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236

Significant changes to OSHA regulations 1910.269 and Part 1926 Subpart V went into effect last month, and more are on the way.

29 CFR 1910.269, of course, is the Electric Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution Standard. 29 CFR Part 1926 is the Safety and Health Regulations for Construction, and Subpart V covers construction related to Electric Power Transmission and Distribution.

OSHA has been in the process of revising both of these in order to update them AND make them more consistent with each other.

The one of more interest to utilities, of course, is 1910.269. The revised regulations, which (for the most part) took effect July 10, 2014, cover changes to General Training, Host Employers and Contractors, Fall Protection, Minimum Approach Distances and Insulation, Protection from Flames and Electric Arc Hazards, De-Energized T&D Lines and Equipment, Protective Grounding, Underground Electrical Installations, Electrical Protective Equipment, and Foot Protection.

However, some of the new provisions for Fall Protection, Minimum Approach Distances and Insulation, and Protection from Flames and Electric Arc Hazards do not take effect until April 1, 2015.

The details, of course, cover multiple pages. At this point, the most authoritative and comprehensive source to access the details on these changes can be found at https://www.osha.gov/dsg/power_generation/index.html. This page provides a bit of information on the changes, but, more importantly, has some important links, these being: Final Rule, News Release, FAQs, Fact Sheet, and Minimum Approach Distance Calculator.

The FAQ page provides additional details on: General Questions, Information-Transfer (Host-Contractor) Questions, Fall Protection Questions, Minimum Approach-Distance Questions, and Arc-Flash Protection Questions.

Another useful link is: https://www.dol.gov/find/20140401/2013-29579.pdf (which contains 1607 pages of "light reading"). 

For more information contact Phil Carroll, 417-682-5531.

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The number of IPv4 networks that make up the Internet today is approaching its limits. Some routing equipment used by ISPs and enterprises may be adversely affected in the coming weeks from this approaching limitation.

Though most of the Internet is yet to experience “the conditions that could cause problems for unprovisioned equipment,” the maximum number of routes the Internet can support, as defined by the default TCAM (Ternary Content Addressable Memory) configuration on “certain aging hardware platforms” is 512K routes, Renesys' Jim Cowie highlights on a company blog post.

Just how large the Internet TCAM routing table is, is unclear given “different local business rules about peering and aggregation...but the consensus estimate is indeed just under 512K, and marching higher with time,” Cowie points out. Once the theoretical 512K route threshold is surpassed, some routing equipment will run into problems and could cause service interruptions.

A genuine test of the Internet's maximum capacity, Cowie continues, will come when large ISPs believe the Internet will reach 512K routes, “which will start later this week, and will be felt nearly everywhere by the end of next week.”

Businesses and large organizations should keep a sharp eye on service delivery, latency and “reachability of the paths to customers in the coming weeks,” Cowie advises, so that they will be able to work around problems while making necessary upgrades.

According to Cowie, the potential problems should amount to “more of an annoyance than a real Internet-wide threat.” That's because all the routers used by core Internet service providers and most in use at mid to large-scale service providers, have ample room for route expansion.

Affected routers that don't will cause local connectivity problems for those network providers who still use them, “so they will be identified quickly and upgraded as we pass the threshold.”

Free, addressable IPv4 space continues to diminish as enterprises and service providers use new tricks to route space for themselves, such as carrier-grade NAT (network address translation), according to Cowie.

With the day when nearly every router in the world will exceed the TCAM limit of 512K is fast approaching, Cowie points out that network administrators can change their routers' default configuration to allocate more TCAM for IPv4, though that will come at the expense of that available for IPv6 traffic and connectivity.

 

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Tagged in: internet ip
339

What plans does your organization have in place to purposefully and strategically grow your network to meet your customers’ demands? In a survey Finley commissioned earlier in the year, we learned that many organizations have concerns regarding ever-changing technology and are looking for technical leadership.

Through some purposeful and visionary planning discussions, your organization can efficiently prepare that roadmap to operational excellence.  Consider the importance of:

  • Scalable Network Design
  • Security Infrastructure
  • Backup and Cloud
  • Device Lifecycle Management
  • Network Monitoring and Management
  • Multi-System Integration
  • Troubleshooting
  • Standards Compliance

With high client satisfaction scores, Finley Engineering has become a trusted and preferred partner in the services we offer, which include IP Design and Services. Clients choose to work with us, and stay with us based on the quality of our work, planning and communication. We thank our Finley Associates for the work they have done to earn us a 95% client satisfaction rating.

