Two articles written by BICSI South Pacific have recently been published in ECD magazine, discussing the safety aspects of remote powering (Part 1) and digital power (Part 2), specifically looking at the local and international standards and regulations that address them, as well as the market drivers and their uptake.
Extracts from Part 1 (Remote powering):
“We’re seeing a surge in demand for technologies like Power over Ethernet (PoE), Power over HDBaseT (PoH) and new concepts labelled ‘Digital Ceiling’ and ‘Intrinsically safe office’ from the market. As a result, the lines between electrical and communications services are becoming blurred – what was considered safe could now be potentially hazardous and what was considered hazardous could now be potentially safe.
“To help mitigate safety risks, standards bodies stipulate temperature-rise parameters that, if exceeded could result in combustion and permanent deformation of cables that would render them permanently inoperable; maximum cable-bundle sizes; cable routing in catenaries, trays and conduits; cable construction; and conductor diameter to name a few.
“The soon-to-be-published cabling regulations – AS/CA S008:2019 (product) and AS/CA S009:2019 (installation) – have extensively addressed remote-powering, acknowledging its growing adoption.”
Extracts from Part 2 (Digital Power):
“As industry professionals, we have a responsibility not only to keep up with these changes, but to keep up with the risks that emerge with them, as well as the strategies to mitigate them.
“Let’s put it simply to help distinguish the two technologies:
- Remote powering ‘adds power to data transmission’; and
- Digital power ‘adds data to power transmission’.
“The ‘Public Comment Background Paper’ issued with the draft of AS/CA S009:2019 standard addresses the impact of AS/NZS 62368.1 and how industry should deal with potential hazards, particularly energy sources [ES1, ES2, ES3] and personnel classifications.
“ES3 is considered hazardous…New requirements have been specified for cables intended for ES3 generic circuits…A maximum conductor resistance (equivalent to 0.5 mm conductor diameter), an identifiable sheath colour (‘Homebush Gold’) and clearly labelled ‘ES3 circuit’ every 2m in the colour ‘Homebush Red’.
“DR AS/CA S009 [also requires] subducting ES3 circuits when installed with other cables, and preventing access to sockets capable of carrying ES3 circuits.
“Standards have a big role to play in risk mitigation. Ultimately, adherence to these standards by all will ensure our safety along with the safety of those affected by our work.”
The material covered in these articles are important for the ICT infrastructure industry to get a firm handle on. Both technologies – remote powering and digital power – will see widespread adoption in the comings years, so it is vitally important industry professionals are well versed in the technologies, standards and issues brought about by them.