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.


All about GPONs (Gigiabit passive optical networks)

July 25, 2019 at 8:00 AM


Gigabit Passive Optical Networks (GPONs) are popular forms of Passive Optical Networks (PONs). They are used for Internet access, digital TV and voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) in highly populated areas. They can also be used for Wi-Fi hotspots, cellular base stations and distributed antenna systems (DAS). If you’re not up-to-speed on the ins and outs of GPON, we’ve got the blog post for you. Read on to get all the details.


GPONs are point-to-multi-point networks that use optical cables. The stand-out characteristic for these networks is the use of passive splitters in the fiber distribution network, which allows a single feeding fiber from the provider’s central office to serve multiple homes and small businesses. GPONs deliver up to a 1:64 ratio on a single fiber, making them 95% more efficient than standard copper wire. Through the use of splitters, they also deliver a low cost solution for adding users, making them ideal for use in metropolitan areas. Additionally, GPONs support all Ethernet protocols, and for security they use the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES).


To paint a general picture of how a GPON works, these networks are made up of Optical Line Terminals (OLT), an Optical Network Unit (ONU) and a splitter that will divide the signal when necessary. They use Optical Wavelength Division Multiplexing (WDM) so that one fiber can be used for both downstream and upstream data. These networks can transmit Ethernet, Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) and ATM transactions. They are ideal for networks with multiple separated points or buildings. They allow the end user to consolidate multiple services into a single fiber network, providing 2.5 GB/s of downstream and 1.25 GB/s of upstream capabilities. GPONs also increase bandwidth while reducing costs and infrastructure, delivering a range of benefits for rapid, flexible, mass-market fiber deployments with the lowest cost possible.


The most recent GPON versions are 10-Gigabit iterations called XGPON, or 10G-PON. These support the increased demand for faster speeds and are able to handle an influx of high-definition data to support video and over-the-top (OTT) TV services. They have a maximum downstream rate of 10 GB/s and 2.5 GB/s for upstream transmissions while using the same fiber as standard GPON. Though not yet widely implemented, XPON delivers a promising way for service providers and customers to upgrade without deploying new infrastructure.


OM5 Fiber Inside Out

July 11, 2019 at 8:00 AM


Multimode fiber cable has long been a versatile connectivity solution with high capability and reliability for local area networks and voice, video and data applications. With the introduction of OM5, wideband multimode fiber expanded its reach into data centers and connected buildings worldwide. Here, we’ll take a look at all the details of OM5, from the inside out.


The core size of OM5 is 50 µm, the same as OM2, OM3 and OM4. It is distinguished from other types of multimode fiber by its lime green jacket. Plus, OM5 has a clearly defined effective modal bandwidth (EMB) and fiber cable attenuation that performs across at least four low-cost wavelengths in the 840 nm to 953nm. It was created to provide optimal support of shortwave division multiplexing (SWDM) applications, which reduce the amount of fibers needed for high speed transmissions.


OM5 has all the capabilities of OM4 plus more, including the addition of bend tolerant characteristics. It has the ability to support four SWDM channels. Across the whole wavelength range, it can support 40GBASE-SR4, 100GBASE-SR4 Ethernet and 32G Fibre Chanel applications. OM5 cabling is backward compatible with OM3 and OM4 cabling at 850 nm and it supports all legacy applications.


Check out our extensive offering of fiber optic cables and products including our new line of OM5 fiber cables for high-speed data center applications.


Video Blog: Ruggedized Connectivity Solutions

June 27, 2019 at 8:00 AM


In harsh industrial and military settings, standard commercial connectivity components will fail causing expensive downtime and even danger to lives in some military applications.


To address these demanding applications, specialized cables, connectors and other connectivity products must be used to ensure network uptime and performance.


Ruggedized cabling and interconnects must be able to withstand conditions such as extreme temperatures, moisture, corrosive chemicals, heavy vibration and more.


Communication systems for use in military operations are exposed to similar harsh conditions. Many of the voice, video and data systems used by the military are mobile and designed for rapid deployment where similar temperature, extreme shock, vibration, dust and moisture environments are prevalent. Other potential hazards encountered in these applications include heavy electromagnetic interference (EMI) and radio frequency interference (RFI), which also create connectivity problems in these environments.


If you’re building or managing networks in harsh environments and want to know more about the products created specifically to withstand and perform in these settings, we’re here to help. We’ve created a video to explain more about L-com’s ruggedized product solutions and the applications they’re used in. Check it out here.


Antenna Downtilt: A Practical Overview

June 13, 2019 at 8:00 AM


When managing cellular networks with multiple base stations, one of the toughest challenges for operators is mitigating inter-cell interference. As 5G implementation ramps up, this will become increasingly important as service providers look to strengthen networks to increase capacity.


To successfully densify, base stations must be able to reuse frequencies within their cellular clusters. This means that operators will need to have firm control over the radiation pattern of each antenna, as radiation sprawl will result in electromagnetic interference and poor quality communications.


One of the best ways to stop radiation sprawl is downtilt – a process that directs the antenna’s vertical pattern towards the ground. Downtilt can be accomplished by using these two methods:


Mechanical Downtilt:

This is the fastest and easiest way to control an antenna’s pattern. It involves physically adjusting the pole-mounting brackets of an antenna by using a digital level against the back of the antenna for an accurate measurement. The downside of this method is that it will create an effect called pattern blooming, which reduces the signal more at bore sight and less at angles away from bore sight.


Electrical Downtilt:

Another way to change an antenna’s radiation pattern is by introducing an electrical phase taper inside of a sector antenna array. Electrical downtilt allows for a uniform reduction in coverage, preventing pattern blooming from happening. There are three types of antennas electrical downtilt antennas: fixed, variable and manual. The values of fixed electrical downtilt antennas cannot be changed after design and factor in the antenna’s elevation beamwidth along with other deployment dynamics. Antennas with variable electrical downtilt can be changed remotely. Manual electrical downtilt antennas are set with a tuning knob during installation, or they can be adjusted by a second tower climb if needed. While electrical downtilt prevents pattern blooming, variable and manual electrical downtilt antennas are usually more expensive and reduce antenna gain.


To check out our extensive line of antennas, click here.


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