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349

A research team led by University of Maryland professor of physics and electrical and computer engineering Howard Milchberg, reports that it has developed a means of using air to guide and channel light beams over long distances without the loss of intensity or focus. In a research paper published in the July 2014 issue of Optica, Prof. Milchberg and his lab report on their creation of an “'air waveguide' to enhance light signals collected from distant sources,” the University of Maryland explains in a press release.

In short, Milchberg and his research group have found a way to make air act like a fiber optic cable, “guiding light beams over long distances without loss of power.” Such a capability would have many and varied applications, “including long-range laser communications, detecting pollution in the atmosphere, making high-resolution topographic maps and laser weapons,” according to the press release. We’re basically talking about the ability to transmit the light pulses associated with today’s fiber optics, but without the need for the actual cable.

Milchberg and team's air waveguides consist of a core of high-density air surrounded by a layer of low-density air. The lower density air acts like a wall has a lower refractive index lower than that of the core, which keeps light beams within the air waveguide conduit, the same principle that's used in optical fiber cable.

Milchberg used very short, very powerful laser pulses to create the air waveguides, creating a thin filament core with a high refractive index. Measurements showed that light collected and carried from a spark to a detector about a meter away had 1-1/2 times the strength than one obtained without the waveguide. Over distances 100 times longer, the signal enhancement could be much greater, according to the university's press release, whereas an unguided signal would be severely weakened if not lost completely.

The filaments heat up the air as they pass through it, which causes the air to expand. That leaves a “hole” of low density air behind the narrow filament beam that has a lower refractive index. The two together are analogous to the inner core and outer cladding found in fiber optic cables.

Firing four filaments in a square arrangement result in a wall of holes that form the exterior portion of the air waveguide. A powerful beam fired between the four holes lost hardly any energy when tested over a distance of about one meter. “Importantly, the 'pipe' produced by the filaments lasted for a few milliseconds, a million times longer than the laser pulse itself,” the news report states. “'Milliseconds is infinity,' for many laser applications,” Milchberg added.

The ramifications could be revolutionary, but Milchberg and team first need to show that the air waveguides can carry light signals over much longer distances without a loss of power, at least 50 meters.

 

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Tagged in: Broadband Fiber
346

You might expect energy consumption in U.S. homes would be on the rise given the proliferation of consumer electronic (CE) devices, mobile devices in particular. Energy efficiency improvements in CE devices have more than offset the sharp rise in the number of electronic gadgets in U.S. homes, however.

According to research conducted by Fraunhofer USA Center for Sustainable Energy Systems for the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), electronic devices in U.S. homes used 12 percent less energy in 2013 than they did in 2010, “even though there were nearly a billion more devices,” Mike Orcutt highlights in a recent MIT Technology Review blog post.

Surveying electricity usage among 46 kinds of CE devices commonly found in U.S. homes, researchers found that significant decreases in the electricity used by televisions and computers in large part drove the decline.

Televisions continue to account for the largest percentage (30 percent) of power consumption by CE devices in U.S. homes, though they consumed 23 percent less electricity in 2013 than they did in 2010. Researchers attributed the drop in TV energy consumption to a 50 million unit decline in TVs in use and a “massive” shift from cathode-ray tube to more energy efficient liquid crystal displays.

Personal computer electricity consumption represented the second largest decline among CE devices in U.S. homes. “Power use by desktop PCs declined substantially, largely because there were fewer in use in 2013 (88 million) than in 2010 (101 million),” Orcutt notes, “…and because of an increase in the amount of time the computers spent off or in low-power mode.”

Use of external PC monitors also declined. Coincidentally, there was a 10-fold increase in the number of households with at least one tablet since 2010. According to Orcutt, tablets consumed some 0.6 terawatt-hours of electricity in 2013.

 

 

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On Friday, July 11, the FCC held its Open Meeting which included the Rural Broadband Trials initiative on the agenda. Following that meeting, the FCC shared key points in a press release:

Up to $100 million will be available for the experiments, which will be divided into three groups as follows:

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Americans have been “cutting the cord” on their wireline telephone service and going wholly wireless, but growth in wireless-only U.S. households slowed last year. Some 41 percent of U.S. households were wireless-only in 2013. Just over 39 percent of U.S. adults and 47.1 percent of children lived in wireless-only households as of end of last year, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, the research arm of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The percentage of wireless-only U.S. households was 2.8 points higher in 2013 than it was in 2012, a slowdown in growth from prior years , the Pew Research Center notes in a blog report. The share of wireless-only U.S. households grew 4.3 percentage points in 2011 and 4.2 in 2012, according to the CDC.

