802.11ac: What’s all the buzz about?

March 13, 2014 at 10:00 AM


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.


The latest IEEE standard for wireless networking, 802.11ac, is bringing high speed gigabit wireless connectivity to business, home, and government communications systems everywhere. 802.11ac offers up to 1 Gbps wireless transmissions and the ability to support up to eight MIMO spatial streams as well as 80 MHz channel bandwidth. This new advancement in wireless technology promises flawless voice, video, and data transmission to multiple end users at the same time.


If slow WiFi has you feeling down, 802.11ac is worth looking into.


802.11ac delivers faster throughput and better range than the previous 802.11n standard. 802.11n can deliver up to 600 Mbps with four spatial streams using one 40 MHz-wide channel. 802.11ac is engineered to deliver up to 1Gbps which translates to higher data rates and happier end users.


The new amendment’s ultimate intention is to achieve higher multi-user throughput in wireless local area networks (WLANs) and improve WLAN user experience especially for bandwidth intensive applications such as streaming voice and video.

Here at L-com, we continue to support the latest standardized technologies by offering high quality, high performance products, including those for 802.11ac applications.


Our series of 802.11ac indoor and outdoor WiFi antennas feature 2.4-5.8 GHz operation for a variety of applications. L-com currently offers 802.11ac ceiling antennas, panel antennas, rubber duck antennas, and Omni antennas.


DJ Drops Mad Beats But Not His USB Connection

March 6, 2014 at 10:00 AM

A Testimonial from the Nerdy DJ (DJ Forge)



A USB dropout.


The mixer isn’t communicating with the software and silence starts to creep in as people halt to a standstill on the dance floor. Alternative sound must recover or else dead air lingers until the equipment is either trouble-shot or rebooted.


This is a DJ’s worst nightmare. Everything counts when you’re mixing in a club or at a large show. A lag or halt in the music is a death knell.


That’s why Jordan Chavis, better known as DJ Forge of North Carolina, must rely on fail proof equipment (including high performance cables) to run his shows. According to Chavis, anything you can do to avoid that dropout scenario is a win. Having the right USB cable is just a small but important part of his set-up.


So, Chavis turned to L-com’s Right Angled USB Cable to run his DJ mixer. “You can tell the difference between a high quality cable and cheap cable,” Chavis said, “And this one has been really reliable.”


Chavis discovered L-com’s Right Angled USB Cable when he was faced with an unusual USB port placement on a trial piece of equipment. On his blog called The Nerdy DJ (for working DJs, by working DJs) Chavis and his friends did a comparison of two mixers and wrote about it in Rane Sixty-Two vs. Pioneer DJM-900SRT. Since the USB port was on top of the Pioneer DJM-900SRT mixer instead of in the back where it normally is, he decided that he needed a cable which would be secure yet flexible.


Armed with his Right Angled USB cable, Chavis is confident he can run his shows without skipping a beat.


“This cable is something that my DJ friends and colleagues and I will recommend to use for all types of DJ mixers or DJ controllers,” said Chavis, “Because even if the port is in the back, it’s convenient to have the right angle for connection security and it get’s the cable out of the way.”


In addition to providing equipment reviews like the Rane vs. Pioneer demo, Chavis’s website is a community for DJs to turn to for career advice, how-to’s, maintenance tips, and more. Chavis aspires for Nerdy DJ to be a place where DJs are collaborating and a site that every DJ wants to check when he or she wakes up in the morning. Alongside playing weekly shows and serving as the official UNC DJ, Chavis has focused his time working hard on Nerdy DJ since last October so that it can be a hot spot for new and old DJs alike.


Chavis has opened for some of the biggest names in hip-hop including Jay-Z, Young Jeezy, Fabulous, Clipse, KRS-One, Ghostface, Method Man, and more. He discovered his love for DJing back in college as a computer science major, when a roommate brought back a turn table to their place.


“I got nerdy about DJing instead of nerdy about coding,” said Chavis.


In the upcoming weeks you can find DJ Forge at events in some of his favorite spots in NC. Chavis said he is also starting to throw hip-hop shows once a month and hopes to narrow his focus on growing in his career, as well as travelling more. Keep a lookout for him in Tokyo or elsewhere in Japan in the near future!


Photo by Jordan Chavis

Use L-com's Online Wireless Calculators for Site Planning

February 27, 2014 at 10:00 AM


Are you doing an installation, looking to understand a particular network conversion, or trying to determine what equipment to use for your wireless network?


Give our wireless calculators a try! L-com can help you plan your wireless network installations. These handy tools provide detailed information such as Power Budget, Free Space Loss, Fresnel Zone and more. By using these free tools you can better understand the equipment required to accomplish your wireless link.


Here are some examples of Wireless Calculators:


Power Budget Wireless Calculator


Use this wireless calculator to determine your Power Budget. The 'Power Budget' is the total power being output from the wireless system, or the total system gain. The FCC regulates 36 dBm as the maximum output for 2.4 GHz ISM band applications, so use this calculator to make sure you aren’t exceeding the legal limit and to determine the right antenna and radio to use for your application.


