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Stay up to date on the latest in intelligent building solutions, infrastructure, and innovations from Paige Datacom Solutions.
  • Industry News
  • 02.21.2020

Gaining CPR: How a cable spec survives global adoption

Paige’s patented GameChanger Cable™,  the first four-pair datacom cable to perform beyond the 100-meter channel distance for Ethernet data and power (PoE) was recently launched in the United Kingdom and Europe.  To gain acceptance, this cable went through rigorous testing to earn the CE “Conformitè Europëenne” mark, which is a European marking of conformity that indicates that a product complies with the requirements of the applicable European laws. The CE label is legally required to appear on many types of products sold in specific European countries to show that they meet European health, safety and environmental standards.

 

Where cabling that is permanently installed in the building is concerned, the CE mark means that that a product meets the safety standards specified by the European Union Directive 305/2011 Construction Products Regulation, known as CPR.  CPR was announced in the Official Journal of the European Union in 2015, which then became mandatory for cables on July, 2017.  CPR provides unified requirements for reaction to fire for power, control, communications, and optical fiber cables intended for installations in all types of construction works in all EU member states.

UL vs. CE vs. CPR

UL Listed means the product meets the standards of Underwriters Laboratories, a private safety testing organization. There are some key differences between a UL Listing and a CE Mark.  One of the biggest differences is that the UL Listing must be performed by a 3rd-party lab with approved flame and smoke tests.  Another, and probably most importantly, is that cable products used in U.S. construction may not necessarily be required by law to be UL Listed, even though most contractors choose to use UL Listed products in order to avoid potential liability issues, whereas the CE Mark is mandatory by law.

A product that is already UL Listed in the U.S. doesn’t automatically qualify for the CE Mark. If a UL Listed product has also been tested to the European harmonized standards, then it may be eligible for CE certification; however, it still must receive a CE Mark and have a Declaration of Performance certificate available before it can be used in Europe.  And on the flipside, products that carry the CE Mark are not automatically considered to be UL Listed. Some product types with the CE Mark do not have to be third-party certified and are not necessarily compliant with U.S. standards.

The CPR requires the construction products, such as cables, to be assessed against a harmonized standard or have a European Technical Assessment (ETA) before the declaration can be issued and the CE marking affixed. If there are no applicable harmonized standards and the manufacturer has not requested an ETA, then the product cannot be CE marked under the CPR and as a result, cannot be sold or installed in the EU.

Steps to obtaining the CE Mark to comply to the CPR includes: identifying the applicable harmonized European standard (hEN), review the essential characteristics (which can vary depending on the specific products), undertake initial type testing and factor production controls (which might require the involvement of a Notified Body) and finally complete a Declaration of Performance and affix the CE Marking.

One critical thing to remember for both UL Listings and CE Marks is that compliancy can differ from city to city or country to country so it is key to work with the local Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ)

Cracking the code

The GameChanger product certified for the EU to the CPR is coded to the standard “Cca-s1a, d0, a1” So, what does that coding mean?

CPR defines several classes that indicate the impact of cables on the spread of fire, using a series of parameters obtained from the corresponding tests. Refering to Table 1, cables are classified by seven performance classes, running from Aca to Fca, with Aca being the least reactive to fire.  Additional subclasses call out for smoke production, flaming droplets and acidity for cable classes B1ca, B2ca, Cca and Dca, as well as a more stringent, larger scale test using bundled cable.

 

Smoke production is rated on a sliding scale from s1a to s3, where s1 is the most demanding classification and s3 is for products where no performance is declared or which do not comply with the requirements of s1 or s2.

Flaming droplets during combustion is similarly rated from d0 to d2, where d0 is the most demanding and d2 is for products where no performance is declared or which do not comply with the requirements of d0 or d1.

Acidity is also rated on sliding scale from a1 to a3, where a1 is the most demanding criteria and a3 is for products where no performance is declared or which do not comply with the requirements of a1 or a2.

