Standards Showdown: 802.11 Standards Side-by-Side

July 20, 2017 at 8:00 AM

 

The IEEE is almost always working on another new amendment to the 802.11 Wi-Fi standard. We now have nearly as many 802.11 standards as there are letters in the alphabet, and keeping them straight can get confusing. Fortunately, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of all of the 802.11 standards, old and new, for easy reference. 

 

White Paper: Layer 3 Routing at the Network Edge

July 13, 2017 at 8:00 AM

 

Implementing Layer 3 at the edge of a LAN can have many benefits including increased network security, greater availability and improved network utilization, but it’s not always clear where Layer 3 routing should be used in the LAN. Traditionally, Layer 3 routers were at the core of the networks and acted as gateways to the Wide Area Network. As technology, pricing and availability have changed, Layer 3 routing has moved closer to the edge of the network. 

 

Our white paper discusses when to employ a Layer 3 switch at the edge of a network and gives definitions and applications for several widely used routing protocols including RIP, DVMRP, PIM and OSPF.

 

Topics covered in our Layer 3 white paper include:

 

Layer 2 Switching vs. Layer 3 Routing

 

Defining Layer 3 Routing Protocols

    -      Routing Information Protocol (RIP)

    -      Open Shortest Path First (OSPF)

    -      Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP)

    -      Dstance Vector Multicast Routing Protocol (DVMRP)

    -      Protocol Independent Multicast (PIM)

    -      Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol (VRRP)

 

Layer 3 Routing Applications

    -      Assigning static IP routes to VLAN/Sublets

    -      Routing between Layer 2 VLAN

    -      Routing on high-speed uplinks to the core

    -      IP multicast routing with IGMP and DVMRP

    -      PIM-DM multicast routing in the LAN

    -      PIM-SM multicast routing protocol

    -      OSPF to route IP traffic through LAN into the core router

    -      VRRP in the LAN

 

Click here to read our Layer 3 Routing at the Network Edge white paper.

 

All our free white papers are available from our website by clicking here.

 

5 Things You Need to Know About Industrial IoT

July 6, 2017 at 8:00 AM

 

With the Internet of Things promising a world that is fully automated where objects can communicate without humans, it only makes sense that this technology could be used in other ways –enter the Industrial IoT (IIoT). This next iteration of the IoT applies the IoT technology to industrial applications and is slated to revolutionize the way we do business. Here are 5 things you need to know about the Industrial IoT:

 

1.       It’s smart business

We’ve heard of smart houses, smart cars and even smart cities, now we’ll have smart businesses. The goal of the IIoT is to improve efficiency, productivity and operations on a global scale by linking people, data and intelligent machines. Machines will be able to communicate and work with each other in machine to machine (M2M) networks to optimize production and workflow. 


2.       It takes business into the Cloud

The IIoT integrates physical machinery with software and sensors that can be networked to the Cloud to provide real-time visibility of business assets. These smart machines deliver data that is analyzed and used to monitor and control operations and make real-time decisions, which improves operational efficiency, saves money and reduces waste.

 

3.       It is applicable across a range of industries

Pilot projects have tested and proven that the IIoT can be impactful across a large spectrum of industries that include healthcare, manufacturing, logistics, energy and agriculture.

 

4.       It breathes new life into old equipment

The IIoT will connect more than a century’s worth of existing mechanical and electrical infrastructure to the Internet. This includes manufacturing equipment, fleet tracking and HVAC systems. The IIoT has the power to reduce waste and improve operating costs with features such as a service alert sent before equipment breaks down, or monitoring the flow of gas valves in a refinery.

 

5.       It is the future of business

The IIoT is projected to be one of the fastest growing markets over the next several years with as many as 25 billion IP-enabled "things" being networked by 2020. It has been forecasted that the IIoT will generate nearly $320 billion in worldwide revenue and over 26% CAGR by 2020.

 

How Wired & Wireless Technology Is Helping Healthcare

June 29, 2017 at 8:00 AM

 

Healthcare is a hot topic right now. It is something that touches everyone’s lives at some point, though we might not think about the technology that goes into building healthcare devices and keeping hospitals running smoothly. Here, we’ll look at the healthcare industry and how technology is used in devices and to build communications networks to keep medical centers connected.

 

OEM Medical Devices

 

A medical device may only be as good as the parts that it’s made ofand if you’re ever in need of a defibrillator, you’re surely going to want it to have been constructed with quality parts. Medical manufacturers use all types of connectivity products to build medical devices, these include USB cables and adapters, HDMI, VGA and D-subminiature cables and adapters. For all of these parts, there are strict design requirements that must be met to comply with federal safety regulations.  We work with medical device OEMs around the world to provide solutions to fit their requirements to build medical devices that will perform when they’re needed most.

 

In-Building Wireless Networks

 

Many of today’s hospitals and medical facilities have replaced old-school patient charts with portable, wireless tablets to keep track of patient information and records. Thus, they depend on reliable cellular and Wi-Fi coverage to keep devices used by doctors and nurses connected, plus those used by patients and visitors. Distributed antenna systems (DAS), access points, RF amplifiers and low-loss coaxial cables are used to ensure that medical staff and patients can stay connected with seamless cellular and Wi-Fi coverage.

