BRCA Bytes December 2017

brca_Admin Blog, News

Renewing your registration online 

Late last year, BRCA introduced an online Cabling Registration renewal process to simplify the procedure for cablers. As with all new initiatives, we had a few ‘teething problems’ to start with, but we’ve ironed them out, so it’s quite a simple process. Over the past year, several cablers have conveniently renewed their registrations, as well as updated their details and added competencies.

We have had calls from a few cablers asking for assistance with it, so we thought we’d share the process with all BRCA cablers in this newsletter and outline the process in a step-by-step guide to renew your registration:

– Follow the link in your renewal email or visit the BRCA website:  www.brca.com.au

– On the right hand side of the Home page, click on the blue box “Renew your Registration” – which will take you to the Account Sign in page.

– On that page, login in using your email address and password. (If you haven’t set up your password, you can do it using the ‘Forgotten Password’ link underneath the “Log in” box. If you’re having any problems, just call us on 1800 306 444 and we will help you set it up).

– Once logged in, you will see the registration options the “BRCA Registration Account” page:
To renew your CURRENT Registration, click “RENEW” to choose your pre-selected registration period 1-year ($35.00 + GST) or 3-year ($80.00 + GST). Or, if you want to change your registration period from 1-Year to 3-Year or vice-versa, click on “View all registration options” which will allow you to select the period before proceeding with renewal.

– If your Registration has recently EXPIRED, you can re-activate it by selecting the appropriate payment option 1-year ($35.00 + GST) or 3-year ($80.00 + GST) presented on the page.

– You will then be directed to the payment form. You do not need to upload any supporting documents (this is only for new applications) Scroll down to ‘Billing information’. Please complete your Name, Billing Address, Phone number and Credit Card details. It is important all these fields are completed, otherwise your payment will not be processed.

– Once payment is completed, you will be directed to a page that will show receipt of transaction.

– You will also receive a confirmation email from BRCA.

– BRCA will then send you a new registration card in the mail, which will typically take 10-14 business days.

– Alternatively, if you prefer to pay by Direct Deposit and there are no changes to your registration, simply pay it from your bank – BRCA banking details outlined in renewal reminder email (IMPORTANT: list your BRCA registration number as the REFERENCE (If you don’t do this, we won’t know who made the payment, so we can’t renew you registration).

After stepping a few cablers, who initially found this rather daunting, through the process, they found it easy and quite intuitive, so when your cabling registration is due for renewal, give it a go online – it will only take a few minutes. But if you need some guidance with it, or prefer to renewal manually, feel free to call your BRCA team, who will be only too happy to help.


Revised Cabling Guide for Smoother Connections to NBN

A revised telecommunications industry guideline has just been released by Communications Alliance that will give clearer instructions to Registered Cablers when migrating existing customers’ telecommunications services to the National Broadband Network (NBN).

The Guideline, entitled ‘G649:2017: Cabling existing telecommunications services in the customer’s premises for the nbn’, has been rewritten to address the complexities of the more than 40 different scenarios that Registered Cablers can encounter – including three possible ways for a service to come into a premises, five possible nbn access technologies and the possibly of ‘over-the-top’ services, such as monitored medical alarms – when making installations under the NBN multi-technology-model.

This is important work that enables telecommunications services and devices such as ‘over-the-top’ (OTT) services (e.g. medical and security alarms) to continue to function when a premises is connected to the end user’s chosen Retail Service Provider (RSP) using nbn’s network. If customer cabling work is not performed correctly, the telecommunications services and/or devices may either function incorrectly, intermittently, or not at all.

The Guideline has been split into two parts:

  • Part 1 covers preparation, migration and verification of services; and
  • Part 2 has been specifically designed for Registered Cablers to use in the field on an electronic tablet; and provides a catalogue of 41 of the most common ‘before-and-after’ installation scenarios.

“Registered Cablers are a key component of the NBN migration process – to connect customers to the network, as well as providing cabling work within the home to ensure that everything is configured to work correctly,” said Communications Alliance CEO, John Stanton. “The revised Guideline will put additional tools into the hands of Registered Cablers, which should make for fewer challenges and an improved migration process for customers.”