Among age groups in 2013, young adults are most likely to be living in wireless-only households: 65.7 percent of 25-29 year olds; 59.7 percent of 30-34 year olds; and 53 percent of 18-24 year olds live in wireless-only households. Those figures are “little changed – and in some cases even below – those recorded in the first half of 2013,” Pew points out.

The demographics of wireless-only households are shifting as well, as older Americans choose to go wireless-only. Over half (52.5 percent) of Americans living in wireless-only households in 2010 were between the ages of 18 and 34. Just 45.5 percent were in CDC's most recent survey, Pew highlights.

Turning to income, CDC found that most poor households do not have landline telephone service – the only demographic for which this is true. Among ethnicities, Hispanics were the most likely to live in wireless-only households.

Regionally, those living in the Northeast were least likely to be living in wireless-only households (24.9 percent). Corresponding figures were over 40 percent in the Midwest, West and South. According to one analysis of first-half 2013 data from last year found that Idaho had the highest percentage of wireless-only households – 52.3 percent – while New Jersey had the lowest – 19.4 percent.

 

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Tagged in: Wireless
418

Many Finley clients have looked towards cloud and enterprise services for revenue growth opportunities. Recent research from Infonetics confirms why. Enterprises and smaller businesses are investing heavily in cloud infrastructure, so the service providers they engage, need to be equipped to meet this growing demand.

North American enterprise-scale businesses expect their network spending will increase at double-digit rates in 2014, though there's a shift in where the money will be spent, according to a new report from Infonetics Research.

Spending on wireless LAN, network monitoring and switches is growing, as is that for branch office infrastructure – a sign of confidence that the economy will continue to grow, according to Infonetics' “Network Equipment Spending and Vendor Leadership: North American Enterprise Survey .”

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Tagged in: cloud enterprise SMB
496

In January we shared news of the FCC Rural Broadband Trials initiative to gather Expressions of Interest. We know that somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,000 EOI’s were submitted.

What’s next? The FCC’s Open Meeting is scheduled for July 11 and it appears that the Rural Trial application information will be made available at this time. 

Finley Engineering has experience working with FCC programs and we are offering our assistance with the Connect America Fund Rural Trial application process, mapping, modeling and more. We are committed to being an expert resource in this process for our industry partners. 

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344

Congratulations to Finley’s Jeff Swan who was recently promoted to the position of Vice President of the Kentucky office, replacing Ann Keller who retired the first of July. Swan joined Finley in December of 2010 bringing significant experience, expertise and leadership to the company while managing the company’s Springfield, Illinois office.

“Jeff has proven himself a genuine and innovative leader and we congratulate him on accepting this key position within Finley,” said Boehne. “We are confident the exceptional work we do for our clients out of our Kentucky location will continue and that Jeff and his team will build upon our success in this part of the country

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271

YouTube has seen a meteoric rise in its short life from a repository of “cat tricks videos” to the third most trafficked site on the web, behind only Google and Facebook, according to YouTube Downloader. They published the below infographic which highlights what happens on the video-centric website every 60 seconds.

Here are some interesting findings:

  • Close to 2.8 million videos are viewed in a minute’s time on YouTube
  • 100 Hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute
  • YouTube generates $10,654 in revenue every minute, mostly from advertising

Learn more about YouTube, including its top earners from the below infographic.

b2ap3_thumbnail_YouTube_Minute.jpg

 

 

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Tagged in: OTT Video YouTube
448

The 2014 World Cup now underway in Brazil is the most accessible in the tournament's 75-year history, and alternative second and third screens are a big part of that, according to market research from Ovum. World Cup 2014 broadcast and streaming services are available on as many as 5.9 billion screens worldwide. By Ovum's count, PCs, tablets and smartphones account for 57 percent of them.

Noting the importance of crisp, clear images and preferably larger screen formats when viewing live sports events, Ovum “stresses the importance of traditional broadcasting – via terrestrial, cable, satellite, or IPTV – for attracting the largest audiences and the most value for World Cup rights holders.”

That said, the market research and consulting company continues, “Connected devices are playing a crucial role in evolving viewing habits for big-event TV.

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Tagged in: Devices OTT Tablets
563

Going direct to consumers, Netflix launched its over-the-top (OTT), browser-based streaming video service in 2007. Today, Netflix delivers more than 1 billion hours of streaming video per month to 48 million subscribers in over 40 countries.

