You Haven't Seen This Test Equipment List on Buzzfeed.

June 19, 2014 at 10:00 AM

 

That’s right. We said it. 

 

Sure, Buzzfeed has lots of great stuff. But can you find helpful tips about testing equipment that might be useful to your network application?

 

Most likely not.

 

In this post, we’re going to explore the world of testers. After reading these tips and pointers, you’ll be able to navigate the variety of testers available today and learn how they are used. 

 

Does your application call for environmental testing, electrical verification or simple cable continuity testing?

 

Stay tuned. 

 

We’ll look at four categories of testers, from fiber testers to electrical testers, to testers that even measure sound levels.

 

 

 

Electrical Testers

 

 

Voltage problems, anyone?

 

Look no further. This series of testers function for detecting live electrical circuits, loose electrical wiring and include testers such as POE testers and voltage detectors.

 

One example of an electrical tester is the Model AX502 by AEMC Instruments. With dual 30V outputs, it has the ability to display both voltage and current for each output. The Model AX502 offers a unique master/slave tracking arrangement whereby the ratio between the master and slave can be setup on the fly as needed during the test. Adjusting the master voltage causes the slave to track. Adjusting the slave voltage causes the ratio from master to slave to change accordingly. 

 

In addition, this electrical tester offers a Coarse and Fine voltage adjustment as well as a current limiting adjustment. It is built to provide many years of reliable, precise, easy-to-use operation and will be a welcome addition to any lab, test bench or production line. 

 

 

 

Environmental Testers

 

 

This group includes testers such as light meters, sound lever meters, and thermometers. Worried about an obscene amount of noise harming your co-workers or employees ears? You might want a sound level meter.

 

The Sound Level Meter Model CA832 by L-com is designed to assess sound ambiences or nuisances in accordance with international safety and quality standards. It complies with the IEC 651 standard. The Model CA832 is a portable, compact instrument with a 2000-count backlit LCD. It is designed for simple, one-hand operation and may be fitted on a tripod for long duration measurements. It features two weighting curves, A and C, for measurement integrating the sensitivity of the human ear according to sound frequency.

 

 

 

Copper Cable Testers

 

 

Choose yours from a selection of products for coaxial, Cat5/5e/6, fiber optic, USB, D-subminiature, Firewire, Telco RJ11/12 and more. 

 

At L-com we stock both simple go-no-go Cat5 cable testers as well as advanced network tester solutions which map IP addresses and cable routes. The AEMC CA7028 Wire Mapper Pro LAN Cable Tester is a hand-held structured cable mapping and troubleshooting tester designed for use on UTP, STP, FTP and SSTP cabling equipped with RJ-45 connectors and wired to either TIA 568A/B (ISO 11801 and EN 50137), USOC or ISDN specifications. It detects open circuit pairs, shorts, crossed wires, crossed pairs, reversed pairs, split pairs and shield faults. 

 

Some manufacturers you’ll find include L-com, Fluke Networks, AEMC, and Advanced Fiber Solutions. 

 

 

 

Fiber Cable Testers

 

 

A fiber optic test kit allows users to quickly test multimode and single mode fiber cabling. Applications where these might come in handy are:

 

  • •Fiber cable build shops
  • •Fiber Installers
  • •Network Technicians

 

The AFS OTDR's for Multimode and Single mode Fiber cabling by L-com measures the attenuation in optical fibers and splices, as well as the length and the distance to any event, such as a break in the fiber link. The Micro OTDR is accurate enough for laboratory use but portable and rugged enough for field applications. 

 

These OTDR's are used in conjunction with a PC or Laptop with a USB interface, eliminating the need for batteries completely! The USB connection allows the Micro OTDR to be controlled from a laptop or PC and runs off of Windows 9x/NT/2000 and XP versions.

 

As you can see, L-com not only offers continuity cable testers but also test equipment developed for testing light, sound, temperature, power and more. 

 

 

Have a look at L-com's Test Equipment here:   


 

 

 

Industrial Wireless Network Design: Finding the Right Frequency

June 12, 2014 at 10:00 AM

 

 

 

Surely you will enjoy this informational write up if you consider yourself aligned with any of the following:

 

A- You’ll soon be involved in an industrial wireless network deployment.


B- You like to learn about wireless network systems.

 

Or, C- You’re a fan of our blog and REALLY like to read our stuff.

