Case Study: Kinki Sharyo

November 30, 2017 at 8:00 AM

 

In metropolitan areas, thousands of people depend on the rail system every day as a primary mode of transportation. Our customer, Kinki Sharyo, has designed and manufactured more than 10,000 railcars and is the leading supplier of low-floor light rail systems in North America. From manufacturing to maintenance, they design a full-range of customized products to meet the needs for each transit system to get people where they need to go safely and reliably.

 

After being awarded a $30 million contract from NJ Transit, Kinki Sharyo needed to make 60 new trains with DVI, Cat5e and USB cabling for onboard video and LED lighting systems. The problem they were having was finding a cable that could provide connectivity to articulated train cars that are connected to each other.  The existing connectivity method used heavy gauge cables bundled together that frequently wore out and had failure at friction points. They needed a robust cabling system that would not wear down and could withstand the movement of the train cars and constant flexing of the cables.

 

L-com provided Kinki Sharyo with crush-proof armored USB, right-angle Cat5e Ethernet and right-angle DVI cables all off-the-shelf and ready for installation. These cables met all the needs of the new rail car design. The USB cables were more than rugged enough, the right-angle DVI and Cat5e cables were the perfect fit for rail cars with limited space and they all provided the added benefit of low-smoke zero-halogen jackets to protect the new rail cars and passengers inside.

 

To read the full case study, click here.

 

Wireless Infrastructure 101

November 23, 2017 at 8:00 AM

 

You would be hard pressed to find a business, industry or home that doesn’t use wireless communication in some way. We depend on wireless networks used by our mobile devices, laptops, tablets and gaming systems to keep us connected, entertained and informed every day. Here, we’ll look at indoor and outdoor wireless infrastructure design considerations.

 

Frequencies

 

For wireless communication to work, radio frequency (RF) and microwaves are used to transmit voice, video and data. Radio frequencies are usually used in wireless networks, they range from 3 kHz to 300 GHz and are also used for AM broadcasting, navigational beacons and shortwave radio. Microwaves range from 300 MHz to 300 GHz and are typically used for television, FM broadcasting, aviation communications, and radar and satellite links. Most home, business and government networks operate on the Industrial, Scientific and Medical (ISM) frequency bands that range from 900 MHz to 5 GHz. The ISM band frequencies incorporate many of the IEEE 802.11wireless standards.

 


Design Considerations

 

When designing a wireless network, you must always take into consideration the environmental variables in the installation area that will or could affect network performance.

 


Indoor RF Wireless Networks

 

During installation or expansion, indoor networks present a special set of factors to consider. Most wireless access points and routers have a typical range capability specified by the manufacturer. But these ranges are based on having clear line of sight, which requires an unobstructed view of the antenna from the remote point in the link. Unfortunately, this is not the case in most indoor installations, there is usually some type of obstacle present. For example, signals typically will not penetrate concrete walls and the other building materials such as metal studs, aluminum siding, foil-backed insulation, pipes, electrical wiring and furniture. All of these common obstacles can reduce signal range and affect the coverage area. Plus, other wireless equipment such as cordless phones, microwave ovens, radio transmitters and electrical equipment can cause interference and decrease the signal range.

 


Outdoor RF Wireless Networks

 

Outdoor wireless networks face many of the same challenges as indoor networks, such as reflections and multipath. Having a clear line of sight is also critical for an outdoor network, trees and leaves can obstruct 802.11 frequencies and block the signal completely. A site survey is recommended before an outdoor wireless network is deployed, it might also be necessary to clear obstacles.

 

To help you plan and design your wireless network, we offer a series of wireless calculators to get you started.

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.

 

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