Antennas & the IoT

January 11, 2018 at 8:00 AM

 

With all the excitement surrounding the development of the IoT, there is one important part that can’t be overlooked – the antenna. Antennas are integral to implementation of the IoT. Connecting all of the physical objects that make up the IoT requires antennas transmitting a massive amount of data. Thus, without antennas, there would be no IoT.

 

As IoT use increases, so does the demand for more antennas that meet the needs of IoT applications and meet the expectations of users. Thus, antenna manufacturers and designers have had a voice in the development of IoT devices and are meeting the call for antennas that are up to the task.

 

Here are some of the ideal traits for antennas designed for IoT applications:

 

Small Form Factor – One of the biggest trends in IoT antennas is smaller form factors. As IoT devices are being implemented in more industries, manufacturers are looking to shrink device footprint. And as devices get smaller, so must the antennas. These small form factor antennas include embedded antennas, PCB antennas and chip antennas.

 
High-Performance – Designers have been working to deliver small antennas without sacrificing performance capabilities because demand for speed and capacity is also growing. Even if the device is the size of a coin, its antenna still needs to meet high-performance standards.
 
Cost-Effective – Adding antennas onto all of these devices can be costly. As device demand increases, manufacturers have begun looking for antennas that will be economic to use on the devices. 
 
Beyond being small, powerful and cost-effective, there are some other areas of antenna technology that are emerging with the development of the IoT. These include:
 
Two antennas – While two antennas will not be necessary for MIMO communications with lower category LTE devices, two antennas will be needed for Cat4 and above in order to meet requirements for higher speed and throughput systems. LTE cellular networks will also continue to use two cellular antennas to fully achieve high-speed performance.
 
MU-MIMO – Multi-User Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MU-MIMO) has breathed new life into Wi-Fi by allowing multiple devices to communicate with the access point at the same time. This has made a significant improvement to wireless network throughput and impacted dense, high-capacity networks.
 
Low-Power – Low-power technologies, such as ISM-band solutions, are being developed to provide longer battery life for devices and allow long-range communications at a low-bit rate. Plus, smartphone technologies such as Bluetooth Low-Energy (BLE) are being adapted to be utilized in IoT applications.
 

Our Best-Selling Product of 2017

January 4, 2018 at 8:00 AM

 

To start off this year, we would like to take a moment to present the award for the best-selling product of 2017.  With so many high-performing, quality products in the running, the competition was fierce. But after all the votes (sales) were tallied, there was one clear winner.

 

And the winner is……(drumroll).…. the ECF504-SC5E coupler!

 

If you’re not familiar with this year’s best-selling product, here is what you’ve been missing:

 

The ECF504-SC5E is a Cat5e, RJ45, shielded, 8x8, panel-mount-style coupler that is ideal for telecom, LAN, voice/data and IDF/MDF applications. It is a part of L-com's ECF panel-mount RJ45 coupler line that combines an innovative design with a competitive price. With a solid, die-cast, metal mounting frame, these unique RJ45 couplers allow panel mounting with virtually any panel thickness.

 

This unique coupler is very versatile and was used in a wide variety of applications and purchased by a varied group of customers including OEM’s who used the ECF504-SC5E in enclosure and panel products, IT professionals and network installers who used the ECF504-SC5E in data center applications, and a host of other customers who used the ECF504-SC5E in a variety of Ethernet cable pass through applications.

 

On behalf of the ECF504-SC5E, we would like to thank all the customers who helped this product win the 2017 best seller award. Without your support, and purchases, none of this would be possible. (cue music).

 

Readers’ Choice -Top Blog Posts of 2017

December 21, 2017 at 8:00 AM

 

As we wrap up another year, we’d like to take a moment to look back on some of our most popular posts. We pride ourselves on providing informative content for our readers by covering a range of wired and wireless technology topics. We sincerely hope that you enjoyed reading our posts as much as we enjoyed writing them and in case you missed anything, here’s a highlight reel of the most popular posts of 2017.

 

 1.       Cable Showdown: Cat6 vs. Cat6a

 

It’s a Cat eat Cat world out there and Cat6 and Cat6a are two of the most popular standards for Ethernet cables. So, how do you decide between the two? One may work better than the other, depending on your application. To help you pick a winner, we compared them side-by-side for a showdown of category proportions. To see how each Cat fared, read the post.

 

 

2.       White-Space Wi-Fi 802.11af

 

Waste not, want not, seems to be a growing way of life for many people these days, and that theme will soon apply to the Wi-Fi spectrum as well. The IEEE standard 802.11af, also known as white-space Wi-Fi or White-Fi, will utilize the unused space in the TV spectrum, the TV white-space, to support Wi-Fi networks. Read the post to find out how it all works.

 

 

3.       OM5 – The Next Generation of Multimode Fiber

 

OM5 was chosen to be the new standard for cabling containing wideband multimode fiber in the 3rd edition of the ISO/IEC 11801 standard. The acceptance of this standard is a milestone for the fiber cabling performance category because it extends the benefits of this revolutionary multimode fiber within connected buildings and data centers worldwide. To find what you need to know about OM5, click here.

 

 

4.       802.11ax – The Next Big Thing

 

The IEEE will be adding to its 802.11 series of standards again with the launch of 802.11ax. 802.11ax is under development and will pick-up where 802.11ac left off by taking MIMO to the next level with MIMO-OFDM. This next big upgrade to Wi-Fi networks might not make its debut for a couple of years, but here’s a look at what’s coming.

 

 

5.       75 Ohm vs. 50 Ohm – Coaxial Comparison

 

Ohm may sound like something you’d say while meditating, but when it comes to coaxial cables, it is actually a unit of resistance. Ohms measure the impedance within the cable. Impedance is resistance to the flow of electrical current through a circuit. To see how 75 Ohm and 50 Ohm compare, read our post.

