Smart Building

3 Important Characteristics of DE Cable: Safely Carrying Digital Electricity™

Michael Bodzay

Digital Electricity (DE) is reinventing how electricity is distributed.

Although every IoT or convergence project varies, they all share one common factor: A power and data connection is needed at each device location, whether it’s for a wireless access point, high-definition display, PoE LED fixture, distributed antenna system (DAS) or surveillance camera.


When you think about placement of today’s network-connected devices, they’re rarely located close to a wall outlet. Instead, they’re located up high on walls, on the ceiling, in plenum spaces or even in parking lots or on a building’s roof or exterior. So how do you cost effectively get a power and data connection to a wireless access point mounted on a 15-foot ceiling – especially when it’s located far from a power source?


Power over Ethernet (PoE) cables are a practical choice for some IoT applications, but they can’t safely distribute high-voltage power over long distances.


The solution in these situations? Digital Electricity (DE). While PoE technology can carry up to 100W of power over a data cable for up to 100 m, Digital Electricity can carry up to 2,000W for up to 2,000 m. In simple terms, it offers 20 times the power and 20 times the distance available with PoE.


Although Digital Electricity can be delivered with off-the-shelf data cable, it’s important that the cable be designed to optimize this technology. There are a few characteristics you should look for in a DE cable to ensure reliable transportation of data and high-voltage power.


1. Optimized to Extend Digital Electricity Across the Longest Distances Possible

DE cables are designed with the right capacitance and electrical characteristics to safely carry high-voltage power for up to 2,000 m without worry of electrical shock.


The cables can carry very short, very high-voltage pulses across long distances to a location that accumulates and transforms the energy into a substantial power source. The high-voltage pulses stop within 3 milliseconds if a problem is detected (the cable breaks, someone touches the cable, etc.).


2. Choices of Copper or Copper/Fiber Hybrid

Having the choice between copper and copper/fiber hybrid DE cables can open up all kinds of possibilities.


When looking at copper DE cables, look for cable designed with anti-corrosion properties, features to enhance longevity and the use of twisted pairs for improved electrical performance that can be maintained during installation.


With a copper/fiber hybrid DE cable option, you achieve maximum flexibility for indoor, outdoor and overhead/burial applications. You can also lower stock and inventory costs with only one cable to store and manage. A hybrid option reduces labor costs as well, with only one cable pull vs. multiple cable pulls.


3. Tailored Product Solutions

To ensure that you get the solution you need for your specific application, the DE cable you select should allow you to specify conductor, fiber strand, color and/or length requirements.


DE Cables Bring New Opportunities to Integrators

In addition to carrying data and high-voltage power across long distances, DE cables also create new installation opportunities for integrators.


Because they safely transport high-voltage power, an electrician isn’t required for installation. Instead, integrators and low-voltage installers can complete the work (similar to how a traditional PoE cable would be installed).


As smart buildings rely on more high-power, long-reach applications, such as PONs (passive optical networks) and BASs (building automation systems), Digital Electricity Cables are becoming a viable option to safely and reliably transmit power and data across long distances.


Belden’s DE Cables

Using our decades of expertise in cable design, we created the market’s first DE cable, which is specifically designed to safely and reliably support Digital Electricity. The technology in Belden’s Digital Electricity Cables is supplied by VoltServer – the manufacturer that patented this new technology.


Our DE Cables are available in copper or copper/fiber hybrid versions and created specifically to support Digital Electricity.