The guide is a simple three-step check-list process to make the migration as seamless as possible, given the variety of types of installations and equipment already in-situ.
The Guideline can be downloaded free from http://www.commsalliance.com.au/Documents/all/guidelines/g649 .


Authority to alter NBN facilities in residential and small business premises

The BRCA office receives numerous inquiries about working on nbn or other carrier’s cabling, seeking technical and regulatory guidance from members and registered cablers. One frequently asked question is: “Can a registered cabler do work on lead-in cabling?”

The simple answer is “Yes, under certain conditions”, not necessarily “No”, as many would think. An excellent nbn resource that we have referred BRCA registered cablers wanting to understand what can be done on the carrier side of demarcation point is https://www.nbnco.com.au/content/dam/nbnco2/documents/authority-to-alter-facilities-on-resdential-and-small-businesses-premises.pdf

We’ve extracted a few key points that will be of interest to cablers, but we recommend that anyone involved in cabling that interfaces with the NBN download the document and read it.

The guide states in part:

Cabling providers working in residential and small business premises may need to alter nbn lead-in cabling and network boundary facilities to satisfy the customer’s requirements. nbn authorises cabling providers to make limited alterations to nbn facilities in or on the building as long as the work is carried out to nbn’s requirements.

Regulatory

Generally, nbn owns the facilities it provides for the purpose of supplying nbn services to the network boundary, whether or not they become fixtures. nbn will alter its facilities in customer premises, on request, at appropriate charges. Alternatively, nbn may authorise non-nbn cabling providers to perform such alterations on terms and conditions stipulated by nbn.

A person who installs or maintains cabling for connection to a telecommunications network (‘cabling work’) must comply with the Telecommunications Act 1997. The person must be registered to perform cabling work by an ACMA-accredited cabling registrar. It is a condition of the registration for the person to comply with the wiring rules AS/CA S009:2013.

Clause 5.13 of AS/CA S009:2013 prohibits a cabling provider from moving, removing or altering any lead-in cabling or network boundary facilities without the prior written authorisation of the carrier. However, the Note to Clause 5.13 clarifies that if a carrier publishes a document authorising cabling providers to alter its facilities (such as this Document), such a document will be taken to be the prior written authorisation of the carrier as long as any terms and conditions set out in the document are adhered to by the cabling provider.

Terms and conditions to alter nbn cabling

nbn authorises a cabling provider to do certain work on nbn facilities, subject to the general terms and conditions below. The person performing the cabling work (cabling provider) must be a Registered Cabler (either Restricted or Open). All Registered Cablers are required to undertake appropriate training modules to ensure that they are competent to perform the cabling work according to AS/CA S009:2013.

While by law cable registration is not required to perform work on nbn’s side of the network boundary, nbn requires the person to be a Registered Cabler as a condition of this document as a measure of competency to do the work and to ensure that the requirements of the Cabling Provider Rules are met in case the work also involves any cabling activity on the customer’s side of the network boundary.

The cabling provider must ensure that he/she is familiar with all applicable legal and regulatory requirements for the performance of this work and that he/she complies with all laws, regulations, standards and codes of practice applicable to this work.

The Cabler acknowledges that he/she is responsible for the restoration of faulty or substandard work if requested to do so by nbn or the customer:

