5 things you need to know about MU-MIMO

October 3, 2019 at 8:00 AM

 

When you’ve got multiple devices using the same network, multi-user MIMO (MU-MIMO) is the way to go. MU-MIMO enables numerous Wi-Fi devices to receive multiple data streams at the same time. This is exceptionally more efficient than the single-user MIMO used by many routers. Here, we’ll take a look at the top 5 things you need to know about MU-MIMO.

 

1.      One-Way or Two-Way

 

Whether MU-MIMO is one-way or two-way depends on the Wi-Fi standard being used. MU-MIMO utilizes the 80211ac standard, which works solely with downlink wireless connections. Simultaneously sending data to multiple users is something that only wireless routers and APs are able to do. When the individual wireless devices are sending data to that router or AP, they have to take turns or separately use SU-MIMO to send multiple streams when it’s their turn. That said, multiple wireless devices will be able to receive data and be able to utilize simultaneous streams for sending data when 802.11ax Wave 2 comes into play.

 

2.      OFDMA Takes It Up a Notch

 

Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) technology is part of 802.11ax and separates the channels into smaller segments so multiple devices can communicate at the same time. This technology compliments the capabilities of MU-MIMO. It organizes how the channels are used by allowing each device their own channel so they can coordinate when to talk more easily. While it is similar to MU-MIMO, OFDMA offers a different set of capabilities as it can be used in high density environments with low throughput or small-packet applications like IoT sensors.

 

3.      802.11ax (aka Wi-Fi 6) = Concurrent MU-MIMO Streams

 

The introduction of 802.11ax into the mix increases the number of users in a MU-MIMO group from four to eight. The ability to have more devices connected at the same time can improve throughput and make connections faster.

 

4.      2.4 GHz & 5 GHz are both Options

 

802.11n and 802.11ac limited MU-MIMO to the 5 GHz bandwidth, but with 802.11ax, MU-MIMO will now be able to use both the 2.4 & 5 GHz bands. While 2.4 GHz can only handle a maximum of three, small, legacy channels at one time, this improvement could allow faster speeds in the often overcrowded 2.4 GHz band.

 

5.      Benefits of Beamforming

 

MU-MIMO takes advantage of another feature of 802.11ac and 802.11ax, beamforming. This keeps signals from dispersing randomly in different directions by pointing it to the intended wireless devices. This, in turn, improves Wi-Fi speeds and ranges by using the signal more proficiently.

 

There you have it, five more reasons why MU-MIMO can be a game changer for your wireless network. To read more about MU-MIMO, check out more of our blog posts.

 

Gearing up for Wi-Fi 6

September 19, 2019 at 8:00 AM

 

I don’t know about you, but we are definitely looking forward to the debut of Wi-Fi 6 later this year. This next generation Wi-Fi standard improves on the current 802.11ac standard with more than just faster speeds. So let’s take a closer look at what’s in store.

 

First, Wi-Fi 6, also known as 802.11 ax, is backwards compatible with its predecessor, 802.11ac (now deemed Wi-Fi 5). Wi-Fi 6 was created to help support the increasing number of devices in today’s homes and businesses. If you have a lot of devices connected, several smart home devices or if you’re using virtual reality devices, a Wi-Fi 6 router might be a great fit.

 

So how fast is it? Wi-Fi 6 is capable of streaming up to 9.6 Gbps and has delivered transfer speeds of 1,320 Mbps in some tests. That is around 30%-40% faster than 802.11 ac, and for US customers, it will be 1,000% times faster than the current average download speed of 119 Mbps.

 

How is this possible? Wi-Fi 6 utilizes 1024-QAM to deliver more data and more efficiency, along with a wider 160 MHz channel for faster speeds. This new standard also takes advantage of 8x8 uplink/downlink, MU-MIMO, OFDMA and BSS Color for a capacity that is up to 4 times larger and able to handle more devices.

 

As with any Wi-Fi standard, much of the speed capability will depend on the speed being delivered by your internet service provider (ISP). In order to take full advantage of Wi-Fi 6 speeds, you’ll need a plan with your ISP that is capable of delivering high speeds, as your plan acts much like a speed limit on how fast your internet connection can go. Plus, you’ll need both a Wi-Fi 6 router and Wi-Fi 6 capable devices to benefit from Wi-Fi 6 speeds. So hold on tight, because Wi-Fi 6 capable routers and devices are already rolling out and are sure to become standard in next generation wireless devices.

 

An Inside (and Outside) Look at Fiber Active Optical Cables

September 5, 2019 at 8:00 AM

 

We’ve talked about Active Optical Cables (AOC) and their ability to use the same electrical inputs as traditional cables, but with optical fibers between the connectors. They deliver faster speeds and distance performance compared to copper cables while maintaining compatibility with standard electrical interfaces. We’ve delved into their use in the realm of USB and the benefits they bring. Now, we’re going to take a closer look at fiber AOCs and all they have to offer.

