Change is in the Air for Network Cabling

Network cabling's design and performance has evolved through years of research and development. With each technological advance, however, the size of cable has increased, making it more cost-prohibitive and challenging to install. That is, until now.

AirES technology, which was recently introduced by Krone, uses air as an insulating material in its new network cable. A team of cable design engineers at Krone's facility in Sidney, Neb., invented the network cabling design to boost the cable's performance and reduce its size.

“Since the '70s, we've been using air as an insulator for our connectors,” says Tim Takala, director of support technology for Centennial, Colo.-based Krone. “We're now implementing the AirES technology across our entire cabling range.”

Krone's riser, plenum, and CM-50 cables all feature the AirES technology, which increases the cables' signal speed and strength while reducing crosstalk. By using air as an insulator, the engineers were able to reduce the cross-sectional area of the cable by up to 32%. Because air has a low dielectric constant of 1.0 and an improved resistance to dissipate energy, the air pockets reduce the need for bulky fillers and extra bonding that can add weight, reduce flexibility, and take up additional space. Each air pocket is shaped like an arch, which makes it more crush-resistant and flexible. The crush resistance is four times greater than UL recommendations, and the cable has a tighter bend radius due to a 17% reduction in the cable's outside diameter.

The design not only increases the cable's electrical performance, but it can also increase a cable installer's efficiency on the jobsite. The cable design reduces the pulling tension by 32% so more cables can be pulled at the same time, reducing installation time. Twice as much AirES cable can fit on one reel, which makes it easier to handle and transport.

“In cold climates, when you pull the cable out of the box, it lays virtually flat,” Takala says. “The larger you make a cable, the more it becomes like a spring in a box. We've virtually eliminated recoil, which is a common problem in the industry.”

More cables can also fit into less space, which maximizes tray, conduit, and duct space. The cables' fill rates have increased an average of 32% for Cat. 6 and 28% for Cat. 5e cables. As a result, cable installers can use the product in areas with limited access space.

Along with the improvements in performance come safety benefits. With less insulating material to burn, Krone's limited combustible CMP-50 cable generates less smoke and toxicity in air-return environments. Typical CMP-rated cable jackets are made of PVC, which releases chlorine gas when it burns. The jackets for Krone's CMP-50 cable are made of Teflon, which releases 14 times less smoke than other plenum-rated cables. In addition to the requirements of NFPA 262, the cable also meets a more stringent NFPA 90A standard.

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