The Results are in: Rolling Bend Flex Test

November 16, 2017 at 8:00 AM


Data cabling can be subjected to extreme conditions it wasn’t meant to withstand when installed in industrial environments or robotic control systems. These applications require a more rugged cabling solution, which is why we developed our high-flex industrial Ethernet cable assemblies. These durable cables are designed to take a beating and endure harsh conditions without damage that, in other cables, could negatively affect performance. To see just how tough our continuous flex Ethernet cable assemblies are, we decided to put them through some vigorous testing.


There are various methods used in continuous motion flex testing. We chose the rolling bend method. The rolling bend trial simulates real world bending and reaching conditions which is critical to getting a true result for cable performance. We tested an unsupported cable span at the point of bend/flex motion to measure the destructive flex forces involved in a continuous motion application. By attaching the cable to a rolling bend test fixture, we were able to perform flex cycling for a specific amount of time. We then re-tested the cable to measure electrical performance. Those results were compared to the original test and a physical inspection was done to find any damage to the cable.


What we found was that our high-flex industrial Ethernet cable assemblies were more than able to withstand the rigors of real world use and extreme conditions. All of the tested cables surpassed performance requirements and flex testing had no significant effect on the cable’s mechanical or electrical performance. To see our full report detailing the method we used to test our cables and the test results, click here.


What You Need to Know About 802.11ay

November 9, 2017 at 8:00 AM


Products for 802.11ad have only begun hitting the market in the past year, and already the IEEE is working on improvements in the form of 802.11ay. This new and improved standard will expand upon 802.11ad technology by delivering faster and longer-range Wi-Fi networks. Expected to be released in late 2019, 802.11ay will increase bandwidth and improve the reliability and robustness of the unlicensed 60GHz millimeter wave spectrum. It will be designed to improve throughput, range and use-cases.


The next generation wireless standard promises significant improvements upon the 7 Gbps speed and 10-meter distance capabilities of 802.11ad. 802.11ay will be capable of transmission rates of 20 to 30 Gbps and distances of 30 meters with 11ay-to-11ay device setups. When channel bonding, MIMO and additional capabilities are added into the mix, it’s possible that 802.11ay will deliver speeds closer to 200 Gbps and extend transmission distances up to 300 meters.


As an amendment for improving the performance of the 802.11ad standard, 802.11ay will support the same broad applications and be backward compatible with the 802.11ad standard. 802.11ay will focus on new applications for mobile offloading, wireless docking and display connectivity. It will also be ideal for fixed point-to-point or point-to-multipoint outdoor backhaul applications. 802.11ay might also be used in internal mesh and backbone networks, to provide connectivity to VR headsets, support server backups and manage cloud applications that require low latency. The main targets for 802.11ay are DisplayPort, HDMI and USB connectivity, fast synch as well as short-range, high-bandwidth connectivity to TV and monitor displays. It could even act as a replacement for HDMI and USB and make the equipment more intuitive.


802.11ay is primed to pack a punch with super-charged 20 Gig speeds and greater transmission distance. This revolutionary IEEE standard will surely break records and set the standard for future wireless technology.


9 Things You Need to Know about D-Subminiature Connectors

November 2, 2017 at 8:00 AM


Serial communication once reigned supreme. It used to be one of the most popular ways to connect peripherals such as printers, scanners, mice and joysticks to PCs. The most common connector type for serial communication was the D-subminiature connector, also called D-sub. Though they have been replaced in some applications, D-sub connectors are still relevant and used in many ways today.


Here are 9 things you need to know about D-subminiature connectors:


1.  D-subminiature connectors were once among the smallest connectors used on computer systems. They are named for their D-shaped metal connector shell. The metal shell surrounds two or more parallel rows of pins or sockets that carry the data in series.


2.  There are five different connector shell sizes. Each shell size can have two different configurations of pins. The standard shell size has two rows of pins and the high-density versions have three rows of pins.


3. With individual pins to carry serial data, D-sub connectors are very easy to customize. The DB9 is one of the standard configurations and has the smallest shell size, with 9 pins in the shell and measuring 1.3cm tall and 3.1cm wide. The largest, high-density configuration is HD78, with 78 pins it measures 1.5cm tall and 6.7cm wide. To see all shell sizes and D-sub configurations, click here.


4.  Cables using D-sub connectors can cover much longer lengths than other cables. RS-232, the current common standard for serial data, doesn’t have a defined length limit and RS-422 can be used over hundreds of meters with special equipment. On the other hand, USB has a length limit of five meters.


5.  Serial communication tends to be slow, especially over long lengths. Breaks in communication can cause software on a PC to freeze unexpectedly.


6.  D-Sub connectors are large, especially when compared to newer connector designs. This makes them difficult to connect and disconnect in tight spaces. Though right-angle adapters help in small spaces by allowing a right-angle bend without damaging the connector.