  • nbn reserves the right to seek damages from the cabling provider if nbn incurs costs due to any work performed by the cabling provider on nbn facilities;
  • nbn retains ownership of any nbn facilities so worked on whether re-used or replaced;
  • the cabling provider acknowledges that he/she is not performing any work under this Document in nbn’s name nor is he/she a contractor or employee of nbn;
  • the cabling provider must not represent or give an impression to customers or third parties that he/she is performing work as an employee or a contractor of nbn;
  • the cabling provider must not seek any remuneration from nbn for any work performed;
  • the cabling provider agrees to indemnify nbn against any liability, loss, damage, costs or expenses incurred or suffered by nbn that is caused by any act or omission of the cabling provider whether negligent or not, or which arises from any default under the terms and conditions of this document;
  • the cabling provider must not do anything that may affect the safety, integrity or proper functioning of the nbn network or the safety of the customer or any other person. The cabling provider must not use substances or material deleterious to health or safety or which could adversely affect the functioning of the nbn network;
  • the cabling provider must ensure that he/she does not cause unnecessary detriment, inconvenience or damage to nbn, the customer or a third party;
  • the cabling provider must not do any act or thing that is prejudicial to the goodwill, commercial reputation or overall public image of nbn;
  • the cabling provider must keep proper records of the work performed under this document;
  • the cabling provider must take all reasonable steps to ensure that lightning surge suppressors or any equipment that may be necessary for the safety and proper functioning of the installation are not bypassed or disconnected;
  • the cabling provider must not create any star-wired connections from an intermediate connection point in the lead-in cabling i.e. between the property entry point and the first TO, unless the intermediate connection point is:
    • a Centralised Filter provided in accordance this document;
    • an nbn NTD provided in accordance with this document.
  • the cabling provider must not render any nbn installation unusable e.g. by removing the nbn cabling or not terminating the nbn lead-in cable at a TO that is readily accessible by the customer, unless this is necessary for the purpose of renovation, demolition or relocation of the building;
  • the cabling provider must not connect nbn lead-in cable to a customer MDF or directly to a home networking box or a patch panel of any description;
  • any new cabling to the first TO must be installed in a manner that enables safe access and/or replacement of such cabling by nbn installers subsequent to its installation;
  • any waste material – e.g. used wire, cable, conduit – must be safely and properly disposed of in accordance with applicable laws; and
  • all works must adhere to AS/CA S009:2013 and the Building Code of Australia.

Authorised activities
Subject to the terms and conditions set out herein, nbn authorises a cabling provider to:

  • replace nbn’s existing first TO (‘first socket’) with another TO of a type approved by nbn;
  • relocate nbn’s existing first TO (‘first socket’) to another location within the same building;
  • relocate a fixed wall phone or other hard-wired telephone (other than a payphone) to another location within the same building, or replace it with a TO for the purpose of connecting other customer equipment;
  • disconnect a fixed wall phone or other hard-wired telephone (other than a payphone) if it is no longer required;
  • relocate a TO or provide an additional TO where the TOs are cabled from a common (‘star-wiring’) point in the lead-in cabling;
  • rearrange a star-wired installation to support a single-ended, bus-wired or ‘Mode 3’ configuration’
  • replace, relocate or otherwise alter the indoor lead-in cabling for any purpose including, but not limited to, building alterations or to improve the performance of a service;
  • disconnect a changeover (C/O) switch connected to nbn lead-in cabling;
  • install, relocate, replace or, under certain conditions (as detailed in section 4.1), remove a centralised filter connected to nbn lead-in cabling;
  • replace or utilise the existing NTD;
  • install a new NTD or change a line module in an existing NTD;
  • replace existing connection box/ wall box with an nbn connection box;
  • for nbn lead-in cabling not exceeding a total capacity of 10 pairs and which does not terminate on a customer MDF, disconnect underground or aerial lead-in cabling at the external surface of the building for the purpose of renovation, demolition or relocation of the building; and
  • use nbn lead-in poles to support customer cabling.

Download the full document from https://www.nbnco.com.au/content/dam/nbnco2/documents/authority-to-alter-facilities-on-resdential-and-small-businesses-premises.pdf


Adoption of ISO/IEC 14543.3 Communications Cabling as ASNZS Technical Specification

Standards Australia recently adopted ISO/IEC 14543.3 (Parts 1–6): ‘Communication layers – Network based control’ as Australian Technical Specifications for home electronic system architecture.
The six separate volumes cover:

1.     Application layer;

2.     Transport, network and general parts of data link layer;

3.     User process for network-based control;

4.     Management procedures for network based control;

5.     Media and media dependent layers – Powerline for network based control; and

6.     Media and media dependent layers – Twisted pair for network based control.

Search for ISO/IEC 14543.3 at https://infostore.saiglobal.com to find out more on this Technical Specification.


IEEE Light Communications standard announced     

IEEE recently formed the IEEE 802.11 Light Communications Study Group to develop a global wireless LAN light communications standard.

Light communications utilises LED lighting to transmit high bandwidth data as a wireless network beyond the traditional radio spectrum. To address the growing demand for wireless data, and the impending spectrum crunch, the technology offers greater bandwidth and efficiency, security and data density, while not being subjected to or contributing to electromagnetic interference (EMI) below 3 THz.

