How To Protect Your Coax Equipment

July 10, 2014 at 10:00 AM


Coaxial lines have a wide range of uses- from video connections to wireless LANs- and are commonly used in both residential and commercial applications. Some of the advantages of coax are that it provides for ease of connection, low noise, and is easy to acquire and install.


But in just the blink of an eye, your expensive coax attached equipment or coax connected system could be hit by a powerful lightning strike that has the potential to ruin everything. 


That’s why the all-mighty engineering gurus came up with a device called a coax lightning protector


We’ve touched on this topic briefly in a previous post (Surge Protectors: Your Best Investment in Protecting Your Wireless Network) but today we will focus specifically on:


• Quarter Wave coaxial lightning and surge protectors

• Gas Discharge coaxial lightning and surge protectors

• Coax lightning protectors integrated into coax cable


 First, let’s find out- 



Why coax is vulnerable


In a coaxial cable an electrical impulse signal is transmitted along the cable length between the center conductor and the outer conductor. This makes coax an extremely effective conduit for lightning generated pulses. 


Therefore, lightning and power surges present a considerable threat to expensive electronic and networking equipment connected to coax cables.


Your options for Coaxial Lightning and Surge Protectors

Quarter Wave coaxial surge protectors are designed to pass the desired frequency while suppressing lightning surges, much like a signal filter. Lightning strike electrical surges, which operate at low frequencies, are diverted through the protector's short-circuit to the ground. 


Here at L-com, we offer HyperLink brand quarter wave suppressors. With a non-gas tube design, multi-strike capability and fast response time they are suitable for a wide range of applications. 


The lightning protector's housing also uses a ground lug, which allows for superior grounding. Both connector ports on these suppressors are equally protected, which provides equal protection no matter which way it is installed.


On the other hand, Gas Discharge coaxial protectors are a type of lightning arrestor which employs a replaceable gas discharge tube. This component actually contains a small amount of gas. The gas tube dumps extremely high amounts of surge energy directly to the ground of the protector. 


A circular brass contact inside the coaxial protector ensures the gas tube is firmly seated and provides a superior contact point for the gas tube. Most coaxial protectors are designed with only a thin pin that the gas tube sits on.


L-com’s HyperLink® coaxial lightning and surge arrestors are available for 0-3 GHz operation or 0-6 GHz operation.


Here's how it works: 




And your third option for protecting your coax connected equipment is our surge protector integrated coax cables


These protectors are high performance low loss 400-series cable assemblies that feature a N-Male connector to a N-Female Bulkhead in-line gas discharge tube lightning protector. Attached directly to the cable, the coaxial lightning protector features wide-band operation up to 5.8 GHz. This saves on insertion loss by having one less connector inline.


The cable assemblies feature L-com's CA-400 UV resistant polyethylene jacketed high performance flexible low loss coaxial cable. Attached directly to the cable is L-com's AL6-NF-14-9 5.8 GHz coaxial lightning protector. 


These assemblies also feature a replaceable gas tube element and multi-strike capability. Additionally, a ground lug and terminal is attached directly to the lightning protector housing, which provides superior grounding. 


If you’re looking for something that is not listed on the L-com website, custom lengths and connectors are also available.


Don’t hesitate- protect your valuable coax investment today!



12 Awesome Fiber Displays to Light Up Your Day

July 3, 2014 at 10:00 AM


Have you read our recent post where we found 10 of the worst cabling nightmares


Well if you didn’t have an incentive already, it was a hit on both our blog and Facebook (LIKE us if you haven’t yet!), so we decided it was time to do another photo post.


This time, we scoured the internet to find some of the coolest ways people are using fiber optic cabling.


As you might already know, L-com is a manufacturer and supplier of fiber optic cable for networking and communications applications, but there also exists a different type of “decorative” fiber. This fiber cable is mostly used for hobbies, photon-art and such. 


Some of you might work with fiber cables every day. Others, not so much. You’ll be surprised at all the eye-catching fiber optic displays out there.


We hope you enjoy, and perhaps this will spark an ingenious project or a new design for you!


Let’s start with a Fiber Optic Canopy








May the force be with you!








Ladies, put on your best dress








Capture it all with a TTL ring camera flash








Techie chandelier, anyone?








Shoot for the stars






We’re cooler than the neighbors


















Fancy fabric display






Living the dream.







Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree








And our favorite: Fiber-Optic Light Spray Set





Have another awesome fiber display example? Share it with us! 


Top 5 Posts You Can’t Miss

June 26, 2014 at 10:00 AM




It’s gone in an instant. 


One day you’re furiously scraping frost off of your windshield (or an inch of ice as we do here in New England), and the next you’re ready to hit the beach with your new killer shades. Six whole months have passed since the New Year.


Time flies, and we know it’s hard to catch all of our great tips and tutorials while you’re taking life by the reigns.


So in case you missed them, here’s a list of our top five most popular blog posts for the first half of the year.


Make sure to subscribe to Engineering Hub if you haven’t already!


 1.     Wireless Tech Tips You Can't Live Without 


For over 30 years L-com has built an extensive knowledge base of wireless tips and other valuable information to help you successfully design and implement wireless networks. Choose from downloadable white papers, videos, diagrams and more. Take a look at what we have in our library!

 2.     8 Reasons Why a 3D Printer Can Make Your Job Easier

If your work world is composed of complex processes that dictate the design and testing of product models, there’s finally a way to cut out some element of surprise. A 3D printer might just be what you need. 

1  3.     How to Utilize an RF Splitter


True or False: Will an RF splitter help connect more than one antenna to a single radio? 
The answer is true. Read on to find out why…
If slow WiFi has you feeling down, 802.11ac is worth looking into. Amidst the bustling and overpopulated race to find better, faster WiFi, there now exists a new wireless standard that will help you get there. You may even come in first place. 
At L-com, our goal is to deliver the best connectivity solutions possible for the customers we serve and support. To that extent, we’re always dismayed when we hear of an organization compromising quality. We decided to take a deeper look across the web for more examples of poor cabling infrastructure and were surprised and often shocked at what we found. 

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. 

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