Why DC is Making a Comeback in Data Centers

April 12, 2018 at 8:00 AM

 

It’s safe to say that the environment has become a hot button issue lately. We are having more conversations about how people are affecting the environment and what we can do to lessen those effects. That said, did you know that data centers create an ecological footprint as big as the airline industry? In fact, in the last few years, data centers have consumed more power than the entire UK. Needless to say, data centers are energy consuming monsters. But what can be done to stop all of that energy usage? There’s no way we’re going to disassemble all of our data centers. That’s where DC power comes in.

 

At the end of the 19th century, there was the first ever battle for technology standard supremacy: alternating current (AC) vs. direct current (DC). In the end, AC came out on top. Though there are many DC devices still used today, AC has long reigned supreme as the primary standard for power. But now that we are rethinking energy usage, use of DC is again on the rise, especially high-voltage direct current (HVDC) which allows for low-loss bulk transmissions of electrical power over long distances.

 

Massive amounts of unused electricity disappear throughout data center systems. Energy is lost in cooling, air conditioning, processors and the distribution of power. Traditionally, data centers transform AC voltage into DC power and then convert it back into AC. The problem is that during each conversion from AC to DC and back to AC, energy disappears in the form of heat loss. This energy loss gets worse as the heat loss is cooled and discharged, which requires more components that create more heat.

 

 

Eliminating the conversion from DC to AC and using DC voltage in data centers might be a perfect solution. If a server is already using DC power, it can continue to be used throughout the chain and any incoming AC voltage can be converted to DC for distribution. Some studies have shown that avoiding multiple transformations and conversion can make power supply to the server 10% more power efficient.  Plus, the architecture of a DC power chain is made up of considerably fewer components than AC, which means less space needed for electrical infrastructure. Systems with fewer components can be installed faster, create fewer errors and are easier to maintain, making them more reliable and cheaper in the long run.

 

Thus, making the change to DC power could eliminate much of this power loss, save energy, improve the environment and help businesses, but it would require an industry-wide shift in perspective. Worldwide, data centers in several countries already use DC technology, but there are no standards for its use. Efforts are being made to standardize DC power, and while not all have been successful thus far, we might start to see a gradual shift from AC to DC. Skills and knowledge of DC technology will also need to be developed if this were to become the popular standard. Plus, there would need to be an increase in availability of DC components. DC systems do still have some heat loss, and they require air conditioning, fire protection, building control and access control systems. The biggest obstacle will be getting people to recognize that using DC in data centers could have enormous benefits. Once the perception begins to change, people will be more likely to switch to DC data centers and adopt new standards to make data centers more economical and environmentally friendly.

 

LoRaWAN and the IoT

April 5, 2018 at 8:00 AM

 

As the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to grow, new technology to foster its growth also emerges. One example is LoRaWAN.

 

LoRaWAN was developed by the LoRa Alliance as a way to standardize the global deployment of low-power, wide-area networks (LPWAN) to enable the IoT. LoRaWAN is a LPWAN specification designed for wireless, battery operated devices in a regional, national or global network. The focus of LoRaWAN is fulfilling key requirements of the IoT with secure, bi-directional communication, mobility and localization services.

 

LoRaWAN is a media access control (MAC) payer protocol made for large-scale public networks with a single operator. This specification allows for interoperability between smart Things without complicated local installations, which offers more freedom for users, developers and businesses, and enables easier implementation of the IoT. The low power wide-area networks used in the LoRaWAN specification are able to provide low data rate, low cost, long battery life and long range – all of which is ideal for IoT devices. Plus, the simple star network architecture means there are no repeaters and no mesh routing complexity.

 

How does it work? LoRaWAN is a star network and the way it operates is somewhat simple. The gateway communicates messages between the end-devices, and vice versa, through single-hop wireless communication. There is also a network server in the background that is connected to the gateway via a standard IP connection. With this standard, end-point communication is usually bi-directional, though LoRaWAN also supports mass distribution messages to decrease on air communication time. Communication between gateways and end-devices is distributed between different data rates and frequency channels, which helps to avoid interference. Data rates with LoRaWAN range from 0.3 kbps to 50 kbps. The LoRaWAN server manages the data rate and RF output for each device with an adaptive data rate scheme, this maximizes battery life of the end-devices and network capacity. LoRaWAN also provides extra security with several layers of encryption, which is necessary for nation-wide networks designed for IoT use. These layers of protection consist of a unique network key (EUI64) for a secure network, a unique application key (EUI64) for end-to-end security on an application level and a device specific key (EUI128).