Table 1 CPR Classifications

Class

Test

Reaction to Fire

Additional Criteria

Aca

EN50399 20kW burner

IEC 60332 1kW flame

No reaction

s = smoke emission

 

d = flaming droplets

 

a = acidity

B1ca

EN50399 20kW burner

IEC 60332 1kW flame

Very little reaction

Heat release + flame spread

B2ca

EN50399 20kW burner

IEC 60332 1kW flame

Little reaction

Heat release + less flame spread than Cca

Cca

EN50399 20kW burner

IEC 60332 1kW flame

Reduced reaction

Heat release + flame spread

Dca

EN50399 20kW burner

IEC 60332 1kW flame

Improved reaction

Heat release criteria

Eca

IEC 60332 1kW flame

Basic reaction

Flame spread criteria

None

Fca

IEC 60332 1kW flame

Reacts

Fails class Eca test criteria

None

 

So, let’s break it down for GameChanger’s CE Mark: Cca-s1a,d0,a1. The “Cca” rating meets a reduced flame and fire reaction as well as heat release.  The “s1a” relates to the meeting the most demanding smoke protection. Regarding flame droplets, noted as “d0” for the GameChanger relates to the most demanding droplet reduction.  And finally, “a1” for acidity also comes under the most demanding criteria.  In short, GameChanger cable meets the highest performing CPR rating to earn its premier CE Mark.

  • Industry News
  • 12.04.2019

How Airports Are Going the Distance with Data and Video

When you think of airports, you think of big, sprawling spaces, including parking garages and terminals. It’s a large, bustling infrastructure filled with retail stores, jetways, baggage-handling facilities and boarding areas. Typically, cabling is traversing this vast interior, supporting the vital information displays that travelers depend on - and of course, an extensive network of security cameras and equipment.

Making the necessary and critical cable connections in these large airport spaces has always been cumbersome and expensive. And then along came a gamechanger, if you will.


Airports across the country have started deploying Paige’s GameChanger™ Cable, successfully reducing the need for IDF’s (Intermediate Distribution Frame), resulting in an average savings of $107,000, while eliminating potential points of failure.

The patented GameChanger Cable may look like and install like standard Cat6, but it can run twice as far. Underwriters Laboratories (UL) evaluated it and verified the claim that it delivers 1 Gbps performance and POE+ over 200 meters. See the report from UL here.

With the recent surge of interest in adopting GameChanger Cable in airports, Kristin Shaw of Airport Improvement magazine interviewed David Coleman Executive VP of Paige at the Airport Consultants Council Annual Conference. Watch the video interview here:


For more information on Airports and how to successfully meet their unique communications and cabling requirements, you are also invited to read our Airport White Paper – “Cabling the Friendly Skies

  • Industry News
  • 11.12.2019

The Heat is On: GameChanger Elevated to Meet High-Power PoE at Longer Distances

It’s been a year since high-power PoE was defined and ratified by IEEE 802.3bt. So, what has changed in the low-voltage industry and what are the challenges for system designers and contractors when selecting and installing cables for high data and high power? High-power PoE, more commonly known as Type 3 and Type 4, utilize all four pairs of a twisted-pair cable, hence IEEE 802.3bt refers to this as four-pair PoE. Type 3 can provide up to 60W of DC power from the source to a typical maximum of 51W to the device and Type 4 provides up to 100W from the source to up to 71W at each port.

Overview of Power Types by IEEE Standards:

NomenclatureStandardMin Power at PSE Output Max Power at PD InputNo of PairsMax Current per Pair
PoE (Type 1)IEEE 802.3af-2003 15.4 W13.0 W2-pairs350 mA
PoE+ (Type 2)IEEE 802.3at-200930.0 W25.5 W2-pairs600 mA
4-pair High PoE (Type 3)IEEE P802.3bt-2018 60.0 W51.0 W 4-pairs600 mA
4-pair High PoE (Type 4)IEEE P802.3bt-201890.0 W71.3 W4-pairs960 mA


The good news is that more devices, such as digital displays, laptops, televisions, access points and advanced IP cameras, can be powered through the network cable versus having to connect with other cables and to an AC outlet. Think of the freedom. Think of the cost savings. So, what’s the downside?

Turning up the heat

Category cables can power the PoE-enabled device as long as there is sufficient wattage at the source (i.e. a powered switch) to power the unit all the way till the end of the cable run and assure that the voltage has not exceeded the specified voltage drop. The voltage drop is affected by the end device requirement (typically 48V-57V), cable construction based on individual specifications and distance of the run. To calculate the voltage drop (V), multiply the current or amps (A) by the cable ohm resistance (W) which can vary between cable types.

