Customer Case Study: The Astronomer

Customer Case Study: The Astronomer

If you follow our blog, you’ve probably noticed something: we really love our instructional content. Giving you tips, making video guides, explaining networking conundrumsit’s really kind of our thing. But this week, we’re trying something different.

What do customer projects look like? We often wonder this. And maybe you're curious yourself. To find out, we’re talking to real trueCABLE customersDIY enthusiasts, professionals, anyone with a cool projectand sharing their stories here, on our blog.

So, with that, let’s get started!

We recently spoke to Martin, an amateur astronomer, who purchased our Cat6A Ethernet cable to connect his telescope to his computer. Martin stores his telescope in an astronomy shed, outside, about 300 feet from the desktop he keeps in his home. To connect the two, he needed more than your standard cable fare.

Astronomy shed in open field

Hey, Martin! Can you tell us about your hobby?

Sure. Now that I’m retired, I decided to revisit my childhood passion for astronomy.

With the advent of digital cameras and sophisticated computer processing, amateurs can obtain amazing images with relatively small telescopes. The key is an accurate mount to track the stars, which lets you collect light using long exposures
often running into many hours or even days. Then, using computer software, we can combine multiple exposures to obtain the desired results.

We hear you bought our cable to complete your setup. Can you show us some of the photos you’ve taken since?

Yes! Here are a few.

Space image taken with telescope
Space image taken with telescope

Awesome! Let’s talk about your networking needs. Can you explain them?

I have this astronomy shed, and inside, I keep my mount, telescope, and camera
all controlled by computer, usually via USB connections. As such, cable length is limited, requiring the laptop (and the astronomer) to be within 20 feet of the telescope.

I wanted to control the telescope from the comfort of my home, which is 300 feet from the shed, within striking distance of a long Ethernet cable.

How did you solve the problem?

I purchased Cat7 Ethernet patch cable from another brand (RJ45 connectors came pre-installed at each end), then ran it from my house to the shed, and it worked great. It provided 900 Mps internet service at the shed, the same as in my house.

I then purchased an Icron USB 3.1 extender. It would let me connect my home computer to the USB devices controlling the telescope over the 300 ft. Ethernet cable.

Problem solved, right? Well, it didn’t work.

I could get the units to connect over a short Ethernet cable, but they would not connect over the 300 ft. cable. I contacted Icron technical support, and they offered to take the units back for testing, but they said the problem was most likely the 300 ft. Cat7 cable. I asked them how that could be, since I tested it myself and got gigabit-speed results with it.

They asked: is the cable certified?

I showed them the cable and its technical specs on Amazon. They were not impressed.

So I bought another (more expensive) 300 ft. patch cable. It also provided great internet service, but again, it would not work with the Icron extender.

I called Icron back and said: see, your extender is garbage.

They asked: is the cable certified? Again confused, I asked why it matters, since it works fine.

After some back and forth, I learned that devices like theirs need cable capable of 10 gps speed. At this point, it would have been nice if they just told me to call trueCABLE, but hey!

I found certified Cat6A cable on the internet, but the problem was that it came without jacks on either end, and I had zero confidence that I could successfully attach the connectors, even with the right tools.

Shortly thereafter, I discovered trueCABLE.

What stood out about us?

You had videos explaining what I had to do. That, and the kind people in the videos kept reassuring me, saying: it's not as bad as you think
—you can do it. On your website, I could find exactly the right cable for my purpose, linked to exactly the right keystone jack, linked to all the tools I would need.

So, I took the plunge. I purchased 500 ft. of Cat6A shielded direct burial cable, along with several tools and connectors.

It arrived in just a couple of days, and already I could see a difference. Instead of coming in a plastic bag, the cable came wound on a large wooden spool. So, I was encouraged.

I went outside, and with the help of my wife, we measured out 300 ft. of cable. I then brought it inside, and I just sat and stared at it. I was afraid to do the last step. I was pretty sure it wasn't going to work.

But I kept at it. I attached keystone jacks to each end of the cable, and patch cables to the keystone jacks, and connected the Icron units with the 300 ft. cable. I then plugged them in.

And wow! The green light went on. I connected one unit to my computer with a USB cable and the other to a USB drive, and again, I could read and write to the USB drive across 300 feet of Ethernet cable!

Needless to say, this was a great Christmas present from trueCABLE, and I just had to thank you and let you know how much I appreciate your product, blog, and customer service.

Need help choosing your Ethernet cable? How about connecting hardware? We can help! Let our guide bots
the Ethernet Cable Finder and Connector Finder—do the work for you. Try them out today.

trueCABLE presents the information on our website, including the “Cable Academy” blog and live chat support, as a service to our customers and other visitors to our website subject to our website terms and conditions. While the information on this website is about data networking and electrical issues, it is not professional advice and any reliance on such material is at your own risk.
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