In the U.S., Netflix streaming alone accounts for more than one-third of peak Internet traffic. That's a huge amount of data, and Netflix, like a growing number of businesses in similar situations, has been developing its “Big Data” analytic skills and expertise. As the Netflix's Nirmal Govind explains in a post on “The Netflix Tech Blog,” it's using them to perform deep data analysis and craft predictive algorithms that enhance user experience.  

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Tagged in: Netflix OTT Video
621

Revenue in the worldwide market for broadband aggregation equipment showed strong annual growth in 1Q 2014, rising 23 percent year-over-year to $1.9 billion, according to a new report from Infonetics Research 

Sales of Gigabit Passive Optical Networking (GPON) equipment fueled overall growth in the telecom equipment market segment, rising 44 percent year-over-year in 1Q. Continued spending on fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) in China; Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), as well as seasonally strong spending in North America in turn helped drive GPON revenues higher.

“While the first quarter is typically the slowest of the year in North America, and this one was no different, it's a good sign that the 10 percent revenue boost we saw in 2013 is carrying over into this year,” commented Infonetics' principal analyst for broadband and pay-TV Jeff Heynen.

“AT&T, CenturyLink, Windstream, and tier-3 operators all have dedicated plans in place to expand VDSL and GPON deployments in an effort to keep pace with cable DOCSIS 3.0 rollouts and fiber offerings from upstarts like Google.”

Among the key takeaways in Infonetics' latest quarterly broadband aggregation equipment report:

  • The global broadband aggregation equipment market (DSL, PON, and Ethernet FTTH) is down 5% in 1Q14 from 4Q13, but up a healthy 23% year-over-year, totaling $1.89 billion
  • The only equipment category that grew sequentially in 1Q14 is PON (+0.1%)
  • #2 Alcatel-Lucent finished 1Q14 only around $1 million behind top dog Huawei
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Congratulations to Finley Engineering’s Vice President of our Wisconsin operations, Dean Mischke, who recently accepted the Wisconsin State Telecommunications Association (WSTA) President’s Award during the WSTA Annual Convention. 

In her award presentation, out-going WSTA President Cheryl Rue said, “Dean has been a steadfast member of the Associate Member Group Committee, and for years has offered invaluable program suggestions to the Convention, Fall Conference and Broadband Forum Committees.”

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Finley clients have been working hard to get broadband access to some of the most remote and rural parts of the country. But if you think your job has been hard bringing broadband to rural America, how about taking it to the Moon?

According to a Discover online magazine report, “researchers from NASA and MIT for the first time recently demonstrated that it's possible to beam a wireless Internet signal across the 239,800 miles separating Earth from the moon,” Discover reports.

Not only that, but future lunar explorers “could theoretically check in at Mare Imbrium and post lunar 'selfies' with greater speed than you do from your home network,” Discover's Carl Engelking writes.

As Engelking explains, the researchers employed four different telescopes in New Mexico to beam uplink signals through four different columns of air to a satellite in lunar orbit. 

Each column of infrared light is bent at different angles, so sending four increased the chances of one of them actually interacting with the lunar satellite receiver and establishing a connection with the lunar surface. About six inches in diameter, each of the four telescopes is powered by a laser transmitter that transmits information in the form of pulses of infrared light.

The scientists were able to send data to the moon at 19.44 Mbps, about that of a good Earth based broadband connection. Downloading information was much, much faster, taking place at 622 Mbps, “over 4,000 times faster than current radio transmission speeds,” Engelking noted.

 

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Tagged in: Broadband wifi Wireless
546

The rapidly emerging Internet of Things (IoT) trend is prompting information and communications technology (ICT) industry participants to band together and develop common, open standards that facilitate development of applications and platforms for the fully automated digital home.

For example, the Consumer Electronics Association's (CEA) Home Networks Committee on May 21 announced the formation of “a new working group to develop an industry technical standard to improve interoperability among home automation devices.”

Announced at the CEA Technology & Standards Forum in Seattle, the new working group, dubbed the Device Interoperability Working Group, or R7 WG17, aims to reduce the money, time and effort required to develop software applications for consumers to access and control home automation devices and systems.

Looking to cover the spectrum of digital home automation devices and systems from end to end, the CEA is looking to recruit so-called “users” – companies who acquire home automation products from their creators – as new committee members.

Building the application programmer interfaces (APIs) that enable cross-device and platform interoperability “requires the developer to work closely with each manufacturer to develop an API or gain access to the manufacturer’s API, followed by extensive testing to ensure compatibility,” Bill Rose, president of WJR Consulting and chair of CEA’s new working group, elaborated.