 

AOCs are opto-electronic devices used in place of standard fiber optic transceivers due to ease of deployment and lower cost compared to using individual transceivers with separable fiber optic cable assemblies.  The basic concept of a fiber AOC is to embed active optical transceivers into the assembly, as opposed to using separate pluggable fiber optical transceivers and standard, connectorized fiber cables.

 

Mainly invented to replace copper cabling in data centers and high performance computing applications, AOCs and their list of benefits can make older technologies seem obsolete. They have longer reach, higher bandwidth handling capabilities and provide secure, reliable transmissions. AOCs also limit EMI/RFI and provide low bit-error rates. Plus, AOC assemblies are smaller and lighter than copper cables, making the datacenter physically easier to manage.

 

AOCs are ideal for short-range, multi-lane data communication and interconnect applications. These assemblies support a range of protocols including Ethernet, InfiniBand and Fibre Channel. They can be used rack-to-rack, on optical backplanes, for storage, hubs, routers, servers, switches and more.

 

With all of these benefits, AOC assemblies might seem too good to be true, but they’re real and we’ve got an extensive line available with same-day shipping, check them out here.

 

DisplayPort 2.0 - Just the Facts

August 22, 2019 at 8:00 AM

 

HDMI might be the most popular connection standard for TVs and monitors, but DisplayPort comes in a close second place. This high quality alternative is similar to HDMI in many ways including smaller connectors, digital video, audio/video on one cable, high definition video, 3D capabilities, etc. It has most of the same features of HDMI, plus some capabilities that are important for the high-graphic demands of business applications. And now, DisplayPort is getting an upgrade to DisplayPort 2.0! Let’s look at the facts.

 

DisplayPort 2.0 is slated to launch next year with products incorporating the technology hitting the market in late 2020. This new iteration takes the connection standard into the next generation with triple the bandwidth compared to DisplayPort 1.4a. DisplayPort 2.0 will deliver faster refresh rates and be able to single stream higher resolution formats like 10K and 16K at 60Hz at up to 30 bits per pixel with HDR. For smaller formats, it will also be capable of multiple displays at higher resolutions including two 8K at 120 Hz with 30 bpp and HDR, or two 4K displays at 144 Hz at 24 bpp with no compression.

 

In addition to bandwidth and high-resolution upgrades, DisplayPort 2.0 has some other improvements including Panel Replay which reduces power requirements while enhancing how a display is refreshed. Display Stream Compression (DSC) will be standard and allows for extremely high refresh rates and high-resolution. Plus, a multi-stream transport feature will make for easier daisy chain displays.

 

When it comes to the connectors, DisplayPort 2.0 will be backwards compatible with previous versions. It can be used in “DP Alt Mode” using specific USB-C connectors, allowing for one cable to provide high-speed video & data with optimal performance. The physical interface layer of Thunderbolt 3 is also utilized in this new standard, which will be especially appealing with a merger between Thunderbolt 3 & USB 4 in the works.

 

When it comes to connectivity, HDMI might be the most widely recognized medium, but DisplayPort 2.0 is coming in hot with lots of features that make it a very attractive option. And luckily, L-com has a full line of DisplayPort cables for all of your needs.

 

Future-Proofing with Cat6a

August 8, 2019 at 8:00 AM

 

There is no telling what technological breakthroughs await us in the future. But one thing no one wants, is to have to re-cable an entire network because the existing cabling can’t meet the speed and bandwidth needed to support future technology. Re-cabling consumes time, money and a lot of resources. So what is one to do to future-proof their cabling? For many, Cat6a is the answer.

 

Cat6a cables are high-tech cables with advanced performance standards for twisted pair cable systems that offer features surpassing other category cables. They offer more power, faster speeds, tighter twists, further distances, better shielding and greater assurance that they’ll be able to keep up with today’s technology and future advancements. Cat6a cables are able to support upcoming advances in technologies such as Power over Ethernet (PoE), bandwidth-intensive applications and data transfers up to 10 Gbps. With 23-gauge twisted pair, they can transmit those 10 Gbps speeds over distances of up to 100m. Cat6a cables also feature shielding to control interference and crosstalk, which improves performance and increases operational bandwidth. While the extra shielding might add bulk to the cabling, the benefits of Cat6a far outweigh the increased costs that go along with a heavier cable.

 

In addition to PoE, there is a long list of technology coming to market that will continue to increase the need for speed and power. For example, next generation Wave 2 Wi-Fi devices will require 4 Gbps speeds in the near future. Enterprise businesses upgrading to this technology will be able to count on Cat6a to provide the speeds needed. HDBaseT is another emerging technology that would require Cat6a capabilities to transmit full, high definition video, audio and data files over 100 meters. Plus, Cat6a cables can manage the data load needed to support IP convergence, which is beneficial to enterprise networking applications.

 

Overall, Cat6a might cost a bit more than Cat5e or Cat6, but investing in Cat6a now and its ability to keep up with the changing demands of new technology will save money in the long run. Check out our extensive selection of Cat6a cable assemblies.

 

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