With higher power going through the cable on all four pairs, the identified inhibitors are heat build-up within the cable and the distance limitations. It’s still classified as “low-voltage” so be assured your cable won’t melt or burn, but be concerned that the internal temperature rise can result in increased insertion loss which decreases cable efficiency and affects the entire cabling system.

There are standards and codes to help with the design and selection of the proper cable for safety and performance -- NEC NFPA-70 (2017), TIA-TSB-184-A and TIA-569-D-2. Note that TIA and NEC differ in their maximum bundle sizes. NEC’s focus is safety and the 2017 code provides an ampacity chart (Table 725.144) for up to 192 cables, based on the bundle size, maximum current (A) per conductor, AWG size and cable temperature rating. TIA is concerned with assuring the data and power arrive safely to the powered device and identifies the contributing factors as the current (A) per pair, cable category and number of cables in the bundle (not to exceed 100). TIA provides recommended mitigation techniques and best installation practices to include: reducing the bundle size (manufacturers’ recommendation is not to exceed 24); spreading the cable out within the pathway (such as open cable tray) to provide air circulation; selecting a cable with a larger conductor size (i.e. 22 AWG versus 23 or 24 AWG); and, adhering to the manufacturers’ specifications for ambient and installed temperature ratings.

Extending the distances

Since the dawn of category cable history, dating back to 1983, IEEE 802.3 defined the distance limitation of a four-pair copper cable at 100 meters (which includes the patch cords on both ends). Today this is an age-old dilemma for which many can’t figure out how this rule came into existence or why it still exists. One hundred meters was a convenient length due to legacy specifications for data transmission (10Base-T and 100Base-TX) and could be backwards compatible. The longer the run, the more the signal degraded and the problem was presumed to get worse at higher bandwidths.

For power, the voltage drop and the resistance of the copper affects the length of the copper distance. Basically, voltage drop depends on the power transmission strength sent at the powered source and the gauge of the copper cable.

The restricted reach of 100 meters can severely limit the viable locations where end users can operate a remote IP-enabled device. Most devices requiring the high power PoE extend beyond the 100-meter limitations – think wayfinding signage in an airport, or scoreboards at a stadium, or security cameras in a parking lot.

Existing alternatives to extending the reach include running a hybrid coper/fiber cable with media converters and transceivers (which will require AC power), or installing extenders or repeaters for the copper cable. These options will add cost, as well as more points of failure. For more information, check out our previous blog.

Change the rules by changing the game

It’s a fact that the signal can degrade due to external and internal noise, but with the development of newer and better manufactured cables, there is a more cost-effective and reliable option. The solution is the GameChanger from Paige Electric.

The patented GameChanger cable supports all four types of PoE out to almost 40% farther than the standard 100-meter limitation. Power is carried over the larger 22 AWG conductors and the distance is only limited by the data bandwidth and the application -- 10/100BASE-T (10/100 Mb/s) out to 260 meters (850 feet); and 1000BASE-T (1 Gb/s) out to 200 meters (656 feet).

GameChanger greatly reduces any voltage drop concerns with proven 25%-40% less voltage drop than other typical category cables due to its excellent resistance rating. See the voltage drop chart on Paige’s website.

These cables are designed for all environments, meeting all codes – riser, plenum and outside plant – and are available in unshielded or shielded. In addition, they carry a UL listing. There’s no trick as these cables install and terminate like a traditional category cables and can be certified by most major field test equipment.

Why play by the rules, when you can change the game?


This blog post was written by Carol Oliver, RCDD, DCDC, ESS, BICSI President-Elect (2020-2021)
For more about Carol Everett Oliver, visit: www.ceocomm.com

  • Industry News
  • 10.05.2018

Living on the Edge, the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Extenders and Repeaters

We have written in the past about Lengthonomics. Simply put, lengthonomics is the economics of length with respect to cost of components and intermediate connection points along the way. For instance, if one can install devices out of a single IDF supporting several end devices at 200m rather than 100m, this saves the cost of installation of an additional IDF closet if one were to stick to the 100m rule for category copper channels. Costs of an IDF closet include the cost of the actual footprint, power for the equipment, security, additional equipment, maintenance costs for the equipment, power bill, etc. Estimates of these costs vary. At the minimum, for some installations the cost would also need to include hardened equipment meant to operate at higher temperatures and an enclosure, as the 100m limit puts the equipment needs in an area where air conditioning is not available.