“Some developers simply forego this and attempt to develop APIs on their own or use open source APIs, resulting in interoperability problems and service calls to the manufacturer for problems over which the manufacturer has no control.”

The new CEA working group hopes to avoid such problems and confusion. It intends to define XML schema templates that will lay out everything necessary for home automation application developers to build applications that monitor and control home automation devices, “including non-standard features that may not be included in standard device profiles defined elsewhere.”

Aiming to ensure backward-compatibility with legacy devices, the XML schemas will not require additional firmware.

Home automation XML schemas that comply with the CEA working group's standards “will ultimately be posted on a secure server hosted by the manufacturer or a third-party for use by application developers and others for interoperability testing,” CEA explains. “Each manufacturer will have control over who can access its schema to ensure that only developers that meet a manufacturer's approval criteria may download the schema.”

 

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Tagged in: Devices Smart Home
509

Finley clients have long recognized the growing number of devices in the home and its lead to a new business opportunity in home networking support.  New research from NPD highlights this trend, outlining that Internet connected TVs in the home continue to gain popularity. Newly connected “smart” TVs and streaming media players fueled a 6-million year-over-year increase in the number of U.S. households with TVs connected to the Internet in 1Q 2014, according to NPD’s latest, “Connected Home Report.”   

In total as of the end of the first quarter 2014, NPD puts the number of U.S. households using either a video-game console, Blu-ray disc player, streaming media player or the TV itself to connect to the Internet at 42 million

According to NPD, there are now more U.S. households with streaming media players than Blu-ray disc players connected to the Internet. “As a result, the streaming media player platform now reaches a larger digital audience than the app-related content on Blu-ray disc players,” NPD notes in a news release.

Commented John Buffone, NPD Connected Intelligence executive director, “Consumers want devices that can deliver high-quality content to their TVs. The increase in Connected TV and streaming media player penetration is proof that consumers are investing in solutions that can provide app-related content in the simplest, most effective way.”

Wireless connectivity, is in turn the most salient feature for consumers, NPD continues. Sixty-seven percent of Connected TV users said that Wi-Fi connectivity “influenced their decision regarding the device they preferred to use for apps on TV,” according to the results of the NPD Connected Intelligence “TV User Experience Report.”

More broadly, ease-of-use features, whether search-related or centered on the device, represented four of the Top 10 Connected TV features consumers highlighted in NPD's market research. Included among them were an easy-to-use remote, easy-to-use home screen, the ease with viewers could find apps or channels, and the ease with which they could find new apps.

 

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Tagged in: Devices Smart Home
704

Finley Engineering recently announced that Ann Keller, Vice President of our Kentucky office, has made the decision to transition into retirement the first part of July. It is with extreme gratitude and heavy hearts that we are accepting Ann Keller’s plan to retire and wish her all the best.

Ann’s career began 26 years ago as a staff engineer. She advanced to Vice President in 2005, and joined Finley in 2007 when Finley Engineering acquired the Lexington, Kentucky business. Finley has prospered under her direction and her team’s efforts as they’ve worked hard to not only grow Finley’s business in this part of the country, but to also deliver such exceptional results that Finley Engineering consistently receives stellar satisfaction ratings from Ann’s clients.

CEO Mike Boehne also announced the promotion of Jeff Swan to the position of Vice President of the Kentucky office, replacing Keller in July. Swan joined Finley in December of 2010 bringing significant experience, expertise and leadership to the company while managing the company’s Springfield, Illinois office.

Jeff has proven himself a genuine and innovative leader and we congratulate him on accepting this key position within Finley. Ann and Jeff have been working toward making this a smooth transition for our clients and our Finley associates. We are confident the exceptional work we do for our clients out of our Kentucky location will continue and that Jeff and his team will build upon our success in this part of the country.

Congratulations to both Ann Keller and Jeff Swan.

 

 

 

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Tagged in: Finley News Thank You
776

The penetration rate for 3G and 4G mobile broadband modems embedded in tablets reached a level not seen since late 2011 in 1Q 2014 even as 1Q remained a seasonal low point for tablet shipments overall, according to the latest global tablet market report from ABI Research.

Just over 1-in-5 (22 percent) of tablets shipped in 1Q came with an embedded 3G or 4G mobile broadband modem. That's the highest penetration rate since the September quarter of 2011, according to ABI's early vendor shipment share estimates for 1Q

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Tagged in: tablet Wireless