Tag Archives: Intelligent Digital Edge

ANSI/TIA 568.2-D Approved and Includes Big Changes

On June 12, 2018, the TIA TR-42.7 Copper Cabling Systems Subcommittee approved the new TIA 568.2-D standard for publication. The new Balanced Twisted-Pair Cabling and Components standard will replace TIA-568-C.2. There are a few changes included in this standard that sets it apart from its predecessors.

What’s in a Name
First, you might think that the name of the standard is backwards. But the TIA changed its naming convention by swapping the last letters and numbers. Remember 568-A, 568-B, and 568-C? The letter indicated the revision. Then, within the series (568-C.1, 568-C.2, 568-C.3) the numbers indicated the components. 1 defines general requirements; 2 is balanced twisted-pair cable; 3 is for fibre cabling. The TIA thought it made more sense to put media first (number) and the revision last (letter). We do too. But, after all these years, we’ll just have to remember that we need to swap things around.

Slim is In with 28-AWG Cable
The biggest change in the new standard is the recognition of 28-AWG patch cables, which are becoming more and more popular in high-density racks. The cables are almost half the diametre of 24-AWG cable providing more space, better airflow, easier handling, and a better bend radius. There is a caveat with 28-AWG cable though. If you’re using 28-AWG patch cables, you won’t be able to run a standard 100-metre channel. So if you use 10 metres of 28-AWG patch cables, your horizontal cable run will have to be reduced to 82.5 metres.

Straight to the Point with MPTL
Another big change in the standard is the inclusion of the modular plug terminated link (MPTL). Instead of terminating the horizontal cable in an outlet, you can terminate it on one end with a RJ-45 plug that connects directly into a device. This is extremely practical for connecting IP security cameras or wireless access points where it may be too difficult or expensive to install a traditional outlet. The standard also covers how to test the MPTL.

CAT8 Joins the Party
Although Category 8 cabling was ratified in the TIA 568-C.2.1 revision published in November 2016, it now has a place at the table in the new standard alongside CAT6A. There are some major differences. Developed to support the IEEE 25GBASE-T and 40GBASE-T specs, CAT8 has a maximum channel length of 30 metres with two connectors and is tested from 1 MHz to 2000 MHz as opposed to a 4-connectors, 100-metre, 500 MHz channel for CAT6A.

Get Powered Up
TIA 568-D.2 also includes Guidelines for Supporting Power Delivery Over Balanced Twisted-Pair Cabling. This provides recommendations for cables that will support DC power, which is important in terms of supporting 4-pair PoE. DC resistance unbalance testing within and between pairs is also now specified in 568.2-D.

If you’re planning on upgrading your structured cabling system, or deploying a new one, talk to us first. A smartly planned structured cabling infrastructure can enable transformation at the intelligent digital edge for many years to come. Your structured cabling system is now more important than ever and you should expect it to support all your applications including IoT, APs, and more, for a minimum of 10 to 15 years. For more information, please contact us or take a look at our website, bboxservices.com, for more information on our comprehensive services.


Recognising Intelligence at the Edge: AI Earns a Degree at CMU

In May 2018, CMU (Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh) announced that it is offering, what is believed to be*, the first undergraduate degree in Artificial Intelligence in North America. It will be a B.S. in AI (BSAI).

Artificial intelligence is changing the way we work, play, and live. We interact with AI every day, even though we may not realise it. Think Siri or Alexa. Smart offices. Self-driving cars. Music recommendations. IoT devices everywhere from hospitals and transportation hubs to the factory floor. AI is the embodiment of the intelligent digital edge and its impact is growing exponentially right alongside the demand for AI specialists. This new undergraduate degree is designed to address the increasing need for talent in the incredibly tight AI job market.

The leaders in AI have been the movers and shakers in the tech industry. Think Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Uber. They’re fuelling the demand for AI expertise.

“Specialists in artificial intelligence have never been more important, in shorter supply or in greater demand by employers,” according to Andrew Moore, Dean of the School of Computer Science. “Carnegie Mellon has unmatched depth of expertise in AI, making us uniquely qualified to address this need for graduates who understand how the power of AI can be leveraged to help people.”