 

Oh stop, you’re making me blush. 

 

 

Where were we? 

 

Right. We’re here to talk about the fact that today’s industrial wireless networks utilize multiple frequency ranges to address different applications. 

 

Within just one industrial setting, you might find two or even three frequencies in play because of their unique characteristics.

 

For instance, just about every industrial installation requires security systems with cameras to protect against intruders and potential saboteurs. 

 

Today’s industrial camera networks typically utilize a specific type of camera, called IP cameras. These are sometimes wired using Cat5e/6 cabling, though often they are connected via wireless links (due to issues such as remote placement where cables cannot be easily run). 

 

These wireless IP camera networks require higher bandwidth to send video and/or audio communications to a central control office. Therefore, 2.4 GHz WiFi networks are often used. By implementing 802.11g or 802.11n systems, wireless speeds of 54 Mbps up to 150 Mbps can be realized. 

 

Here are a few products that can be used in a 2.4 GHz WiFi industrial network:

 

 

2.4 GHz Antennas          2.4 GHz Outdoor Access Point       2.4 GHz Amplifiers     2.4 GHz Filters/Splitters

 

 

2.4 GHz Antennas

2.4 GHz Outdoor CPE

2.4 GHz Amplifiers

2.4 GHz Filters/Splitters

 
 

In contrast, other facilities such as oil and chemical processing plants, wastewater treatment plants and manufacturing operations may have wireless communications systems that require relatively lower bandwidth communications.

 

This is because simpler tasks such as opening a valve or taking pressure and temperature readings from a tank require less bandwidth.

 

In this case, the 400 MHz and 900 MHz frequency bands are often used. When compared to 2.4 GHz and even 5.8 GHZ frequencies, the 900 MHZ ISM frequency band also supports longer, more reliable distance reach and penetration of obstructions (such as trees and leaves) when faced with Near Line of Sight (nLOS) and Non Line of Sight (NLOS) conditions. This is advantageous when connecting long distance, remote monitoring or process facilities is required.

 

Below are examples of 400 MHz and 900 MHz products that one might use in an industrial setting: 

 

 

400 MHz Antennas            900 MHz Antennas         900 MHz Amplifiers            900 MHz Splitters/Filters

 

 

400 MHz Antennas

900 MHz Antennas

900 MHz Amplifiers

900 MHz Splitters/Filters

 

In addition to the products we’ve already mentioned for use within industrial networks, L-com also carries lightning and surge protectors, low loss coaxial and category rated cabling, weatherproof NEMA enclosures and more to address industrial networking applications.


Did you find this tip helpful? Let us know in the comment section below. 


The Ultimate List of Fiber Cable Connectors and Colors

June 5, 2014 at 10:00 AM

 

You can practically see the rainbow when you look at our fiber cable offering on our website or in our catalog. 

 

In the world of fiber optics, there’s a standard color scheme to identify each and every type of fiber cable.  

 

And then there are all of those connectors to choose from… ST, SC, LC, MTRJ…

 

Though you may have heard of them, it can be challenging to identify the difference between each type of connector. 

 

We’re here to break it down. In the following tutorial, we’ll highlight some of the most common colors and connector types that you should be aware of. 

 

If you’re going to deploy a new network system using fiber or would like to better organize your existing fiber cables, you’ll want to stick around.

 


COLORS

 

So what do they all mean?

 

Traditionally, the following jacket colors have been used to define Single mode and Multimode fiber cables:

 

Yellow

9/125 Single mode

 

Orange

50/125 Multimode

 

Aqua

50/125 
(10 Gigabit Optimized)

 

Slate (Gray)

62.5/125 Multimode

 

 
 
 
 

Over time, the use of fiber has expanded in many applications and the need for different jacket colors has become a requirement for some customers. In today’s telecommunications networks you might also see different jacket colors used to denote different services or devices.

 

For example, if you have already allocated your traditional orange 50/125 cables to all of your high speed server connections, you can now add blue 50/125 fiber cables to denote WAN router connections.

 

By using colors to identify services/devices, troubleshooting is made easier, thereby decreasing network downtime. 

 

L-com has also developed a line of red, blue, green and yellow jacketed fiber cables which make port and service locations easier to find in dense equipment racks. 

 
 
 

       

 

 



CONNECTORS

 

In addition to the range of cable jacket colors, you can choose from an extensive variety of Fiber Optic connector types

 

The most common connector types you’ll see are: LC, SC, MPO and ST style connectors.

