It's All About Time: Time-sensitive Networking

February 7, 2019 at 8:00 AM

 

In today’s fast paced world, we’ve all got places to go – and quickly. Thus, the demand for reliable transportation has grown along with urbanization and transit companies’ desire for efficient and cost-effective business. Previously, we’ve discussed how technology is changing transportation and modern day wireless railways. Today, we’re going to take a closer look at another technology changing transportation: time-sensitive networking.

 

Time-sensitive networking (TSN) is an extension and update to the IEEE Ethernet standards 802.1 and 802.3 that are intended to standardize Ethernet technology for control systems. TSN is a groundbreaking technology that offers deterministic, timed messaging over Ethernet for train-to-ground communication. It is centrally managed and ensures delivery with reduced jitter by utilizing time scheduling for real-time applications that require determinism. This technology will allow operations networks to utilize the benefits of traditional Ethernet while also fulfilling the timing and control demands of control and measurement applications.  

 

TSN eliminates the need for multiple networks by leveraging existing Ethernet networks to prioritize transmissions that are critical to safety over non-critical data. This feature provides enhanced interoperability and cost savings by reducing the amount of physical network components needed. Though TSN is not a protocol, but an extension of the Ethernet standard, it benefits from growing improvements in Ethernet security, bandwidth and additional capabilities to hold an advantage over standard and specialty Ethernet protocols.

 

Some of the biggest advantages of TSN include safer rides for both passengers and rail operators by allowing real-time delivery of safety messages. Clearer communication and accurate delivery of information allows for trains to run more efficiently and move more passengers. In addition to faster, safer rides, passengers will have a better trip experience with TSN’s reliable Ethernet network to keep them connected during the ride.

 

In addition to rail transportation networks, there are other applications and industries that could benefit from TSN. These include test cells and distributed monitoring which require sensor readings from multiple locations, all of which need to be linked in time. Hardware in the loop (HIL) could also use TSN since it often needs closely coordinated measurements in addition to distributed closed loop control. Machine control systems also use control networks that need synchronized measurements and actions that are highly time-sensitive. Additionally, auto makers are beginning to integrate Ethernet into vehicles to deliver more bandwidth and quicker response, and media networking can use TSN to transmit audio and video data that requires a stringent timing schedule.

 

As the world of rail and transportation and Ethernet networks continue to evolve, TSN has much to offer to help advance operations and usher in the next age of Ethernet technology.

 

802.3ca Ethernet Passive Optical Networks

January 24, 2019 at 8:00 AM

 

Today, passive optical networks (PONs) are commonly used as a cost-effective way to deliver optical broadband services to many users. This technology is comprised of point-to-multipoint networks that use an optical line terminal at the central office connected to multiple optical network units placed inside the user’s home via a feeder fiber and an optical splitter. The IEEE has already standardized PONs in the 1 Gbps to 10 Gbps range, Gigabit Ethernet PON (G-PON) and 10 Gigabit Ethernet PON (10G-EPON), now it is setting its sights on standardizing 50 Gigabit Ethernet PON (50G-EPON) with the development of the 802.3ca standard.

 

The goal of 802.3ca is to support the subscriber access networks that use point-to-multipoint arrangements on optical fiber. This standard will provide specifications for physical layers that operate over one single-mode optical fiber (SMF) strand. It will support symmetric and/or asymmetric data rates in these ranges:

  

  • ·       25 Gbps in downstream and 10 or 25 Gbps in upstream (25G-EPON)
  • ·        50 Gbps in downstream and 10, 25 or 50 Gbps in upstream (50G-EPON)

 

802.3ca will also support legacy PON technologies such as 10G-EPON and 10 Gigabit-capable symmetric PON (XGS-PON). Originally, 100 Gbps speeds were going to be an objective of this standard, but that was deemed to be too technically challenging, not economically feasible and not needed for 10 years, so 50 Gbps wavelengths were chosen to be a better technical solution.

 

The IEEE has begun the process of developing 802.3ca by organizing a task force with the mission of determining the specific protocols for the standard. This process is currently underway and is expected to complete in the 2nd quarter of 2020. So, even though we’re a ways out, there is still much to look forward to as the 802.3ca standard evolves.

 

All About USB 3.2

January 10, 2019 at 8:00 AM

 

We’ve discussed the difference between USB 3.1 Gen 1 vs. Gen 2, but now comes the next level for Universal Serial Bus - USB 3.2. What makes this newest USB standard stand out? First and foremost are increased bandwidth and USB Type-C connector and cable support. Here, we’ll take a look at all the specs, so you’ll know all about USB 3.2.