A statement from the university says the new AI program is intended to give students in-depth understanding of “ways to transform large amounts of data into actionable decisions.”

The program is intended to educate students to think broadly about methods that can accomplish a wide variety of tasks across many disciplines, said Reid Simmons, Research Professor of Robotics and Computer Science and director of the new AI degree program. It will focus more on how complex inputs like vision, language, and huge databases can be used “to make decisions or enhance human capabilities,” he explained in a statement. But he also says the curriculum will include classes on ethics and social responsibility to encourage students to use AI for social good, such as healthcare and transportation.

“We believe that students will be well prepared for graduate work in AI and related disciplines, such as machine learning, robotics and language technologies. The coursework will give students a very solid foundation in math, statistics and computer science, along with a comprehensive exposure to the breadth of subjects in artificial intelligence, including symbolic and probabilistic reasoning, search and planning, graphical models, robotics, computer vision, language understanding, and human-AI interaction. Students will learn the fundamental theory behind these subjects, along with how to use and develop AI techniques. Many opportunities will be available for undergraduates to do research, which will further help prepare them for graduate work.”

The Original Tech Incubator
For more than half a century, CMU has been at the forefront of computer science and AI. The first AI computer program, Logic Theorist, was developed there in 1956. The school launched the first computer programming course in 1958, the world’s first PhD program in robotics as well as the world’s first Machine Learning Department. In 1982, grad students developed the first IoT device, a Coca Cola vending machine that checked stock and measured temperature. The school has always been ahead of the tech curve and it still is. In 2018, U.S. News and World Report ranked CMU’s School of Computer Science (SCS) as the number one graduate school for artificial intelligence in the USA. Now it will be the number one school for undergrads as well.

Tough Competition
The program, set to begin in autumn 2018, will only accept 100 students who can choose AI as a major after their first year. So that’s about 30-35 students per year. Competition for spots will be tough as SCS enrols approximately 700-750 students a year. That means the AI program will account for only about four percent of newly enrolled students.

CMU is known as a hotbed of talent and student start-ups and spin-offs are common. On graduation or before, student AI projects may end up in commercial applications. CMU’s Centre for Technology Transfer and Enterprise Creation helps undergrads and grad students take student projects to market.

The Tech Talent Grab
Pittsburgh is also a hotbed for talent in the tech industry. The city is home to CMU’s Robotics Institute and its National Robotics Engineering Centre, which develops robotics solutions from concept to commercialisation. CMU’s Entertainment Technology Centre is also a geek haven and has been called the Disneyland of video game schools and interactive entertainment.

Adding to the mix in Pittsburgh and the grab for talent are some high-tech giants. Google landed in Pittsburgh in 2006 and has recruited many CMU SCS grads to develop new digital edge applications such as voice assistants. Facebook recently announced that it is opening new artificial intelligent research labs in Pittsburgh and Seattle, Facebook AI Research Labs (FAIR), making competition for recent grads even stronger. In addition, Uber is developing self-driving technologies at its Advanced Technologies Group, which is right down the road from the Robotics Centre. Pittsburgh is also on the shortlist for Amazon’s HQ2.

Lastly, south of Pittsburgh, is Black Box’s headquarters and where we are quite proud to be considered one of the leading providers in intelligent digital edge solutions, including those used to make AI possible. AI is big and getting bigger. The artificial intelligence market is predicted to be a $100 billion industry by 2025. The question now is how can businesses use AI to give them a competitive edge. To do that, they need the right partner to help them embrace digital transformation and leverage the right technologies at the intelligent digital edge.

To learn more about how we can help you with your transformation at the Intelligent Digital Edge, go to BlackBox.co.uk


  • The Milwaukee School of Engineering announced a Computer Science degree focused on AI that’s also scheduled to launch in September. The school said it will offer a bachelor of science in computer science with a focus on artificial intelligence.