With industry analysts projecting the Internet of Things (IoT) to grow to 20 billion connected devices by 2020, light communication is gaining ground through use cases that demonstrate its viability as a wireless solution with initial applicability in hospitals, petrochemical plants and airplanes, but also secure environments where RF is not sanctioned.

“In just a few short years, the interest in light communications has grown significantly,” said Nikola Serafimovski, chair of the IEEE 802.11 Light Communications Study Group. “The market sector is poised for substantial growth over the next five years…as we work to develop the light communications market in line with industry needs, and to ensure best practices that drive market expansion.”


nbn Tech Lab to transform NBN network experience

nbn has developed a Tech Lab that will leverage big data, machine learning and existing capability to improve end-user experience of the NBN access network and help resolve issues sooner.

With an average of 45,000 premises connected every week, nbn is working closely with industry to ensure continuous improvement and a seamless installation experience for end users.

When faults occur, the Tech Lab will help nbn determine whether a fault can be dealt with remotely and immediately or whether a field technician needs to visit an end-user home to resolve the fault.
This will potentially save significant time and disruption for the end user. The Tech Lab will also help nbn better understand the key factors that drive dissatisfaction and address them so people have a better experience.

The Tech Lab will explore and implement emerging technologies that will help identify patterns, preferences and trends in people’s use and delivery of the services over the NBN.

The open source technologies the Tech Lab is working with include: Apache SPARK, Kafka, Flume, Cassandra and JanusGraph, as well as partner technologies including Amazon Web Services S3 storage, RStudio, H2O.ai and ArangoDB. These technologies and the processes around them could all play a vital role in helping to transform end user experience of services over the NBN.


Australian economy grew 0.8% in Q2: ABS

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reported that the Australian economy grew by 0.8% in during Q2 2017.

In Q2, domestic spending increased 1.0%, with expenditure on food, clothing and household furnishings increasing. Dwelling construction grew a moderate 0.2%, with growth primarily in New South Wales and Queensland.

Growth was also observed in industries providing services to business. The ‘Professional, Scientific and Technical Services’ and ‘Information, Media and Telecommunications’ sectors recorded above-trend growth; while the Manufacturing industry grew 1.8%.

Falling prices for key export commodities impacted the terms of trade, declining 6.0%. This impacted GDP, which fell 0.1% as lower coal and iron-ore prices contributed to more subdued company profits. GDP growth for FY2016/17 was 1.9%.


The great power divide                                            

(This article was first published in the Summer 2017 edition of Electrical Connection magazine, and has been reproduced with permission from Connections Magazines Pty Ltd)

A leading regulatory authority says instances of mains powered USB chargers being installed onto keystone wall plates with RJ-45 communication connectors have been brought to its attention, raising concerns that consumer demands are being put above compliance with Australian Standards. Adelle King reports.

Keystone wall plates, which are commonly used in industrial and commercial buildings to enable data, AV and telecommunications ports to be placed in one convenient location, are becoming widespread in the residential sector as USB charging and HDMI become increasingly popular. In fact, keystone wall plates are starting to be included as standard in new buildings and renovations to give building owners the ability to fill a face plate with the connections they need.

However, there are concerns that while this product meets consumer demands, it is being installed and used in ways that are not compliant with AS/CA S009:2013 Installation requirements for customer cabling and AS/NZS 3000:2007 Electrical Installations (Wiring Rules). In particular, USB charging ports are being integrated onto wall plates with RJ-45 communications connectors.
This potentially presents a problem as separation requirements state that mains electrical cables and the associated mains terminations have to be kept 150mm from the Cat5 telecommunications cable or the terminations on the RJ-45 socket.

“By failing to meet separation requirements specified by AS/CA S009:2013 and AS/NZS 3000:2007, there is the possibility of the data cable touching the single insulated 240V cable and livening up the data installation when work is being undertaken on the wall plate,” says Clipsal by Schneider Electric standardisation manager Gary Busbridge.

“To prevent this accidental contact between the customer cable terminations and LV power terminations, they have to be separate and accessible in their own right.”

