The Advantages of Fiber Optics in Harsh Environments

December 4, 2014 at 10:00 AM


A few weeks ago we posted about ruggedized cabling and how important it is to use such cables in applications with harsher environments. As a follow up, today we’ll talk about several benefits of using fiber optic technology in harsh environment communication systems.


First of all, fiber is immune to EMI and RFI "noise" which is commonly encountered on a manufacturing floor or processing plant. This could be a huge factor when planning for a network set up.


Secondly, fiber can support very long distances before a repeater is necessary, covering thousands of kilometers either inside and/or outside of an industrial facility.


Fiber also offers higher bandwidth compared to copper cabling and can be used in voice, video and data applications. This is commonly seen with IP surveillance cameras and NVR's located throughout a facility.


Lastly, the cost of fiber continues to decline as many manufacturers (both domestic and foreign) can now produce high quality fiber cabling, connectors, and transceivers.

Amazing features and its inexpensive? We’ll take it!

So if you are considering changing over to fiber cables or are already in need of connectors, adapters and other communication components for harsh environments, look no further.


You can choose from a wide variety of L-com fiber optic cable assemblies for harsh environments that are industrial and military grade. There are multiple cable options, including Single mode and Multimode as well as special crush and impact resistant jacketed fiber cables.


In addition to cable assemblies, take a look at the couplers and adapters meant for harsh environments. The Mil ST line of connectors and couplers meet or exceed 100% of the requirements of the military specification MIL-C-83522.


These highly durable connectors and couplers are built to withstand extreme temperature change, shock, vibration and corrosion. They are ideal for military, aircraft, spacecraft, shipboard and land-based applications. An added bonus with these connectors is that they are available in either locking (ANX, ANY) or non-locking (DNX, DNY) variations and use a convenient screw boot that eliminates the need for a cumbersome boot tool.

The Ruggedized COTS ST Connectors and Couplers, which are designed to be a more economical counterpart to the MIL-C-83522 line, feature a non-optical disconnect with nickel-plated brass or stainless steel configurations.


Finally, have a look at the FOC-XPLC2-MM and FOC-XPLC2-SM Industrial LC Plugs. These plugs provide a robust fiber connection in virtually any harsh environment. In addition to offering IP66/IP67 protection, the cable to plug strain relief has been dramatically improved over standard fiber jumpers. The plug kits include duplex Single mode or Multimode LC fiber connectors, industrial plug housing, a specialized fiber bend relief boot and heavy duty strain relief crimp components.


What fiber optic networking products have you used in your harsh application? Share with us below.


How Tough is Your Cable?

November 20, 2014 at 10:00 AM


Let us give you a general reminder that says a lot in just a few words:


Not all cables are created equal.


Have you ever considered that your application or next networking project might require more than a standard cable, whether it be USB, Ethernet, HDMI or other interface?


Of course, in either scenario you want a cable that is built to last. That’s why armored cables are built to stand up to the harshest of environments.


Armored cables are commonly used in factory automation, manufacturing networks, chemical and petroleum processing networks, and in any Industrial communication or Industrial HMI and A/V application.


For example, complex chemical and oil refining facilities employ some of the most sophisticated process control systems found in any industry. Mass-scale process control delivers consistently high system output (both quantity and quality) while simultaneously minimizing labor input and safety issues.


These results can only be achieved through the deployment of complex network control systems (including ruggedized cabling) that must operate under harsh conditions. Multiple control and monitoring points must interconnect in environments that include corrosive liquids and gases, severe heat and cold, high pressure and more. 


If you take a closer look at the details of your environment, you might be surprised to find that at least one of these factors puts it into the “harsh environment” category.


L-com offers an extensive line of metal and plastic armored cable assemblies to address all types of these industrial and harsh environment connectivity applications.


Here are some common features you’ll find throughout our ruggedized cable selection:

  • Choose from either metal armor that provides 1,500 pounds per square inch crush resistance to  protect cables from damage, OR plastic tubing - that provides 800 PSI crush resistance.
  • Heavy duty metal and plastic coupling nuts ensure armored sleeves remain anchored
  • Cable shielding provides maximum protection against EMI/RFI
  • Specially jacketed cable for use in hot/cold/corrosive environments (some types)


And for a detailed layout of the “behind the scenes” of how these cables are constructed, below are some diagram tutorials. Have a look and give us a call if you have any questions!


Armored D-Subminiature Cable Assemblies



Armored USB Cable Assemblies



Armored HDMI Cable Assemblies



Armored DVI Cable Assemblies



And last but not least: Armored Ethernet Assemblies



All of L-com’s armored cable assemblies are available off the shelf for same day shipping with no minimum order quantities.


