Although fiber has become a popular choice for digital information networks it also comes with an array of challenges. It is expensive, inflexible, requires a separate power source, needs to be maintained or serviced by someone with specialized training, and is susceptible to damage due to its brittle nature.
All this adds up to a costly, high maintenance network.
As an alternative, some operations are turning to DC powered coaxial cable and Ethernet connections, either to supplement parts of a fiber network, or to use as an alternative.
Within a busy, robust and fast paced environment when the uptime of data transfer is most important, these coaxial cables can provide a much more effective network than fiber.
These “Power-over-Ethernet" networks remove the need for external power sources, because the power travels across the coaxial cable. Coax can also be maintained by on-sight personnel, without the need for specialized certifications – further reducing costs.
Coaxial cables are much more robust than fiber and less susceptible to breaking, making them ideal for use in underground mining. They can also be interfaced with existing fiber networks, eliminating the need for costly network replacements.
Also, because coaxial cables can be easily cut or spliced to any length, they are far more flexible to use than fiber, allowing mine operators to place end-point devices where they need them – rather than where the network dictates.
The need to create a reliable and robust network infrastructure to support today’s connected mine is central to creating a safe and productive operation.
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