 

There are three different classes of LoRaWAN end-point devices:

 

  • ·       Class A - Bi-directional end-devices: This class of end-devices are capable of bi-directional communications, this means the after the uplink transmission of each device there are two short downlink receive windows. These end-devices follow an ALOHA-type protocol where the transmission scheduled is mostly based on the communication needs of the end-device, with some times chosen randomly. The Class A operations system provides the lowest power option for applications that only need downlink communication from the server after an uplink transmission has been sent by the end-device.

 

  • ·       Class B – Bi-directional end-devices with scheduled receive slots: Class B devices unlock additional receive windows at scheduled times, in addition to random receive windows like Class A. To open the receive window at a scheduled time, the end-device receives a time synchronized beacon from the gateway which alerts the server of when the end-device is listening.

 

  • ·       Class C – Bi-directional end-devices with maximal receive slots: Class C end-devices have receive windows that are almost always open, only closing when a transmission is in progress.

 

As IoT use increases, LoRaWAN provides a low data rate, low cost option making it easier to connect Things locally or globally, all while providing long battery life and long range.

 

Comparing HD CCTV Technologies

March 29, 2018 at 8:00 AM

 

There are four primary HD-over-coax technologies: Analog High Definition (AHD), High Definition Composite Video Interface (HD-CVI), High Definition Serial Digital Interface (HD-SDI), and High Definition Transport Video Interface (HD-TVI).

 

AHD technology was originally developed by Nextchip, a Korean design firm that makes chipsets for the video security market. It supports data transmission over both coax and unshielded twisted pair (UTP) over a maximum distance of 500 meters through the use of equalizers.

 

AHD can transmit uncompressed real-time images at 30 frames per second (fps) over long distances using advanced compression algorithms and signal filtering.

 

AHD does not support PTZ cameras, menu controls, and remote focus/zoom lens control, making it arguably less desirable than other options.

 

HD-SDI: Serial digital interface (SDI) was first standardized by the society of motion picture and television engineers (SMPTE) in 1989. The high definition version was released in 2010 as SMPTE 292M, where the 720P resolution is defined by SMPTE 296M and the 1080P resolution is specified in SMPTE 274M. The original bit rate for standard definition SDI was around 300 Mbps while HD-SDI is around 1.5 Gbps.

 

With chipsets from a number of major manufacturers including Semtech, Intersil and Texas Instruments, HD-SDI has a high degree of vendor diversity. Similar to many HD-over-coax technologies, the transmitter receives video data from the CMOS sensor as well as audio data and serializes it into an SDI format. Different forms of compression algorithms can be used along with equalizers in order to achieve longer cable reaches.

 

HD-CVI: Originally developed by Dahua Technology, HD-CVI can accomplish up to 500-meter transmission distances and 1080P resolution. The technology supports up to 960H analog cameras for standard definition as well as 1080P HD-SDI cameras for a wide range of compatibility. HD-CVI also has bidirectional control signals and is able to transmit both video/audio and camera control over one coaxial line. This technology is significantly more cost-effective than HD-SDI but was proprietary and only sold by Dahua until recently.

 

HD-TVI is an open technology developed by Techpoint, a semiconductor company. The HD-TVI 2.0 technical specification was released in 2014 and was quickly adopted by tier one video surveillance manufacturers, such as Hikvision, AVTech, IDIS, TVT and others.

 

The primary benefit of this technology over HD-SDI is associated with the ability to transmit over 500 meters with uncompressed HD video using cost-effective UTP coax. There is also bidirectional transmission of the control signals, allowing for more camera control flexibility.

 

HD-TVI and HD-CVI are similar in cost and quality of image. The main difference between the two is that HD-TVI is an open source technology open to third party vendors; while Dahua was the sole manufacturer of HD-CVI digital signal processing (DSP) chips for a few years. However, Dahua has now released the technology to select manufacturers.

 

This post was taken from an article L-com wrote for Security Dealer & Integrator magazine. To read the entire article click here.

 

5 Technologies Changing the World

March 23, 2018 at 10:00 AM

 

In this age of technological advancement, the world is changing faster than ever. In fact, it’s hard to find an industry or area of our lives that hasn’t been touched by some type of technology. Here, we’ll take a look at some of the biggest technological advancements that are changing the world around us.

 

Clean Energy

 

As more data is showing that the Earth is getting warmer, there is more attention being paid to clean energy as a real solution. In the past, attempts to combat climate change by implementing clean energy has been a hard sell. But scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs have been hard at work creating new options that make clean energy convenient and cost-effective. Since 1977, the price of solar cells has dropped 99.5% as a result of technological and manufacturing advances in clean energy. At this rate, it’s possible that solar will soon cost less than fossil fuels. The cost of wind energy has also dropped dramatically and represents one-third of newly installed US energy capacity in the last decade. Wired and wireless networks are being built to support the energy industry as more countries and organizations are taking advantage these cost savings and moving towards clean energy, a trend that could have a big impact on the world.