HyperLink Wireless: To Serve and Protect

November 13, 2014 at 10:00 AM



Homeland security and public safety are both dependent on highly reliable, highly secure communications networks.


Tools and procedures such as video surveillance, "on the scene" networks where police and other responders can share and transfer data, and atmospheric monitoring are crucial to safety and security operations. 


For this reason, the FCC allocated 50 MHz of spectrum from 4940 MHz to 4990 MHz (WLAN channels 20–26),called the Public Safety Spectrum, for use by public safety entities in the United States. Within this spectrum space there are two non-overlapping channels allocated, both with a width of 20 MHz


For those who don’t already know, an FCC license is REQUIRED in order to interact with the public safety spectrum.


As the FCC designated, communications within the licensed 4.9 GHz public safety band must support the protection of health, life, or property. Within these guidelines, some intended applications of the frequency include wireless local area networks (WLANs), mobile data, video security, VoIP, and more.  Multipoint and temporary (< 1 year) point-to-point links such as these are primary uses of the band.


Since the 4.9 GHz band has such limited uses, it can be difficult to find a full range of connectivity products to support high-performance and highly reliable 4.9 GHz network applications.


High quality RF amplifiers and antennas that are capable of operating on the 4.9GHz spectrum are hard to come by. 


At L-com, we guarantee that our  Hyperlink wireless products will prove reliable when serving and protecting the people.



Products such as the 2.4 GHz to 5.8 GHz 8 dBi Ultra-Wideband Log Periodic Antenna (shown above) are designed with features that address every public safety application:


·         Ultra Wide Band design

·         2.3 to 6.5 GHZ continuous coverage

·         Ideal for use with multiband access points and routers

·         Superior performance

·         Compact size, low profile and easy to mount, 9 inch coax lead included


The 3 Watt 4.9 GHz Indoor Amplifier for US Homeland Security is compatible with OFDM radios as well as radios using Direct Sequence or Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum modulation.


The HyperAmp® HA4903I series improves range and reliability by placing up to full transmit power as well as 12 dB of low-noise receive gain directly at the antenna where it is most effective. It also features an all-metal weather-proof enclosure machined from a single billet of aluminum, making it suitable for demanding commercial and military applications.


L-com’s broad offering of 4.9 GHz connectivity products enables our customers to build and operate high performance 4.9 GHz networks. L-com’s products are weather-proof, ruggedized, and designed with high-reliability features such as current-sensing circuits which provide remote amplifier diagnostic LEDs to aid in monitoring and troubleshooting. 



HDMI 2.0: Enhancing Your A/V Experience

October 30, 2014 at 10:00 AM


When you sit down to watch Sunday night football this weekend, consider this:


Next generation TV's and displays are requiring higher and higher resolution and frame rates for enhanced user experience. Every time we turn around, the view from the TV, or camera, or video screen looks better and better.


How is it that HD is so clear, it’s as if we have cleats laced on our feet, our pads crunching and crackling against the opponent’s offensive line…


Well, to address this higher resolution demand, High Definition Multimedia Interface technology from the HDMI Forum released its latest interface version, HDMI 2.0.


HDMI 2.0 uses 2160p and up to 60fps which allows for full-resolution 4K 3D, coupled with higher frame rate 2D content, to support applications such as PC based video games and home videos. These benchmarks also meet the requirements of more bandwidth for those next gen TV's.


One of the most important features of HDMI 2.0 is the increase in the size of the "conduit" between the transmitting source (such as a Blu-ray player) to the TV or display. This allows for higher frame rates at higher resolutions compared to the previous standard, HDMI 1.4.


To sum it up, the important features and advantages of HDMI 2.0 include:


-4K@50/60, (2160p), which is 4 times the clarity of 1080p/60 video resolution
-Up to 32 audio channels for a multi-dimensional immersive audio experience
-Up to 1536kHz audio sample frequency for the highest audio fidelity
-Simultaneous delivery of dual video streams to multiple users on the same screen
-Simultaneous delivery of multi-stream audio to multiple users (up to 4)
-Support for the wide angle theatrical 21:9 video aspect ratio
-Dynamic synchronization of video and audio streams
-CEC extensions provides expanded command and control of consumer electronics devices through a single control point

Another detail to consider is that HDMI 2.0 devices DO NOT require new cabling or connectors. HDMI 2.0 devices will use HDMI version 1.4 cabling and connectors.


L-com manufactures an expansive selection of HDMI 1.4/2.0 Cable assemblies. From consumer grade to armored industrial HDMI cables, we offer one of the widest off the shelf selections available anywhere. As an HDMI adopter, all of L-com's HDMI cables are tested and approved per the HDMI Forums standards.