 

While USB 3.1 Gen 1 brought 5 Gbps and Gen 2 doubled that to 10 Gbps speeds, USB 3.2 then doubles down again to offer 20 Gbps speeds – the most notable feature of the new standard. The way it provides those speeds is a little different though. USB 3.2 utilizes what is being called multi-lane operation, where devices use two lanes of 5 Gbps or 10 Gbps running together to transfer data at the same time over extra wires inside the USB cables. This allows for a cumulative data transfer rate of 10 Gbps to 20 Gbps.

 

What does this new standard mean for older USB cables? Fortunately, the new standard will be backward compatible with older standards. Even more fortunately, if the host and recipient devices are USB 3.2 compatible, older USB cables will also see a boost in speeds as great as 2 Gbps. USB 3.2 will also support USB-C connectors and their features such as power delivery, alternate modes, and digital audio, video and data on the same cable.

 

Overall, the new USB 3.2 standard is a big upgrade in terms of speed, but otherwise, it’s not a huge shift – which might be good news for those not ready to replace all of their older USB equipment. Though faster speeds are always good news, so this update is sure to be a welcomed change.

 

Readers’ Choice -Top Blog Posts of 2018

December 20, 2018 at 8:00 AM

 

Our goal for this blog is to provide interesting and informative content for our readers. So we always enjoy taking a look back at the end of the year to see what the most popular posts were. To make sure you didn’t miss anything, here’s a list of the most read posts of 2018. We hope to see you back in 2019!

 

 

1.      Cat6 Cable: Shielded vs. Unshielded


Category 6 Ethernet cable is designed to provide high speed data rates, but how do you decide between shielded or unshielded? Here, we compare them side by side so you can choose which will work best for your application. Read more.

 

 

2.      10 of the Worst Cabling Nightmares

 

We pride ourselves on our commitment to provide the best connectivity solutions for our customers, helping them to manage their data centers. So it always comes as a shock when we see cabling infrastructure that is a complete nightmare. This post has some of the worst offenders we’ve seen on the web. Read more.

 

 

3.      The Advantages and Disadvantages of Shielded Ethernet Cable

 

When it comes to shielded Ethernet cable, there are pros and cons. This post takes a look at both the good and the bad to help you weigh your options. For example, shielding can offer protection from EMI/RFI but its weight and limited flexibility means it’s not ideal for every application. To help decide if shielded Ethernet cable is right for your installation, read the post.

 

 

4.      75 Ohm vs. 50 Ohm – Coaxial Comparison

 

Ohm may sound like something you’d say while meditating, but when it comes to coaxial cables, it is actually a unit of resistance. Ohms measure the impedance within the cable. Impedance is resistance to the flow of electrical current through a circuit. To see how 75 Ohm and 50 Ohm compare, read our post.

 

 

5.      Good Vibrations: Vibration-Proof USB Connectors


Universal Serial Bus (USB) is one of the most widely used technologies to connect and power devices. One fundamental flaw of USB is its sensitivity to vibration, causing the connector to dislodge. In this post we show you some solutions to keeping your USB connected. Read more.

 

Managing the Modern WAN

December 13, 2018 at 8:00 AM

 

Today’s enterprise networks are utilizing more and more platforms and services, including cloud and multi-cloud computing. With all of these additions, there is an increasing amount of ground to cover and more challenges to face for today’s wide area networks (WANs). Here are a few tips to managing the modern WAN.

 

The cloud computing services that are becoming increasingly popular are not always easy to navigate. Each cloud operates in its own way and has its own intricacies, so educating yourself on the ins and outs is imperative to being able to successfully managing a modern WAN. When in doubt, jump in feet first. Sometimes the best way to learn how to manage a network in a multi-cloud environment is to just do it. Setting up a lab for research allows technicians to experiment and gather firsthand knowledge, and it’s usually not an expensive investment.

 

When it comes to actually implementing all of the new technology coming to market, integration can get tricky. Making sure that the legacy local area networks (LANs) and the new WAN platforms all work cohesively is a challenge. Fortunately, new products that enable software-defined WAN are also being developed and can be very useful in easing integration difficulties, especially for large networks. In a perfect world, all parts of a WAN would have end-to-end connectivity for seamless integration. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Thus, network administrators need to be able to adapt and be well-versed in alternative connection options such as load balancers, overlay networks and WAN accelerators. With a little savvy, you can achieve the performance goals of your WAN network while also staying within budget parameters.

 

Just like all other aspects of the world of technology, the parts that make up the modern day WAN are also changing. By staying current and educating yourself about new technology, and keeping a few tricks up your sleeve, you can integrate those changes and keep your network up to date.

 

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