Despite the industry's adoption of fibre cabling as the future of networking, a Canberra-based integrator has just rolled out a network infrastructure overhaul for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), consisting entirely of copper cabling.
Allied Technologies Group secured a tender put out by the RAAF Amberly F111 airbase in Queensland and initially proposed optic fibre to link the base's highly secure communications network.
"Because of the activities at the base, the infrastructure had to have a high security rating in an intruder-resistant building'. We originally suggested a complete fibre solution, which would not be affected by electromagnetic interference (EMI), such as radar," Chris Smith, SE Queensland branch manager for installer Allied Technologies Group, said.
"However, while the cost of fibre was comparable with copper, the overall cost to the user after installation to the desktop would have been three times as much," he added.
The half million dollar contract was a difficult installation claimed Smith, as the steel conduit carrying the cable, which was built on-site, had to stretch from the network housing all the way to the desktop across all three floors of the building.
The 600-user network had reported difficulties and dropouts, claims Smith, when Y2K upgrades brought processor speed to the desktop while data and electrical cabling remained patched together ad hoc. The result was numerous points of failure.
The copper network was based on KRONE's TrueNet cabling products, which Smith said gives comparable performance to fibre optic, but at a lower overall cost.
Fifty kilometers of KRONE cable was used as well as 10km of steel conduit and 600 KRONE Highway dual (voice and data) outlets.