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


 Source: http://www.fiberopticlighting.com/view-project.php?project=crocodillos-bar






May the force be with you!


Source: http://www.antsonamelon.com/smartlist_43/light-sabers/light-sabers






Ladies, put on your best dress


Source: http://www.instructables.com/id/Fiber-Optic-Dress/






Capture it all with a TTL ring camera flash


Source:  http://www.dyxum.com/dforum/diy-fiber-optic-ttl-ring-flash_topic46637.html






Techie chandelier, anyone?


Source: http://trinorthlighting.com/Store/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=1207&gclid=






Shoot for the stars


Source: http://www.fiberopticstech.com/products/StarryNight.php




We’re cooler than the neighbors


Source: http://www.homelightingmuse.com/starry-night-fiber-optic-patio/499









Source: http://www.visionaryinstruments.com/products/custom-guitars/







Fancy fabric display


Source: http://www.archello.com/en/product/luminous-fiber-optics-fabric#




Living the dream.


Source: http://www.dudeiwantthat.com/household/decor/





Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree

Source: http://fantasychristmaslights.ie/christmas-trees-ireland/







And our favorite: Fiber-Optic Light Spray Set


Source: http://www.snoezeleninfo.com/lightSprayFiber.asp



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. 

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.




So what do they all mean?


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



9/125 Single mode



50/125 Multimode



(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. 







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.




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?


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