Understanding Cable Lengths and Remote Device Connectivity for Panels: Guidelines and Solutions
IMPORTANT – The references below to Amazon are to give examples of the types of devices available. Your 2NDGEAR account representative will be able to source appropriate commercial quality devices with the competitive pricing and service you demand.
It is worth considering the limitations in cabling distances in the scenarios below. You may have a projector or a podium or a multimedia ‘hub’ that is a significant distance from the panel. Below are some guidelines on the distances you can cover with cables and communications.
HDMI – The HDMI cables can be used to mirror the panel (or even ‘daisy-chain’ to multiple other displays). The HDMI cable can carry both video and audio to other devices. HDMI cables can also be used to connect a laptop or desktop PC to the panel in order to display the PC screen on the panel.
HDMI Extender Balun– HDMI cables can be used up to transmit 1080p signals up to a maximum of 50 feet, but if you are looking to have a signal, particularly a 4K signal, sent over a distance longer than 10 feet, you might want to consider an ‘HDMI Extender Balun’. This device converts the HDMI signal into a Cat5e or a Cat6 Ethernet cable, and then back into an HDMI cable signal at the other end. Depending on the device, this can extend the HDMI signal up to 200 feet of more.
You can see some examples of an ‘HDMI Extender Balun’ on Amazon here.
HDMI Wireless Extenders– Another option is to use a wireless HDMI extender. These devices take the HDMI signal and transmit it wirelessly to a receiver, here it is then converted back to a traditional HDMI cable signal. These devices look to be able to transmit up to 100 feet or so. It is again important to consider whether you require a 1080p or 4K resolution transmitter.
You can see some examples of an ‘HDMI Wireless Extender’ on Amazon here.
USB – The USB cables can be used to connect a camera or other device to your panel. These cameras (for example) might need to be at a distance from the panel and at the back of the room. USB cables can also be used to connect a laptop or desktop PC to the panel to activate the ‘touch’ capability on the panel (which works in unison with the DMI signal from the laptop to display and interact with the PC on the panel).
The USB 2.0 specification, suggests a maximum length of around 16 feet. The USB 3.0 specification suggests a maximum length of around 10 feet. If you need a longer run, the option is not just to add an extension, it should be a powered option as noted below.
USB Cable Extenders (Cat5e or Cat6 Ethernet)– These extenders are similar to the ‘Balun’ examples above that are used to extend HDMI signals. The USB signal is converted into a Cat5e or a Cat6 cable signal, and then converted back to a USB cable signal at the other end. These devices can be used to extend USB signals up to 100 or 200 feet.
You can see some examples of ‘USB Cable Extenders (Cat5e or Cat6 Ethernet)’ on Amazon here.
USB Active (Repeater) Extension Cables– These extension cables contain electronics that regenerate the USB signal, essentially 1 port USB hubs. This option should be able to give you an extended USB reach of up to 100 feet.
Note – These active USB extender cables are bus powered, so you may want to have a suitable powered hub to support the length of the extension.
You can see examples of ‘USB Active (Repeater) Extension Cables’ here.