802.11ad - What is WiGig?

November 15, 2018 at 8:00 AM

 

As the evolution of wireless technology continues, so does the development of new wireless standards. Next on the list is 802.11ad – also known as WiGig. Most of the emerging wireless standards have been a steady progression, but this one has some fundamental changes planned. Here, we’ll explore what WiGig is all about.

 

As far as speed is considered, WiGig will support data rates up to 7 Gbps, though real data rates might be less than this maximum limit. WiGig operates on the 60 GHz frequency, as opposed to Wi-Fi which uses the 2.4 to 5 GHz bands. This should result in much less congestion compared to Wi-Fi’s congested frequencies and WiGig also shouldn’t have as many interference issues as there are on the 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi band. Plus, it utilizes a narrow signal beam to reduce attenuation. But with a range of only around 30 feet and the 60 GHz signal unable to penetrate obstacles, WiGig is limited to one room with a clear line of sight from the transmitter to the receiver.

 

Instead of MIMO, WiGig uses multiple antennas for beamforming, which helps reduce attenuation. WiGig beamforming utilizes a phased antenna array that provides a signal power boost in whichever direction it is aimed. One of these access points can have as many as 64 antennas to generate up to 128 beams.

 

For multiple access, Service Period (SP), a new channel access mode, has been added to WiGig. This creates transmission schedules that are assigned to clients by access points. Time on the channel is organized into intervals called Beacon Intervals (BI). SP access is projected to be the preferred channel access in WiGig.

 

WiGig will also introduce a new mode of operation called PBSS. With PBSS, there is a central coordinator, like an access point (AP), but it allows clients to communicate while surpassing the AP. Clients can also talk to one another directly with this. PBSS is designed for applications that stream HD video to a display, because it doesn’t require the video to be sent through the AP, but it can still connect through the AP in other areas of the network.

 

In addition to 2.4 and 5 GHz, future Wi-Fi devices are expected to include 60 GHz radios and are expected to be capable of seamless transfers between the bands. Not only is WiGig bringing something new to today’s wireless networks, but it will add extra capability to future applications.

 

5 Tips for Building a Modern Data Center

November 8, 2018 at 8:00 AM

 

The world of technology is always changing, and the same goes for data centers too. Data centers play a critical role in networking and have evolved to allow businesses better access to their data with improved usability while being easier to manage. Now, they must also adapt to be cost-effective, efficient and responsive with the technology they support. Accelerating business demands beg for more storage and resources, and new technologies require improved infrastructure. Gone are the days of bigger is better, what we need now are smarter, more efficient, easier to manage and scalable data centers. Here are 5 ways to usher in the modernization of the data center:

 

1.      Make Appliances Multi-Task

 

Instead of having dedicated resources for only one purpose, combining the computing and storage capabilities of devices into one makes data centers more economical and efficient.  This allows the data center to be designed with a single tier that can fulfill all of the server and storage needs of any application. Plus, it improves scalability without acquiring additional or specialized equipment.

 

2.      Flexibility is Key

 

Being nimble and flexible are important qualities to have in today’s world of technology, and that applies to data centers too. A modular data center design is more flexible, simpler and allows for easy additions/removals as needed, which allows for better management of resources. One approach that’s gaining traction is combining storage and computing tiers into a single appliance (as referenced in tip #1), the overall data center design is streamlined  into a single console which makes management easier than ever.

 

3.      Consumer Focus

 

In addition to multi-tasking and flexibility, data centers also have to be more resilient and reliable than before. Today’s data centers have to support traditional technology as well as newer virtual desktops infrastructures (VDI) and mobile devices. This has led to a more consumer-focused approach that allows employees to access desktops, applications and data from within the data center via any device, anywhere. This modern approach also allows IT admins to better manage a rage of consumer-based workload demands as well as VDI systems, storage data services and existing virtual applications.