 

 

High Standards for HDMI

December 14, 2017 at 8:00 AM

 

Becoming a certified HDMI product is no simple task. HDMI Licensing LLC. has high standards for products that claim compliance and meeting their requirements is no easy feat.

 

To be HDMI compliant, a representative sample of each licensed HDMI product or component must pass rigorous testing prior to mass production or distribution. Here’s an inside look at everything that goes in to meeting the high standards for HDMI.

 

First, the manufacturer must become an HDMI adopter. They then self-test according to the most current HDMI Compliance Test Specification. This year, HDMI 2.1 is being released and is the most current specification. The test specification has a list of testing procedures and minimum requirements for how to test each product. This testing is limited and only evaluates the product’s HDMI compliance, it is not designed to test the overall product performance.

 

Next, the manufacturer must submit the first product of each product type (i.e. cable, sink, repeater or source) to an authorized testing center (ATC) for further testing. To submit a product for testing, the manufacturer must fill out an application, submit the product, provide all operating instructions or manuals, complete a capabilities declaration form and submit any ancillary material or equipment. The product is then evaluated for a pass or fail result. If a passing result is given, it is not required to test any other products of that type. If the product fails the compliance testing, the manufacturer is given a list of areas that did not pass, so they can make changes as needed.

 

 

With this year’s release of HDMI 2.1, comes a list of new specifications that must be met by HDMI certified products. These new requirements are available to all HDMI 2.0 adopters. HDMI 2.1 features include:

 

  • ·       Higher video resolutions and faster refresh rates
  • ·       Dynamic HDR for improved depth, brightness, contrast and wider color gamuts  
  • ·       48G cables for enabling up to 48Gbps speeds for uncompressed HDMI 2.1 feature support including 8K video with HDR
  • ·       eARC to support the most advanced audio formats and enable advanced audio signal control capabilities
  • ·       Game Mode VRR with variable refresh rate
  •  

As with all HDMI specifications, compliance testing must be performed for products to meet the HDMI 2.1 standards. All HDMI 2.0 adopters will have access to the HDMI 2.1 Compliance Testing Specification. The HDMI 2.1 specification supersedes HDMI 2.0b. All HDMI 1.4b products will continue to be tested to CTS 1.4b standards. HDMI 1.4b adopters cannot also be licensed to the HDMI 2.1 specification.

 

As an HDMI Adopter, L-com offers a wide selection of HDMI certified cables and HDMI Splitters/Extenders.

 

For more information about the HDMI standards, visit www.hdmi.org.

 

How Big is Big Data

December 7, 2017 at 8:00 AM

 

Big data is the driving force behind many of today’s technological trends. Artificial intelligence, data science and the Internet of Things (IoT) all depend on big data to keep them going, but the idea of big data is still incomprehensible for many. The fact is, big data touches all of our lives, whether we’re aware of it or not. Here, we’ll help you wrap your mind around just how big, big data is.

 

Every time we use our smart phones, tablets or computers for things like GPS, social media, online purchases or to download a new app, we are creating data and leaving a digital footprint. This year, a mind-blowing 7.7 zettabytes (7.7 billion terabytes) of data is expected to be transmitted through mobile networks globally, which is only a portion of the total data being processed through data centers around the world.

 

What do we do with these billions of terabytes of data? All of this sensor information, photos, text, voice and video data is used by organizations for insights leading toward better, strategic business decisions. Currently, big data is being used in many industries, including the following:

 

Education – Data provides educators with insights to improve school systems and curriculums to better educate students. Data analysis can also help identify at-risk students, evaluate student and teacher progress, and better support teachers and administrators.

 

Government – Big data analytics allow government agencies to better manage departments and deal with issues like traffic and crime.

 

Health Care – Speed and accuracy are of the upmost importance in health care and big data allows patient records, treatment plans and prescription information to be managed more effectively than ever.

 

Manufacturing – Insight from big data allows manufacturers to solve problems faster and make more agile business decisions, which, in turn, improves quality and output while reducing waste.

 

Retail – Retail companies rely on big data to build relationships with their customers. Understanding customer wants and needs allows retailers to better market to customers, make transactions smoother and bring customers back to shop again.

 

 

Big data is being used for more than business profit, it is also being used to make the world a better place. Here are some areas in which big data is having a big impact:  

 

Disease Research - Data-driven medicine analyzes large amounts of medical records and medical images to identify patterns that can help discover disease early and develop new medicines to treat and prevent diseases like cancer.

  

Feeding the Hungry –  Big data can be used to improve agriculture by maximizing crop harvests, minimizing pollutants emitted into the ecosystem and optimizing use of machines and equipment.

 

Exploring Far Away Planets – Every NASA mission is based on millions of points of data that have been analyzed to expose every possible outcome.

 

Crime Prevention – Police departments use data to develop strategies for resource deployment and to deter crime when possible.

 

Natural and Man-Made Disasters – Sensor data is used to help predict which areas are likely to be affected by earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados and floods. These predictions can save lives by providing advanced notice to area residents. Identified trends in human behavior patterns can help relief organizations better provide aid to survivors. Big data is also used to monitor and protect the flow of refugees escaping war-torn areas around the world.

 

Of course, the more data we collect, the greater concerns become regarding privacy and security. Overall, big data makes our lives better and the benefit might outweigh the risk. Everything from crime prevention and cancer research to online shopping, crowdfunding and planning your next vacation has improved because of big data.

For more information on big data and how it’s processed, check out our blog post Big Data and the Information Autobahn.

 

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