 

Computerized Medicine


The role of wired and wireless technology and computers in medicine is expanding from record keeping to applied technologies that are leading to medical breakthroughs. Data analysis software is analyzing genetic sequencing to detect things like cancer and help determine the best course of treatment. Technology is aiding in huge advancements in prosthetic limbs and brain-to-machine interfaces will soon allow prosthetics to be controlled by our thoughts. Computers are also becoming more proficient at diagnosing diseases. Recently, an artificial intelligence system used patterns in 20 million cancer records to make a diagnosis that doctors weren’t able to make. Furthermore, it is expected that in 10-15 years we will be able to reverse paralysis with brain implants that will restore movement taken away by spinal cord injuries.  

 

3D Printing

 

There is a lot to like about 3D printers, they open up a new world of possibilities. 3D printers allow designers, engineers or consumers to take a design directly from their computer and make it into a physical object. From creating product parts without the cost of tooling, to prosthetic limbs, toys and even food, the possibilities of a 3D printer span as far as the imagination can dream. And with the price of 3D printers dropping dramatically, those possibilities will be open to more and more people, creating an expanded realm of innovation like we’ve never seen before.

 

Self-Driving Vehicles

 

Over the next 2-4 years, self-driving cars are expected to become a mainstream mode of transportation and reshape the world. There are already self-driving cars on the road that are safer than human-driven cars in most conditions. With cars being the leading cause of death for people ages 15-29 years old, a safer car could save a lot of lives.  Most self-driving cars will be used continuously through a ride-hailing app, Lyft is using them already in Boston. This would drastically reduce the need for parking spaces which take up 20-30% of usable space in most cities. Furthermore, the idea of cars communicating with one another to avoid accidents and alleviate traffic jams, all while allowing human riders to spend commuting time interacting with one another, working or studying, will truly be revolutionary.

 

Artificial Intelligence and Automation


Most people have had an experience with an automation in the form of an automated customer service system when calling a company or office. Those types of systems, which can be very frustrating at times, are going to become more prevalent. Fortunately, they’re also going to get much better. Smart devices will also be able to make better, more accurate suggestions and recommendations by learning humans’ patterns and preferences with increased automation. We are likely to see more automation and artificial intelligence (AI) infiltrating more and more industries. From manufacturing to fast food to journalism, more jobs will become fully or partially automated. We could see self-serve food kiosks in the near future and automated drones are already being tested to make deliveries. With all of these technological advancements comes a fear of lack of interpersonal communication, but hopefully with more services being automated, humans will take advantage of having more time to interact with one another.

 

White Paper: Wireless Antenna Mounting

March 15, 2018 at 8:00 AM

 

The key to any wireless network is the wireless antenna. It is the hub to which all other parts rely. When determining the right antenna for your application, you must first consider the best location for your antenna, then you have to figure out how to mount that antenna. Our white paper takes an in-depth look at different antenna mounting options for directional and Omni-directional antennas.  

 

Here are some of the common installation options covered for antennas and access points:

 

NEMA Enclosure Mounting:

  •       -   Typical configurations run a pigtail cable from the access point or radio to a bulkhead N-female adapter or coax lightning protector, then attach the antenna directly to the adapter or lightning protector
  •       -   Antennas can also be mounted remotely

 

Pole Mounting:

      -  Using rugged, clamp-style mounting brackets included with most of L-com’s Omni-directional antennas

      -  Upper and lower articulated clamp mounts used with sector-style antennas

      -  Yagi and patch-style antennas use tilt and swivel clamp mounting systems

 

Side of Building Mounting:

      -  HGX-UMOUNT can be used to mount antennas to the side, roof parapet or under the roof eaves of a building.

 

Mobile Mounting:

      -  Several options are available for mobile mounting, including magnetic mounts, NMO bulkhead-style mounts and using a CA-AM1RSPA010 mobile mounting cable

 

Window Mounting:

      -  Suction cups can be used for window mounting

 

Outdoor Access Point Mounting:

      -  Pole mounting or wall mounting are typically utilized for access points

      -  A NEMA enclosure might be needed to protect the access point, surge protectors etc.

 

Click here to read our Wireless Antenna and Access Point Mounting white paper.

 

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

 

© L-com, Inc. All Rights Reserved. L-com, Inc., 50 High Street, West Mill, Third Floor, Suite 30, MA 01845