What on Earth is a FlexPlug – and Where Can You Use It?
“Is it really necessary? When would I use it? What is it?” As word about the REVConnect® FlexPlug spreads, we’re hearing those questions quite a bit – and they’re great questions to ask!
As more organizations install IoT devices – wireless access points (WAPs), IP cameras, displays, etc. – more customers are asking for angled plugs to make device connections to the network easier.
As we investigated possible options and visited in-progress installations to get a better feel for the challenges installers faced, we noticed something big: An angled plug wasn’t going to work in all situations. It might connect some devices, but not all of them. It depended on the degree of the angle required to connect the plug to the port, how tight the installation space was and the type of mounting brackets used.
Sure, we could create an angled plug - but that wouldn't provide 100% device compatibility or work in situations that required something other than a 45-degree or 90-degree angle. A regular plug would be needed for some devices. In other cases, an angled plug could be used. In others, a patch cord, biscuit box and jack would be necessary (and patch cord lengths may not be the same from device to device). This variability slows down installation and increases project costs.
That’s when the idea for FlexPlug first came to mind: Installers didn’t need an angled plug to make their jobs easier. They needed one plug that would work with any device that connects to the network via an RJ45 plug.
With the MPTL (modular plug terminated link) termination method now recognized by TIA, more installers are looking for easy ways to connect directly to devices.
Here are a few real-world examples we’ve seen that inspired us to design the FlexPlug …
Sometimes a wireless access point is compatible with nearly any type of plug.
The challenge arises, however, when an access point is installed in a very tight space or the mounting brackets block a clear path to the port. Sometimes we even see access points installed inside boxes to prevent damage or unplugging, which makes cable connection even more difficult.
Even within the same building, wireless access points may not be installed in the same way: What works to connect an access point in the first-floor lobby may not work in a third-floor hallway that has access points lining the walls.
In these situations, no matter where or how the wireless access point is installed, the FlexPlug can be used to connect it to the network.
Surveillance Cameras with Blocked Port Entries
As with wireless access points, some surveillance cameras may be compatible with nearly any plug. But, depending on the installation, the type of camera or port location, several different types of plugs may need to be used.
Some of the surveillance cameras we've seen are mounted with brackets that make it nearly impossible to connect a traditional field-mount plug that doesn't offer any flex. The port may be difficult to reach, too close to a wall or ceiling, or partially blocked.
In these situations, no matter where or how the camera is installed, the FlexPlug can be used to connect it to the network. Its flexible, Bonded-Pair design accommodates 90-degree to 180-degree bends from the connection interface. And its small-footprint, low-profile plug ensures that it can fit in extremely small spaces.
The Benefits of FlexPlug
In addition to providing one plug that’s 100% compatible with literally any IoT device –regardless of where it’s installed or how it’s mounted – the FlexPlug can also reduce installation time and costs.
Instead of needing a patch cord, biscuit box and jack, you use only one component. The result: less installation time required, fewer parts to deal with and lower project costs.
The FlexPlug also lets you move away from "ice-cube plugs." They're proven to be less reliable than field-mount plugs, regardless of the manufacturer. In fact, many of the device manufacturers we partner with say ice-cube plugs are one of the top causes of device malfunction.
When a surveillance camera stops working, for example, the facilities manager or building owner often assumes that something is wrong with the device itself - so they place a service call. Once the manufacturer arrives to troubleshoot, they often uncover a defective plug.
Not only does this waste time and money for the end-user, but it also decreases total cost of system ownership if you’re placing service calls due to malfunctioning components that need to be replaced.
Want to see the REVConnect FlexPlug in action? Watch this short video below!