AS/CA S009:2013 states that the conductors and terminations of a customer cable must be separated from the uninsulated and single-insulated conductors and terminations of an LV power cable by either a minimum distance of 150mm or by means of a permanent, rigidly-fixed barrier of durable, insulating material or metal earthed. Clause 3.9.8.4(c) of AS/NZS 3000:2007 mandates the separation requirements included in AS/CA S009:2013. One of these requirements must be met in the enclosure or behind the wall into which the enclosure will be mounted and the cables, both mains and customer, will be run.

Additionally, under AS/CA S008:2010 Customer cabling products, clause 5.7.1.7 states that “a connecting device’s face plate for telecommunications wiring shall not incorporate a low voltage fixed socket-outlet or switch”. This is also prohibited under AS/NZS 3112:2011 Approval and test specifications – Plugs and socket-outlets.

A leading regulatory authority says it has had a number of non-compliant wall plates brought to its attention where a USB charger and RJ-45 connector have been installed on the same wall plate. A spokesperson says this is an installation rather than a manufacturing issue and there is nothing illegal about the wall plate, the USB charger or the RJ-45 connector.

“The person who installed the wall plate is ultimately responsible for applying the mandatory Standards to their specific situation,” says the regulatory authority spokesperson.

“If an installation is done that is not permitted under either AS/CA S009:2013 or AS/NZS 3112:2011 then the installer would probably void any public liability insurance.”

Under AS/CA S009:2013 the conductors and terminations of a customer cable may be located within the same enclosure as the conductors and terminations of an LV power cable but this is subject to the requirements of clauses 9.1.2.2 and 9.1.2.3.

Clause 9.1.2.2 states that conductors and terminations of a customer cable cannot be located within the same enclosure as uninsulated and single insulated conductors and terminations of an LV power cable unless accidental access to the LV power conductors and terminations by people working on them is prevented by a physical barrier or obstruction that prevents contact with the LV power conductors or terminations by any part of the body or by any tool. The other exception is if the customer cables and LV power cable are terminated on building control or monitoring equipment that is installed in a restricted access location where only qualified people who are authorised to install or maintain both LV power installations and customer cabling can gain access.

Clause 9.1.2.3 states that the separation requirements must be met unless, as in clause 9.1.2.2, the customer cable and LV power cable are terminated on building control or monitoring equipment installed in a restricted access location, separate cables are used for LV power and telecommunications or if telecommunications circuits are terminated on the building control or monitoring equipment that does not share the same cable sheath as any other telecommunications services or only connects as a telecommunications network via a compliant isolating interface.

Given these requirements, a spokesperson for an industry advisory group says USB/data wall plates are not compliant.

“Combined USB/data wall plates are not compliant because the black and red wires are single-insulated 230V alternating current (AC) and they are required to be separated from the data terminations by a suitable barrier or a minimum distance of 150mm,” says a spokesperson for the industry advisory group.

“These new consumer products are coming onto the market that may meet customer demands but they’re not always being installed in ways that are compliant.”

Although it’s the cabler’s responsibility to ensure that cabling installation complies with AS/CA S009:2013, if the RJ-45 outlet has been installed on a wall plate with a mains powered USB charger then it could present a problem in undertaking work.

“Similar to a wall plate incorporating mains socket(s), these plates give direct access to a mains electrical cable and the associated mains terminations. This means that even if the cabler who does the initial install is a licensed electrician, any cabler who is not a licensed electrician may not be able to legally undertake subsequent work on this socket. Only licensed electricians can remove or replace a wall plate incorporating low voltage mains cables,” says the regulatory authority spokesperson.

The issue therefore appears to be with electricians installing new consumer products, such as USB charger modules, with RJ-45 sockets without understanding the requirements.

“It is folly to have an electrician install communications cables without fully understanding the impact of their work on the integrity of the cabling and therefore the communications systems operating on their installed infrastructure,” says a spokesperson for the industry advisory group.
The regulatory authority stresses that this issue is not related to training requirements and confusion was arising because of new products entering the market, however the Standards are quite clear about the separation requirements.

“At the end of the day, if you’re doing the installation and you don’t follow the Standards then you’re breaking the law essentially,” says Gary.