Estimates for the costs of an IDF/Telecommunications room, or minimally a hardened, secure point of power presence range from a few thousand to well into the tens of thousands. In order to save the costly expenditures for the few links that reside outside of the 100m mark, repeaters and transceivers entered the market place. These also range in cost, complexity and reliability.


A repeater can be powered, or can be in line and use PoE, but act as a signal booster/repeater without external power. The distances supported for inline repeaters without power are significantly less that the ones that inject power via an external power supply. Also, the inline, non-powered repeaters degrade the digital transmission signal and power as they add connections into a channel and will not support the same lengths as their powered counterparts.


Transceivers are another product designed to allow longer circuits via a digital to optical conversion which allows fiber like lengths for digital equipment signalling. As fiber is not capable of providing the PoE family of powered applications, the fiber must be run with either external power for the end devices or accompanied by an additional channel of copper, so the end device will receive power. Hybrid copper and fiber cables exist, but they are expensive and should either the copper or fiber fail one would need to rerun one or both.


Other problems can arise out of the use of repeaters and transceivers. First, they are active and as such are subject to failure. When they fail, if documentation is not adequate, they can be difficult to locate and often times a new channel is run as it is more time effective leaving an abandoned cable in the pathway. There is not guaranty of interoperability between manufacturers, so for those failures, you can be stuck with the same manufacturer to replace the failed component as the failed component. Tranceivers and repeaters add costs to the channel and labor to install them. They add an additional points of failure and the equipment adds an additional point of risk. As the channel requirements change, you may need to run new channels or procure new repeaters and transceivers which can make the solution even less cost effective over time.


In a study completed by MSB Security Consulting, a comparison of 106 cameras in a parking structure showed the following totals:


GameChanger cable                                             $ 22,305 

Category 6 with repeaters                                   $104,525 

Powered fiber                                                        $126,172 

Powered fiber without media converters            $116,935

All costs are exclusive of labor which, of course, will be higher with additional components. As you can see the lengthonomics of GameChanger is roughly 80% less than the next closest option, while eliminating points of failure and risk. For those of you that have missed the news, GameChanger cable is UL Verified to support Gigabit Ethernet with PoE+m 200m without repeaters or tranceivers. For 10Mb/s and PoE+ that distance increases to 850.'


Lastly, with repeaters and tranceivers, testing is an issue. When you add repeaters and transceivers, you can test each individual component of the channel, but you can’t test the channel end to end as the channel is over the limits of traditional testers. To test, one hopes the sum of all parts is going to work. With GameChanger you can test the channel end to end with the standard cable testers equipped with GameChanger parameters.

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  • Industry News
  • 08.13.2018

NEC 2017 - What it Means in 2018

For the 2017 version of the NEC, NFPA received 4,012 public inputs recommending code changes that resulted in 1.235 first revision changes resulting in 1,513 public comments on those which then resulted in 559 second revisions. Hence the expanse of time. Five completely new articles were introduced. The new articles are centered around newer technologies like microgrids and energy storage systems that didn’t exist or were not addressed in prior versions.


As of August 1, 2018, the 2017 version of the code is in effect in 23 states. Others are beginning adoption.


As for the cable plant portion of the code document, a few things have changed as well. The first notable change is the clause that requires the removal of abandoned cable. While it was mentioned in previous documents, the removal clause is now in the first paragraph in Article 90 along with addressing equipment removal. It is simply no longer hidden.


Also highlighted is Arc Energy (Arc Flash) reduction. This applies to all fuses with a rating equal to or greater than 1,200A although the implementation dates are set for 2020. Arc flashes have been blamed for more than one data center fire in recent times, and regardless of the environment fixing or lessening the danger continues to be addressed in this and potentially the next version.


There is a new article addressing Photovoltaic systems. Both small and large-scale systems, how they are labeled, disconnect requirements and shutdown are all addressed. This is a new article introduced in this version of the code.


