements of government agencies, NIAP certification does not prevent a product from being used in non-government applications. Healthcare providers, private corporations and any other organizations seeking to protect sensitive data from internal threats can take advantage of the same level of protection this class of products provides.

Contact Tripp Lite for more information about new NIAP PP3.0 secure KVM switches.

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