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. 

 

HDBaseT: How One Cable Does it All

October 16, 2014 at 10:00 AM


This folks - is another game changing technology that’s worth a good discussion.

 

Why?

 

       It’s convenient
       It simplifies multimedia device connectivity
       It lowers overall system costs (one cable)

 

So just what is HDBaseT and what does it do?

 

HDBaseT technology uses a 5Play™ feature that encompasses full HD digital video, audio, 100BaseT Ethernet, power over cable, and various control signals through a single Cat5e or Cat6 LAN cable. This enables just one cable to replace multiple cables and connectors in a home entertainment or business environment-- thus optimizing for whole-home or whole-office distribution.

 

As Engadget stated-- until now this technology has been primarily geared towards professional installers and dedicated enthusiasts, but now focuses on user friendliness and lower cost, which could drive end user participation in whole-house media usage.

 

Unlike other HD technologies currently available, HDBaseT is the only technology that enables long-reach wired connectivity up to 100 meters for uncompressed full HD multimedia content and up to 100 watts of charging power via a single cable. Keep in mind that this does mean HDBaseT has its limits, including 100w DC maximum power, 100Mb/s Ethernet, and 10Gb/s uncompressed video.

 

All in all, HDBaseT was designed to support different types of media and controls. Within it, all HDMI 1.4 video and audio formats are supported. HDBaseT also enables and certifies RS232 and IR in addition to Ethernet. As it is still rather new and continually being tested and improved as time goes on, future generations of HDBaseT will likely include USB too. As for control functions, HDBaseT also allows vendors to send proprietary control signals when their equipment is on both ends.

 

One of the bigger conveniences of HDBaseT is that it utilizes existing Ethernet infrastructure without the need for changing connector or cabling requirements. As you can suspect, this greatly reduces installation costs and complexity. 

 

If you’re looking to incorporate this technology into your multimedia infrastructure, we manufacture plenty of products that support HDBaseT technology here at L-com. Take a look at our Cat5e and Cat6 LAN cables, adapters and couplers, and wall plates.

 

To see what a visualized home networking application layout using HDBaseT technology looks like, click here.

 

The Year of the WISP

October 9, 2014 at 10:00 AM

 

According to the Chinese calendar, 2014 is the year of the horse. This horse represents one in a 12 year cycle of animals that make up the Chinese zodiac, a tradition that is very important to Chinese culture - especially in older generations.

 

While maintaining our respect for Chinese culture, there is another tradition that was made – one that is closer to heart here in our industry.

 

2014 is considered the year of the WISP!

 

WISPs, or Wireless Internet Service Providers, are a growing facet of the wireless communications industry as wireless connectivity takes over our generation’s daily common practices. Because there’s been a lot of growth and maturity just in the past 18 months, there are many more WISPs that are growing their business faster than ever, and into new markets.

 

Luckily, this growth impacts our business too. So in celebration, we’re rounding out these last few months of the year with a bang and an exciting exhibit at the WISPApalooza 2014 conference.

 

At WISPApalooza, wireless broadband entrepreneurs and manufacturers from around the world join in on what is considered the most comprehensive conference for the broadband industry. 

 

WISPApalooza, held in Las Vegas from October 11th to October 17th, is a full week of intense training events, interactive educational sessions, and impressive exhibits. There will be 40 sessions covering marketing, technical, business and regulatory topics in addition to many other training events hosted by Ubiquiti, Cambium, Mikrotik, Freeside and more.

 

It's also considered an all-out amazing party, according to the Urban Dictionary, as the name "apalooza" suggests.  Can't forget the fun, of course!

 

L-com will have two large booths (booths 336 and 338) with a complete display of our latest MIMO technology dual polarity antennas. We will also be showcasing lightning protectors, access points, RF cable assemblies, NEMA enclosures, PoE products and - don't miss this one - L-com's ultra-rugged Ethernet cabling for outdoor usage: TRD8RGMT. This series of Ethernet cables is perfect for connecting Ethernet feeds to outdoor wireless transmission equipment. 

 

This year FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai will be the keynote speaker at the annual awards banquet. We are looking forward to hearing what he has to say since there have been many changes happening in the communications world of late.

 

Another highlight of the conference will be “Fiber Weekend” which starts off the week on Saturday and Sunday.

 

We hope to see you there for 7 exciting days of all things WISP!

 

Wireless Videos for Your WiFi Survival Kit

October 2, 2014 at 10:00 AM

So we’ve mentioned this before. But it’s worth emphasizing.

 

Every week we strive to bring you useful and free technical support resources. Hint: check out one of our most popular blog posts called Wireless Tech Tips You Can’t Live without.

 

Because whether you are designing, deploying, or upgrading a wireless network, it’s helpful to have more technical resources in addition to good ‘ole directions. Tools that we can visualize with, follow along with, and re-create are stellar.

 

This is why we also make sure to create informative video tutorials for some of our best selling products and common networking questions.

 

So without further ado, here’s a list of some of our wireless videos that are a must for every WiFi survival tool kit:

 

 

How to setup an indoor WiFi booster  

 

 



How to setup an outdoor WiFi booster


 

 

 

How to setup a laptop WiFi booster kit


 

 

 

How To Assemble and Install A HyperLink Grid Antenna 


 

 

Are there any other tutorials you’d like to see made into a video? Let us know in the comment section below!

 

How USB is Shaping the Future of Machine Vision

September 25, 2014 at 10:00 AM

 

Here at L-com we are a member of the AIA (Automated Imaging Association) trade group, the world's largest machine vision trade group. As a member we feel that it is our duty to give you some insight on how advances in USB 3.0 technology are affecting the growth of machine vision.

 

First of all-- for those who don’t already know, machine vision is defined as the methods and technology used to provide imaging-based automatic inspection and analysis.

 

Machine vision systems use cameras and image processing software to perform inspections, similar to how human inspectors on assembly lines visually inspect the quality of the products. Examples of applications where this takes place include automatic inspection, process control, and robot guidance in industry.

 

Machine vision inspection plays an important role in achieving 100% quality control in manufacturing. This reduces costs and ensures a high level of customer satisfaction. However, one of the main challenges designers face in machine vision today is market demand for HD imaging and the need for greater bandwidth based on increasing sensor resolution and frame rate.

 

Current systems are forced to compromise between image quality and compression. Higher levels of compression limit the accuracy and performance of machine vision systems.

 

But have no fear; this is where USB 3.0 comes to the rescue.

With USB 3.0, designers now have additional bandwidth at their disposal. USB 3.0 is fast -- with a 5 Gbps data rate, which is a 10x increase over USB 2.0 (480 Mbps). The increased bandwidth substantially reduces the time required for transferring large amounts of data or video.

 

As the EE Times stated it, designers can more readily increase image resolution and frame rate with greater bandwidth while still preserving image quality. Without the need for compression, designers can also reduce the amount of memory required in systems.  This translates to a lower BOM, smaller PCB, and reduced power consumption.

 

L-com offers a large variety of USB cables, and our cables are manufactured per the mechanical requirements of the USB 3.0 Vision standard. In addition to supporting the machine vision camera market, the screw mount hardware required for USB 3.0 Vision cables is beneficial in many other applications where standard USB connectors can become dislodged due to jostling, vibration, or other factors.

 

Have a look at our USB 3.0 selection here!

 

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