Perhaps the biggest confusion comes from the Power over Ethernet (PoE) specifications and the new LP cables that have been developed which are included as an OPTION. PoE now comes in more than one type and more than one class. The ability to provide power over traditional cables eliminates addition power receptacles and an AC to DC conversion. IEEE 802.3af provided for 12.94W at the end device, while 802.3at provided for 25.50, newer 4 pair (4PPoE) defined in 802.3bt provides for 51W and Type 4 also defined in the same standard provides for 71W of delivered power. Note, Type 3 launches up to 60W and Type 4 launches100W. Beginning with the very first iterations of PoE, safety has been a key concern and as such, heat buildup in tight bundles of cable was studied. The NEC provides an ampacity table to assure that the conductors in the cables will support the transmission. While not normally required, the cables can be used as an option provided the ampacity table (724.144 in the 2017 NEC) is supported by the conductors. In this version of the code, LP cables must carry the LP suffix on the cable jacket. Listings for LP rated cables are verified by UL and must carry the ampacity per conductor designation. Both category (non-LP rated) and LP cables can be used in most installations provided the cable meets the ampacity ratings.


There is no requirement for LP cable for most installations and there is a misconception in the marketplace that LP cables are required for Class 3 or 4 PoE applications. In general, unless bundles are greater than 192 cables, LP cables are an option as long as they comply with the currently limits. Note that the current limit of an LP cable will often be less than the ampacity permitted by the ampacity table for small bundle sizes of the same cable. It is also a misconception that the cable governs the power exclusive of the connector. RJ45 jacks have a general limit of 1.3 Amperes per contact and this may provide the actual limit rather than the conductor limits.


For cabling to support PoE in any iteration, consider not only the power, but also the distances supported, the protocols supported and the connectors at the ends. For our whitepaper on PoE applications featuring the GameChanger cable, visit www.PaigeElectric.com/GameChanger.

  • Industry News
  • 04.16.2018

SIA and ISC West 2018 Best in Video Surveillance Hardware and Accessories

According to ISC, "The International Security Conference & Exposition – also known as ISC West – is the largest event in the U.S. for the physical security industry, covering Access Control, Alarms & Monitoring, Biometrics, IP Security, Video Surveillance / CCTV, Networked Security Products and more. At ISC West, you'll discover the newest security products & security technology, network with colleagues & security professionals, and gain valuable security industry training & knowledge to keep you ahead through SIA Education@ISC." And "The Emerging Technology Zone @ ISC West showcases the next generation of innovative products and solutions that will help revolutionize the security industry. Featuring 40 of the latest and greatest startup businesses, these entrepreneurial start-up companies will help drive change and evolution in our complex cyber-physical security landscape."

Paige is proud to be one of those companies that is driving change in the security industry. The GameChanger cable is available in riser, plenum and now OSP versions to extend the 100m limit of regular category cabling via the patent-pending construction that delivers high definition video and PoE+ to distances that, in the past, have not been supported without repeaters, transceivers or some other means. In the Pavilion, the GameChanger cable configuration was and 850' spool of the cable, a PoE+ switch, one 1080p Camera set to 30 FPS at H.264 and a laptop for viewing. That's it!

The cost savings with GameChanger are significant. In a recent study performed with a colocation facility, the GameChanger cable saved nearly a quarter of a million dollars over 120 drops. In another study completed by an independent consulting firm, the savings were staggering. To learn more about these projects and the cable, visit our GameChanger page. To purchase the cable, or a sample, please contact us a Paige. We are happy to assist.

  • Industry News
  • 12.05.2017

The Edge as a Disruptor Part 2

Quick recap to prior blog should include the fact that we are discussing the edge as a disrupter and the fact that IT should have a say in some of the redundancy decisions for data centers. Supporting an application with redundant everything has gotten to be second nature. “Just do two” has ruled data center decisions for some time as no one wants to be “that guy” or “that girl” that let something go down that is needed for the business. However, as we are moving to meshed communications, software defined everything, and edge compute, the idea here is to decide when you are redundant enough.

We explained theory in part 1, today in part 2, we are putting costs to the decision. It is important for every application to have a risk factor. The factor can really be anything you like, but should be a meaningful and consistent method to measure the implication to the business should the application go down. This can be measured in real or factored downtime dollars, time to repair and recoup, some combination or simply a number based on knowledge. In many cases, the best equation is an hour of downtime x risk factor.