 

4.      Cloud Fusion

 

To be able to keep essential business applications safe within a private data center, while also being able to access the public cloud for other things, hybrid clouds are the way to go. Hybrid cloud environments are able to offer the best of both worlds by fusing the public cloud benefits of on-demand resource-sharing with multiple users, with the security, service and performance of private clouds. It’s a win-win.

 

5.      Continuation of Service

 

Most data centers have a plan for disaster recovery, but what about an interruption of service or latency issue? Users are accustomed to being able to access their data quickly and whenever they need it, a connection slowdown, or complete shutdown, can lead to employees using unauthorized cloud-based services. Thus, in addition to a disaster recovery, admins should have a plan to provide service continuity as well. This means designing data centers to be easily available with high-bandwidth and low round-trip times. Distributing applications across multiple sites, geographic regions or data centers can also be helpful, plus it improves scalability and performance.

 

As with everything in the world of technology, there are always upgrades to be made, and data centers are not immune to the need for improvement. With a few tweaks and a slightly different perspective, data centers can modernize their operations to best support the needs of today’s users.

 

411 on 5G

November 1, 2018 at 8:00 AM

 

For the past few years, the world of technology has been abuzz with talk about the 5th generation mobile wireless (5G), and with full-scale rollouts set to begin next year, all that buzz can be expected to become a swarm. For example, when wireless networks transitioned from 3G to 4G, there were incremental improvements in technology and performance, but the upgrade from 4G to 5G is expected to be a complete revolution of wireless and connectivity. To make sure you’re prepared to take part in the revolution, here’s the 411 to get you up to speed on 5G.

 

The goal of the 5G network is to create a platform that makes it possible to deliver global connection. This means being able to connect everyone and everything, everywhere around the globe. In addition to that, 5G systems are slated to deliver data rates that far surpass 4G in a wider coverage area, while being more power efficient and reliable, presenting lower latency, supporting faster moving equipment and the influx of communication stemming from the Internet of Things (IoT). Plus, 5G will not only support mobile wireless users, it will also include enhanced wireless connectivity technology for use in applications such as automotive, smart homes, augmented and virtual reality.

 

In order to cross into all of those markets, the specifications for 5G performance have been debated and defined. The finalized specifications were set to be released by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) in 2020. Though mobile operators and service providers are urging the standardization organizations to accelerate that timetable.

 

With so much uncertainty still looming over the finalization of the standard, early releases are not shaping up exactly as planned. In the meantime, the non-standalone 5G new radio (NSA 5G NR) is the interim 5G specification and will help ease the transition from 4G to 5G. The NSA 5G NR supports many aspects of 5G including the sub-6 GHz spectrum, frequency bands, carrier aggregation and MIMO. With the new 5G frequency bands, NSA 5G NR is capable of 5G-like performance while utilizing existing technologies and infrastructure. This interim specification will provide the groundwork for future trials and deployments and allow for the technology to be better understood for the full 5G rollout.

 

With the excitement of early 5G availability, there have also been new application opportunities emerging that include fixed wireless (FWS) to the home. This development would use 5G wireless technology to provide last mile data services including television, home internet and voice-over-IP (VoIP) phone calling. As the launch of early 5G gets closer, there are bound to be additional new and existing applications to arise that would benefit from 5G’s lower latency, increased data rates and enhanced reliability. Until then, we will have to wait with great anticipation for the arrival of 5G.

 

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802.3bu - Power Over Data Lines (PoDL)

October 25, 2018 at 8:00 AM

 

In the realm of IEEE standards, 802.3 has some pretty good tricks up its sleeve. There is 802.3bt which expanded the capabilities of Power over Ethernet (PoE), 802.3bv brought you Power over Plastic Optical Fiber (POF) and 802.3bz which delivers 2.5 Gbps and 5 Gbps speeds data over copper. Now, the IEEE has unveiled 802.3bu – a standard for Power over Data Lines (PoDL).