 

Medical Campus Networks

 

When a medical facility spans across several separate buildings, a high-speed communications network is needed to share vital information such as patient records and test results. Wireless point-to multipoint networks use directional and Omni-directional antennas to send wireless signals throughout the campus. If a wireless network can’t be used because Line of Sight conditions are less that optimal, a wired fiber backbone can be implemented to connect the buildings. In this case, an intricate network of fiber cabling, media converters, routers and Ethernet switches are employed to provide comprehensive campus-wide coverage.

 

Wired Infrastructure/Data Center

 

Within hospitals and medical centers there can be numerous floors that all need to be connected to a main data center. A wide variety of cabling and connectivity products are used to build this wired communications infrastructure from the ground up, running from the IDFs to the data center.  Category 5e/6/6a cables, OFNP and LSZH cables, server racks, patch panels, switches, routers and more are all used to build a high-speed, fault-tolerant medical communications network to keep every floor, device and user connected.

 

For more information on how wired and wireless technology is helping healthcare, and how L-com’s products are being used, read our full healthcare industry overview.

 

RF Antenna FAQs

June 22, 2017 at 8:00 AM

 

 

Antennas are critical components to any wireless network, so having a good grasp of antenna technology can be very important for anyone engineering, designing or managing a wireless network. With so many antenna options and so much information to digest, it’s no wonder people have a lot of questions when it comes to antennas. Here, we’ll highlight some of the questions we’re asked most frequently.

 

How do I choose the correct Wi-Fi antenna? 

There are two main types of antennas - Directional and Omni-directional:

          

-   Directional antennas emit an RF signal in a focused beam, like how a car headlight focuses light in one direction. They are great if your application is a  point-to-point Wi-Fi link. For example, if you’re transmitting a signal from one building to another, you would use a directional antenna.

 

-   Omni-directional antennas radiate an RF signal in a 360-degree pattern. These antennas are ideal if you need the Wi-Fi signal to cover a 360-degree radius.

       

-   If you have a point-to-multipoint application, such as a campus environment, using a combination of directional and Omni-directional antennas would be your best bet.

 

What is antenna polarity?

Antenna polarity is the orientation of the radio wave’s electric field with respect to the Earth's surface. Antennas can be vertically polarized, horizontally polarized or a combination of the two. For more information, check out our antenna polarization blog post.

 

What is antenna gain? 

Antenna gain is a relative measure of an antenna’s ability to direct or concentrate radio frequency energy in a particular direction or pattern. Antenna gain is typically measured in dBi or dBd. Click here for more info.

 

What is 802.11? 

802.11 is an IEEE standard for implementing wireless local area network (WLAN) communications in the 2.4, 3.6 and 5 GHz frequency bands. There are numerous 802.11 standards and new versions continue to be developed. Existing standards include 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, and 802.11n, 802.11ac, 802.11ac Wave 2, 802.11ah, 802.11ax, 802.11ay and 802.11af.

 

What is a decibel (dB)? 

A decibel (dB) is a unit of measurement for the intensity of a sound or the power level of an electrical signal by comparing it with a given level on a logarithmic scale. Decibels are commonly used in radio and sound measurement. One decibel is 1/10 of a Bel.

 

What is dBi ? 

Decibels-isotropic (dBi) are decibels relative to an isotrope. This unit of measure defines the gain of an antenna system relative to an isotropic radiator at radio frequencies. 

 

What is an isotrope? 

A theoretical isotrope is a single point in free space that radiates energy equally in every direction, similarly to the Sun.

 

What is frequency? 

Frequency is the number of cycles of alternating current in one second. It is measured in hertz (Hz).

 

What is a microwave? 

A microwave refers to all radio frequencies above the 1 GHz range. They are shorter than normal radio waves but longer than infrared radiation. Microwaves are used in radar, communications, for heating in microwave ovens and in various industrial processes.

 

What is multipath interference? 

Multipath interference is when signal reflections and delayed signal images interfere with the desired, un-delayed, larger signal. It causes picture ghosting in over-the-air analog TV and errors in digital transmission systems.

 

What is path budget?

Path budget is a mathematical model of a wireless communications link. It takes into account a wide variety of factors that can affect operating range and performance. Path budget is sometimes referred to as "link" budget.

 

What is path loss? 

Path loss is the weakening of a signal over its path of travel. This can be caused by factors such as terrain, obstructions and environmental conditions. It is measured in decibels.

 

What is fade margin? 

Fade margin is the loss of signal along a signal path caused by environmental factors such as terrain, atmospheric conditions, etc. It is measured in decibels.

 

What is a point-to-point network? 

A point-to-point network is a communications channel architecture that runs from one point to another. Directional antennas would be used in a point-to-point wireless link.

 

What is a point-to-multipoint network? 

A point-to-multipoint network architecture runs from one point to several other points. For this type of network, you would use both Omni-directional and directional antennas.

 

What is radio frequency? 

Radio frequency (RF) is typically a frequency from 20 kHz to 100 GHZ. RF is usually referred to whenever a signal is radiated through an enclosed medium, like a transmission cable or air.

 

What is a radio wave? 

A radio wave is an electromagnetic wave of a frequency used for long-distance communication. It is a combination of electric and magnetic fields varying at a radio frequency and traveling through space at the speed of light.

 

What is very-high frequency? 

Very high frequency (VHF) is the designation for radio waves in the range of 30 to 300 MHz.

 

What is ultra-high frequency? 

Ultra-high frequency (UHF) designates radio waves that are in the 300 to 3,000 MHz range.

 

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