With the new tax laws about to hit for colos, the OPEX advantage is slipping. Therefore, you want to be sure that you get the most bang for your buck in any space that houses your equipment. New edge data centers that are less than Tier 3 and Tier 4 are surfacing to support edge compute. The cost of a facility that provides simple redundancy will be less per square foot than a facility that is fully fault tolerant as the capital expenditures needed to bring them on line are exponentially less.

Starting with equipment cost, it is important to know how much it costs to house an application on a server on a network. The list might look something like this:

Cost of Network Component (32 Ports)

Switch cost                                                                                                                                 $8,900.00

Software Cost                                                                                                                            $1,500.00

Maintenance Costs                                                                                                                    $890.00                                                            

Power Costs                                                                                                                               $2,700.00

Network Cabling Cost                                                                                                               $400.00

Uplink Port Cost                                                                                                                        $2,400.00

Total cost                                                                                                                                    $16,790.00                

Allocated port Cost = Total Cost / # Ports                                                                             $524.69

Server cost (assume 20 VMs)

Cost of Server (Hardware)                                                                                                        $18,222.00

Cost of Licensing                                                                                                                        $2,400.00

Cost of Maintenance                                                                                                                 $1,820.00

Annual Cost of Power                                                                                                               $7,218.00

SAN Ports                                                                                                                                    $1,217.00

Disc space allocation (cost of SAN tower / # of servers) or actual allocation                  $6,800.00

based on disc allocation (Omit if internal storage)

Fiber                                                                                                                                              $250.00

Disc power allocation (total SAN power / # of servers)

Total Cost                                                                                                                                     $37,927.00

Allocated cost - Blade Chassis /20 servers (Total / 20)                                                          $1,896.35

This list is not exhaustive by any means, but is a good start. In short, anything needed to support the application needs to be added in. In the above example, only 1 network, power and storage was used. This allows you to double when needed. Dual networking, double the number. Dual SAN? Double the number. Next, figure out cost per RU for the floor space. A standard rack may have 45RU and occupy a 24x48 footprint with 1 tile front and rear. The overall aisle space that flanks the rows of cabinets will be divided equally across all cabinets. So costs for the cabinet footprint including front and rear tiles is 8'x2' or 16 square feet.

Beyond the 16 square feet footprint, we also want to include the overall perimeter (whitespace) cost for the aisles outside of the rows that house HVAC, etc. The two together based on $350/square foot would look similar to the following.

Cost per Square foot                                                            $350.00

Perimeter footage                                                                320

Whitespace cost                                                                   $112,000.00

Total # of Cabinets                                                              100



Perimeter cost per cab                                                        $1,120.00

Total / 16 sq'                                                                          $5,600.00

Allocated cabinet cost                                                          $6,720.00

Cost per RU at 45RU                                                            $149.33



In this case the allocated real estate cost per RU $149.33. In a higher tier facility, the cost per RU could be double this number. For a 4RU server, real estate costs are $597.33 annualized. In key highly desirable locations, the cost could be 3 or 4 times that number. But now it becomes clear how much the floor plan costs impact the cost per RU. The same server in a $500/square foot cost would be $3,274.37 solely based on the higher cost per square foot.

Likewise, the cost for the application to have redundant networking and storage climbs from $2421.04 to $4,842.08. To have the application in two fully redundant data centers, the cost per application is now $9,684.15 without including cost per square foot.

Assuming we “go with two” and we have redundant network, storage and data centers that are also at a higher cost as the mission critical costs are for a Tier 3 in a popular area, we may be looking at annualized allocation costs of $4,842.08 + $3,274.37 = $8,116.45 just to support one application at two sites. If we were to decide to have the application on a singularly connected server ($2,421.04) at the lower Tier 2 price per square foot of $350.00, the cost per application moves to $3,018.37.

The decision could be made to have a mix of redundancy and sites to support varied applications. Higher risk applications may warrant the extra connectivity and higher mission critical equipment costs. Where lower risk applications may not.

Other factors not considered were overall power costs for HVAC, distribution costs, UPS, PDU, etc. They should certainly be included. In the above scenario, the cost to support an application varied from $8,116.45 compared to $3,018.37. Imagine 1,000 or more servers. Imagine the environmental impact of the wasted power distribution. Imagine the capital and operational expenses that bring little if any more “uptime.” The best redundancy includes geographic diversity. If an application ends up at 20 sites at the edge, how redundant do you really want to be?

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