Click here to view all of our HDMI cable assemblies!


Drones, HyperLink Antennas, Endless Possibilities

October 23, 2014 at 10:00 AM


It’s like soaring through the sky as if a bird, with an expansive set of wings cutting through the wind. Endless sight of blue horizon surrounds.


The clouds move softly as whites, grays, blues, and greens of the landscape fill the eye.


This is what First Person View (FPV) operators often experience during their flights. While their bodies remain on the ground with their stationary equipment, FPV operators get a bird’s eye view of their location using seeing goggles in order to operate their camera equipped drone. In most applications, cameras are used to make decisions with the drone. See what a good antenna and drone equipment are cable of, here.


Though FPV technology isn’t necessarily new, the use of drones is ever-increasing, and it also presents an interesting opportunity for growth in the wireless market.


We wanted to share this story as inspiration and knowledge for the endless possibilities of wireless technology, and how the new wave of drones could impact our industry. Sure, most antennas are still used for standard business or industrial networking applications, but nevertheless, there always exists new applications you may have never thought of.



J’son Johnson of Atlanta, GA, is an explorer and innovator in the FPV industry. He runs a forum for FPV newcomers and veterans alike, called FPVLAB. Back in June of 2012, Johnson conducted a 10 mile test flight that practically changed his life. Believe it or not, L-com gear was right there with him.


When Johnson set out to make a successful long flight that day in 2012, the average FPV operator was currently stuck at a maximum flying distance of 3, 4, or 6 miles. The caveat, Johnson believed, is that they were using homemade antennas. So, Johnson started looking at commercial antennas and found L-com’s products. He chose a 14dBi HyperLink antenna to support his long distance flight.


“I felt like I could have flown another 5 miles,” Johnson recounted about that first 10 mile flight. And flown he has.


To date, Johnson has covered a total of 35 miles at once-- with all L-com wireless equipment. The only reason he stopped the flight, he said, was because he was bored.


What started out as just a hobby for Johnson (he works in communications by day), has turned so successful that he now runs his own business called Aerial Images. Shooting now mostly for tourism, Johnson will get footage of a particular city and then the video or still photographs will be used for marketing material.


Johnson is continually surprised about the expansion rate of the FPV industry and the amount of calls he gets for footage. “The end is nowhere in sight. Three years ago I thought it was the peak but it’s not,” said Johnson.


Johnson uses equipment that operates in the 2.4 GHz band because he has found that the receivers/antennas for this frequency work well and are well tested.


Often in the drone community, Johnson noted, people try to use the least amount of energy with the biggest antenna on the ground (a big receiving signal on the ground allows the drone to fly a far distance). However, one doesn’t have to have a big antenna on the ground as long as it has a large receiving capability. People are shocked that his drone flies as far as it does with such a small antenna as L-com’s.


“With the regular off the shelf products like L-com’s, {the equipment} has gone from a mediocre system to a high performance system,” Johnson stated.



In fact, Johnson vows that L-com’s product actually legitimized his forum, FPVLAB. Users on the forum started asking more questions about where his flight equipment came from and were impressed by what L-com had to offer.


 “I bought 3 or 4 antennas and they have all worked the same, so I have come to trust the quality,” Johnson said about his L-com antennas. “It’s a comfort zone and my comfort zone is everything when I’m flying.”


Within that comfort zone, Johnson explained, are also other important factors for a quality antenna. If your antenna doesn’t reject out of band frequencies, you’re in trouble. There’s nothing worse than a drone operator not being able to see, because you’re making flak decisions based on what you can (or can’t) see.


“With L-com gear there really is no guesswork,” commented Johnson, “If you have any type of request or questions they’ll figure it out for you.”


Just in case a malfunction ever happened and his video went out, Johnson has an autopilot mode along with other safety features. He’s very keen on safety, and the first thing he does when preparing to fly is check his autopilot.


“L-com took my video quality from ‘maybe I can fly another mile’ to ‘I can fly another 4 miles’,” said Johnson.


As for why he likes flying so much, Johnson explained, “There’s a freedom about it that’s really weird. You’ve had a hard day at work and there’s nothing better than popping up above the clouds.” (Take a look at a great video of his view in White Sands, NM, here).


He then added, “You can go somewhere without going somewhere. You’re really not there but the world is a totally different perspective.”


Drones allow an opportunity to see what you want to see. After an equally successful and enjoyable flight covering Puerto Rico in recent months, Johnson has his eyes set on flying Peru and Mount Rushmore next.


Johnson, his drone, and his HyperLink antennas aren’t slowing down anytime soon. 


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