 

All of these types of connectors can be used with either Multimode of Single-mode fiber.

 

There are three types of polishes which can be applied to a fiber connector: PC or Physical contact, UPC or Ultra Physical contact and APC or Angled Physical contact.

 

Each polish type exhibits a different level of back reflection. Back reflection is a measure of the light reflected off the end of a fiber connector. This light is measured in decibels. For certain applications, the amount of back reflection on a fiber connector is critical.

 

L-com’s fiber connectors include commercial grade field installable fiber optic connectors as well as rugged IP67 fiber connectors for use in harsh environment applications.

 

In addition to our fiber connector video, check out one of the most popular technical resources we have- our Fiber Optic Connector Chart- that can help you find the fiber connector you’re looking for.

 


WAIT, THERE’S MORE…

 

In addition to standard commercial and industrial connectors, there are also Keyed LC Singlemode 9/125 assemblies which have a variety of COLORED CONNECTORS.

 

L-com's Keyed LC line of Fiber Optic Cable Assemblies offers mechanical network security for organizations desiring to segregate networks due to privacy or security concerns. Each Keyed LC connector is color coded for identification and features a mechanical key which prevents users from accidentally connecting the cable to the wrong jack. 

 

There are a total of 12 colors available including: Brown, Cobalt, Gray, Magenta, Olive, Orange, Pink, Red, Turquoise, Violet, White and Yellow. These cables are OFNR rated to meet strict building codes and utilize Single mode 9/125 fiber. Match the color of the Keyed connector to the corresponding color of Keyed coupler to create a secure network connection. 

 

Do your eyes hurt yet?

 

Which NEMA Enclosure is best for your application?

May 29, 2014 at 10:00 AM


Let’s help you decide. We can figure this out together, I’m sure of it.

 

First we will talk about why you might want an enclosure, or for those of you who don’t know yet- what they are used for.

 

When deploying a wired or wireless network, it’s common to use expensive components like switches, routers, access points, and PLC's. These devices are critical to the operation of the network and can cost thousands of dollars.

 

When these devices are located outside or in an industrial setting such as a factory or processing plant, they become susceptible to damage from the elements, chemicals and physical contact.

 

The best way to protect your valuable communications equipment from this contact is with an enclosure. An enclosure is like Iron Man’s suit; the outer shielding protects the valuable inner-goods.

 

Who would Iron Man be without his suit anyways?

 

A common term that you’ll see used with enclosures is “industrial.” This is because most enclosures are built to be weatherproof, rugged, and often sport features such as heaters, cooling fans and more. They are designed for indoor and outdoor use, hot and cold temperature environments, as well as where equipment and critical systems need power, environmental protection, and security for the network to function.

 

NEMA (National Electrical Manufacturers Association) and the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) are two standard groups, and each has their own ratings based on resistance to dust, moisture, water immersion, and ice. Equipment enclosures typically use one of these rating systems to define how much abuse a particular enclosure can take.

 

You can find enclosures at use in places like:

 

Industrial data and control systems in factories and manufacturing plants, Municipal/State/Federal wired and remote sensor applications, secure WLAN network installations and more.

 

Some enclosures can even be used in extremely harsh environments such as mines, hydraulic or pneumatic control installations, and petrochemical refineries. They are made to endure all manner of abuse and keep the sensitive electronics inside safe.

 

As you will see, there are many varieties of enclosures with endless features. For the purpose of this tutorial we are going to walk through three categories: Non-powered, Powered, and Heated & Cooled.

 

 

Non-Powered

 

These enclosures are perfect for housing both wired and wireless communications equipment that do not require power. L-com’s non-powered weatherproof enclosures feature either a fully-removable gasketed lid with a stainless steel continuous hinge or a continuous gasketed lid secured by four non-metallic molded screws that ensure optimal integrity.

 

Our non-powered enclosures are also available in a variety of materials including Molded Fiberglass Reinforced Polyester (FRP) and VALOX 357U thermoplastic material.

 

 

Powered

 

Depending on the type of devices you are protecting in an enclosure, you may require a power source. Some of our enclosures have built in power outlets for a variety of interfaces, including 12V DC120V AC, 240V AC, and POE.

 

In addition to sharing some of the many features the non powered enclosures have, some of our powered interfaces include built in lightning protection. This helps add an extra level of security for the equipment installed in the enclosure.