7.  Because the pins are exposed on these connectors, they can be easily bent or broken off in the shell. The best way to avoid broken pins is to use a D-sub plug or jack cover to protect the pins from being damaged when not mated. Also, gender changers and socket savers can help reduce stress from repeated mating cycles.


8.  D-subminiature connectors can be mated without thumbscrews but a friction-fit it does not always hold. Using thumbscrews makes for a more secure connection, but it does take longer to plug and unplug the connector.


9.  There are still many devices with DB9 ports and plenty of conversion options for legacy D-sub connectorized products. Converters to and from RS232/422/485 to USB, Ethernet and other technologies allow you to use your old serial device with many of today’s computers.


Technical Oddities

October 26, 2017 at 8:00 AM


From zombies and vampires to witches and werewolves, it’s the time of year when we celebrate the spooky, strange and weird. In the spirit of Halloween, we are also going to take a moment to highlight some technical oddities. Here are some strange, or strangely wonderful, inventions in the world of tech.


1.       Tail-Wagging Robot Pillow


Love the idea of having a pet, but don’t want to deal with the feeding, walking, fur or any of the other responsibilities that go along with having a pet? Now there’s an invention for you! The tail-wagging robot pillow is soft and fluffy, it will sit on your lap and even wag its tail when you pet it. Perfect for people with allergies or who live in small spaces, or those who just want the comfort of a pet without the list of to-dos that normally go along with owning one.




2.       Robotic Exoskeletons


Initially, exoskeletons were meant to help with rehabilitation for people with a damaged or lost limb or other limiting injury. The next generation of robotic exoskeletons are going beyond that by promising superhuman abilities like being able to lift a car. There is also the possibility of military exoskeletons that would give enhanced abilities to troops in combat, such as bulletproof body armor and enhanced strength to carry more powerful weapons and navigate through treacherous terrain.




3.       Speakerhat


When earbuds or headphones won’t do the trick, now there is the speakerhat. This modern-day reinvention of the boom box is a baseball cap with Bluetooth speakers embedded in the brim of the hat. Not only will you be able to look cool in your new tech accessory, you can walk around with your own personal soundtrack blaring from the speakers.




4.       Facial Scanners that Stop Toilet Paper Theft


You might not consider toilet paper theft to be a real issue, but apparently it was at a temple in Beijing, China. One of the most popular tourist attractions in the Chinese capital found that toilet paper theft had become a substantial cost as they were buying thousands of rolls of paper every month. To combat this issue, they installed facial recognition scanners that dispense a certain amount of toilet paper and store the person’s face in a temporary data base. If that same face returns for more toilet paper within nine minutes from their previous visit, it will not dispense any more paper. Toilet paper caper, solved!



5.       App to Stop SUI (Shopping Under the Influence)


Many have done it, few like to admit it – the late night act of online shopping after having too many adult beverages. What seems like a good idea at night, can prove to be a mistake in the morning. Fortunately, now there’s an app that blocks your credit cards for 12 hours if you’re over the alcohol limit. You may want to download this app before you wake up to a shipping confirmation for a box full of buyer’s remorse.


802.3bt and PoE

October 19, 2017 at 8:00 AM


In 2003 the first Power over Ethernet (PoE) standard was ratified and today there are more than 100 million devices that use PoE. It is an easy to install solution that provides an integrated and safe power standard for worldwide use. PoE has been deployed in high-volume applications such a wireless access points (APs) and Internet protocol (IP) phones to allow communications equipment to be installed in locations where no AC power source is available or where adding an AC outlet would be too costly.


The main limitation of PoE is the amount of power it’s able to supply. Even the most recent standardized version of PoE, 802.3at, is only able to provide a maximum of 25.5 Watts of power to a device. This modest amount of power has limited PoE use in many applications that require more power. Plus, with an increasing number of devices simultaneously connecting to Ethernet networks, the need for more PoE power continues to grow.


To address the demand for higher power PoE, the IEEE has been working on a new standard, 802.3bt. This newest standard is slated to debut this year and aims to double or triple the power output of the current PoE standard, 802.3at. IEEE 802.3bt increases the maximum PoE power available by employing all four pairs of the structured wiring of an Ethernet cable. It delivers extended power management capabilities and enables multiple PoE classes while also being backward compatible. Additionally, the 802.3bt standard may also standardize PoE with 10Gbase-T.


The ability to provide higher power to end devices will drastically expand the number of applications able to use PoE. This will include high-volume applications such as point-of-sale, building management and industrial control systems. Delivering power and data on the same link with PoE will make life easier, and cheaper for design engineers who will be able to save time and money on installation when compared to running separate data and power lines. It also makes relocation of devices simple and as easy as moving a cable, rather than having to hire an electrician to move or add AC power outlets. 


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