 

Initially, single-pair Ethernet was created to help meet a demand in the automotive industry for Ethernet connectivity in vehicles. 802.3bu defines the specifications and standards for delivering power over single twisted-pair to connect Data Terminal Equipment (DTE) with IEEE 803.2 interfaces. This standard also extends the wattage range to up to 60 Watts of power, which is more power over a single cable than the PoE standards 802.3af and 803.2bt. With this PoDL standard, the most recent physical layers of single twisted-pair Ethernet are supported, including 100BASE-T1 and 1000BASE-T1, while using unshielded twisted-pair cables. This results in a lower cost and lighter weight solution, which is always good news. It is targeted for use in automotive, industrial automation, air and rail transportation, and other applications that use 100BASE-T1, 1000BASE-T1 or any single-pair data or non-data entity protocol. The IEEE 802.3bu standard also opens itself up for the possibility of additional applications across a variety of industries in need of solutions to adapt to the Internet of Things (IoT) expansion.

 

The goal of the 802.3bu standard is to specify a power distribution technique for use over a single twisted-pair cable that will allow for operation if data is not present. This standard is designed to deliver power that supports multiple voltages and classes of power at each voltage level. Plus, it has the capability of fault protection and detection to identify device signatures and communicate directly with devices to ensure precise and safe power delivery. PoDL supports fast startup operation with predetermined voltage configurations and the option of operation with run-time voltage configuration. It ensures compatibility with the IEEE 802.3bp standard. However, it is not compatible with Ethernet applications that operate over 2 or 4-pairs of twisted-pair cable.

 

With the introduction of 802.3bu PoDL, not only is the wattage delivery increased and intuitive, the possibilities of power delivery are increased as well.

 

How the IoT is Affecting Wi-Fi

October 18, 2018 at 8:00 AM

 

In today’s society, Wi-Fi has become something that people now expect to be readily available and depend on to carry out everyday tasks. With the rollout of the Internet of Things (IoT), people will soon become accustomed to having all of their things connected as well. But with all of those connected devices, can Wi-Fi handle an even greater influx of user demand for high-speed connectivity? Here, we’ll take a look at how the IoT is affecting Wi-Fi.

 

When it comes to connectivity requirements, each IoT application can have a different set of range, data throughput and energy efficiency needs. Some IoT devices only need small, intermittent data transfers, such as utility meters. While some need a constant stream of data, such as live surveillance cameras. Also, range can differentiate from very short for wearables, to spanning miles for weather and agricultural sensor applications. But there are two things that are constants for all IoT applications: the need for remote power and constant connectivity.

 

To fulfill this need, Wi-Fi is the obvious choice because Wi-Fi coverage is so widespread, but standard Wi-Fi is not always the best choice for IoT applications. Thus, there are several standards that have emerged from the need for IoT connectivity. These include LoRaWAN, multiple short range communications standards and new Wi-Fi standards such as HaLow (802.11ah) and HEW (802.11ax).

 

The 802.11ah standard was introduced to address the range and power needs of the IoT. It utilizes the 900 MHz frequency band to provide extended range, covering a one kilometer radius, lower power requirements, wake/sleep periods and station grouping options.

 

The 802.11ax standard also includes the wake/sleep and station grouping features, and has a MU-MIMO feature that allows up to 18 users to simultaneously send data within a 40 MHz channel when paired with the smaller subcarrier spacing. Internet service providers and technology startups have also begun developing an application layer that includes mesh networks that use sets of routers to work together and extend wireless coverage, and provisioning tactics that define how wireless devices connect to networks.

 

There is some fear that the IoT could essentially break Wi-Fi, but there seems to be plenty of development activity focused around finding solutions to Wi-Fi congestion before it becomes a problem. With all of the IoT devices expected to be connecting in the near future, there will likely be a significant shift in Wi-Fi practices and standards, but as with everything in the world of technology, being able to pivot and reconfigure is the name of the game.

 

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