 

 

Heating & Cooling

 

Weather your application requires power or not, there’s another piece of the puzzle to keep in mind. Will your equipment be exposed to cold temperatures, extreme heat, or moisture?

 

If your equipment will be experiencing any of these conditions, there are options for cooled, vented, and heated enclosures.

 

For example, L-com carries a sub-zero 48 VDC PoE-powered weatherproof enclosure, which is perfect for heating critical equipment in sub-zero temperatures. This sub-zero model has a thermostat-controlled heating system that is powered by a single Cat5 cable plugged into the remote-mounted power supply. This thermostat is designed for use in sub-zero environments up to -30°F (-34°C), maintaining a nominal internal ambient temperature of +40°F (4°C). The insulation properties of fiberglass, as well as foam insulation, aid in heat retention. 

 

Here's a helpful diagram that describes where all of these features would be located:


 

 

 

If you still haven’t yet figured out what you need, ask us about customization!

 

You might be able to design exactly what your application needs. At L-com we can customize mounting plates, cut outs and more to enable any mounting configuration. As mentioned previously, we also offer variations with heating, cooling, and venting. 

 

How Secure is Your Datacenter?

May 22, 2014 at 10:00 AM

 

Let’s hope your data center isn’t this vulnerable.

 

If its security system is still in a diaper phase you could be in a lot of trouble, and most likely at risk of a security breach...

 

Why, you might ask, are we talking about babies and computers?

 

Because data centers are the nerve center of an organization. This means that security should be top priority, and your data center security should be as impenetrable as a fully grown, seven-foot bearded lumberjack.

 

And surely it’s not probable that a baby could hack into your data center, but the point is to assess who or what could interfere with the security of your data.

 

In a study done by the 2013 IBM Cyber Security Intelligence Index that encompassed 3,700 clients across 130 countries, it was estimated that the average number of cyber attacks on a single organization over the course of a week is 1,400. That’s two hundred per day!

 

The 2014 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) also examined another 50 organizations and found that a collective 63,000 “security incidents”  occurred as well as 1,367 actual data breaches.

 

One security breach that happened recently at Iowa State University left about 30,000 students exposed. And we all remember what happened at Target; it was the largest retail breach in U.S history. Yikes.

 

 

Check it once, check it twice

 

 

Next-generation data centers will require ever-evolving solutions to keep sensitive business and client information secure, and this is the reality that businesses will have to face as they grow and build upon their server infrastructure.

 

But it doesn’t have to be a huge daunting task. There are different levels of security we can all utilize in order for our datacenters to have a robust security system.

 

Here are 3 different levels of security with examples to help you prepare in securing your datacenter:

 

Physical security: locked entry-way doors with HID key access only, retina scan or fingerprint entry, locking IT closets, security cameras, motion sensors, etc.

 

Software security: firewall protection, data encryption, implementing VLANs, using IP routing and access control lists, web filtering and security, malware protection.

 

Employee security:  First assess, who should have access to what? Set permissions, clear sensitive information from desks, monitor entries and requests for important material, and check your wireless network security- do you have CPE’s (access points) in place with high levels of data encryption for transferring info wirelessly?

 

IT managers and facility operations can also schedule routine audits to help find any type of security infiltration.

 

At L-com we carry a variety of products and technologies that support security and could be helpful with your system implementation:

 

  • ·         IP cameras: These can be used in a variety of areas including data closets, server rooms, warehouses, hallways, etc.
  • ·         Fiber optic cable: Since fiber transfers data with light this makes it very hard to tap and steal data.
  • ·         Physical Layer Isolation: Isolate and protect data by placing a physical barrier between your computer or other device and the network cables that are attached to it.
  • ·         Ethernet Switches that use VLANS:  Virtual Local Area Networks (VLANs) can be used to isolated select users to specified servers, routers and other network devices limiting access to sensitive information.
  • ·         Middle Atlantic cabinets and our NEMA enclosures are lockable for rugged protection.

 

By assessing and maximizing your security systems you can find peace of mind that your critical information is secure and protected at all times, with zero threat of unauthorized access or infiltration.

 

None of us want to be hacked. We don’t want to go down in history like any of these guys (20 infamous hacker break-ins).

 

So take precaution. Review your current security systems and ask yourself, how secure is my data center?

 

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