Get to Know GPS Antennas

October 31, 2019 at 8:00 AM

 

Not sure if you need a GPS antenna? Wondering the best way to use a GPS antenna? These specialized antennas are made to receive and amplify radio signals transmitted on specific frequencies by GPS satellites. Those signals are then converted to an electronic signal for use by a GPS receiver. The output of the GPS antenna is fed into the receiver which can calculate the position. Here, we’ll take a closer look at GPS antennas, their uses and applications.

 

First, let’s get a better idea of reasons why you might need a GPS antenna. For example, in a vehicle, if a GPS receiver will not be near a window, a GPS antenna might be necessary to ensure you don’t lose signal. Also, in canyons, when surrounded by tall buildings, under cover of a lot of trees or any time view of the sky is obstructed, an external GPS antenna can be a huge help. They can also help avoid loss of signal in a moving vehicles and aid in generally maintaining the best satellite signal.

 

There are three different types of GPS antennas:

 

·        Active GPS antennas include a Low Noise Amplifier (LNA) to compensate for signal loss that happens with all cables. Power from the GPS receiver is required, and provided by an external antenna jack in order to power the LNA which, in turn, can drain the receiver’s batteries faster.

 

·        Passive GPS antennas don’t include LNAs and thus don’t require power. However, because they’re not powered, one meter is usually the maximum cable length for the pigtail.

 

·        Reradiating GPS antennas are made up of two separate antennas. The transmitting, reradiating, antenna is near the GPS receiver while the receiving antenna is outside the building or vehicle. The two antennas are connected by a coaxial cable and powered by either an AC adapter or a 12 volt vehicle supply. This type of GPS antenna is necessary if there isn’t an external antenna jack on your GPS system.

 

Applications that are ideal for GPS antennas include ground mapping, survey, construction, agriculture, mining, and permanent and temporary reference stations. Of course, GPS antennas are an immense asset for aircraft. And with today’s developments in transportation technology, GPS antennas are a must for unmanned vehicles.

 

Now that you know the ins & outs of GPS antennas, be sure to check out our high-performance GPS Antennas that are in-stock and available for immediate delivery.

 

411 on IoT Sensors

October 17, 2019 at 8:00 AM

 

In this blog, we’ve talked about a lot of different aspects and parts of the Internet of Things (IoT) - from industrial IoT to antennas & IoT, and how the IoT is making the world safer, we’ve covered a lot of ground. Now, we’re going to take a look at IoT sensors. Along with all the “things” connected through the IoT, sensors can be enabled to collect information about the surrounding environment. Here is the info you need to know. 

 

IoT sensors capture data and deliver it to be stored and processed in the core network. They are offered in various sizes to best fit the application and can be designed to be discreet stand-alone products or integrate into another product. These sensors can be installed close to the point of use or at the edge of the network. Sometimes they are localized within a space, such as a building. Other times, they are a further distance away, like in a field. No matter the location, sensors in harsh environments must always be protected to maintain reliability and durability. The actual application will determine where the sensors are placed, as well as what type of sensor is used, how it sends back data and what data is collected.

 

Sensors are offered in mechanical, electrical, electromechanical, magnetic, electromagnetic, chemical or optical models. The type of data they collect is just as varied and which one you use depends on what your application requires. Data types include, but are not limited to: pressure, moisture, temperature, vibration, motion, chemicals, sound and speed. For precision data, the sensor will need higher accuracy. Geospatial tagging is required to collect data on location. And data that is time sensitive or mission critical might call for time tagging capabilities.

 

How often sensors capture data and when it gets sent back to the core network can also be adjusted depending on the application. Data can be collected as needed, during certain events, at predetermined intervals or continuously. That data can then be transmitted back (over a cable or wirelessly) as soon as it’s captured or only at specific times.

 

IoT sensors can be powered by an electric wire, solar power or batteries. The location of the sensors, how many are deployed and the amount of power used will largely determine the best power type for the application. It wouldn’t be feasible to change hundreds of batteries for sensors in a remote location. Just keep in mind that the more often the sensors send data, and the larger the files, the more power they’ll use.

 

There are a lot of variables to consider when choosing the right IoT sensor for your application, and now you should be well-versed in what to keep in mind.

 

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.

 

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