The total power is the sum of:

  • PLUS Radio Transmit Power 
  • MINUS cables and connectors losses 
  • PLUS antenna gain 


Note that in order to enter your amount of cable loss you’ll need to know what type of cable you are using.





Free Space Loss Wireless Calculator

Free Space Loss is the loss of power over distance (assuming there’s noFresnel Effect and nothing is in the way). In practice, everything interferes with the signal but this will give you a reasonable approximation of the signal loss over distance.





Fresnel Zones Wireless Calculator

This calculator defines how much clearance you need (you will require more than simple Line-of-Sight). For longer links > 3 Km (2 miles), you can determine whether you may have a ground clearance problem.




View all of our Wireless Calculator Tools


One thing to note however is that due to the nature of radio frequency propagation and the numerous factors that can affect operating range, we do not guarantee that you will achieve any specific range for your application. These wireless calculators are for estimation purposes only.



BICSI: What You Can Discover

February 20, 2014 at 10:00 AM

In the trenches with L-com’s David Gallagher 



Perhaps you’ve already attended a BICSI conference and you’re not sure if this post is for you. Hang in there. We’ll share some ideas that may shed new light on your BICSI experience.


For those who haven’t yet gone to BICSI, you may be unsure of its worth or are simply curious about what goes on. We interviewed L-com Product Manager, David Gallagher, to give you some insights on what he observed at the show.


Gallagher attended this year’s 2014 BICSI Winter Conference and has attended several in the past. It’s no secret that going to the show gives him or any other Product Manager a first look at what’s trending in the new year or what the “hot technology” on the street is. This year though, Gallagher noticed a shift in the climate. “The dynamic of the show seems to have changed. There’s a bigger focus on Fiber Optics and Facility Security,” said Gallagher.


According to Gallagher, the hottest topics in Fiber Optics at the show were data center port density, cable management, LC connectors, and cabling.  Gallagher also noticed a huge focus on security camera installs. “The number of security integrators and equipment providers at the show was surprising,” said Gallagher.


“Companies are also a lot more interested in installing security monitoring systems now because of recent issues,” Gallagher continued.


Finding these trends buzzing at the show helped Gallagher (and hopefully you too) to hone in on what new products and technologies are at the forefront of the Information Technology Systems space and how L-com’s products could be best utilized for these hot applications.


Another advantage Gallagher highlighted about not missing BICSI is the opportunity a Product Manager has to learn a new perspective about their product. Yes, most Product Managers know their product inside and out and could list off features and benefits in their sleep. But, there’s always a “fresh look” that could be waiting behind the next door. Or at the next trade show.


One attendee claimed “This looks like it’s pretty tough!” referring to our IP68 and UL rated Industrial Ruggedized Ethernet Cable. Sure, yes, it’s virtually unbreakable. Gallagher knew this wasn’t any news.


But what he found is that as he observed BICSI goers conversing and getting excited over our Ruggedized Ethernet Cable, it made him stop and think about what kinds of tools he actually could break the cable with.


This was something he hadn’t considered before, and put the product’s features in another light. As Gallagher did, you might discover a new way your product is viewed by potential customers or what feature strikes them the most (therefore giving you a hint on what you should play up in your marketing campaigns).


“It is always great to interact directly with customers and learn what issues they see in the field.  This helps us find new and better product designs based on their extensive experience,” said Gallagher.


Another opportunity at BICSI that Gallagher was pleased about was the ability to build relationships. BICSI brings together a wide variety of professionals in the Information Technology Systems field, all in the hub of Orlando where there’s much attraction. Whether they were clients, vendors, or future customers, it was advantageous to be in the mix. BICSI offered another opportunity to meet and greet some clients whom Gallagher had never met, and as a Product Manager with thousands of customers it’s common to have missed some.


Additionally, at BICSI there’s a chance to rework or fine tune your marketing strategies. By managing the booth as Gallagher did or observing the reactions at other booths, you’re able to see what works and what doesn’t. For instance, are people drawn to the display case or to your catalog?


For L-com, Gallagher noticed the usefulness of product samples. “People want to see and feel the product in their hands. Have the ability to test it, bend it, and look at it closely,” said Gallagher. “Especially if they’re a potential buy, but also to compare quality and competition.”


Lastly, don’t forget about social media. According to Gallagher,  techies and engineers do participate.


“I didn’t expect Twitter to play a part in the show,” said Gallagher.  “Someone actually walked up to our booth and asked if we were the culprit who sent a Twitter invitation to visit.”


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

February 13, 2014 at 10:00 AM

You’ve put all your brain power and muscle into this design.


Each specification and measurement has been plotted with precision and then double checked again. You’ve even made the proper re-adjustments.

So you send your specifications out for production.

But then your client informs you that the design needs tweaking. It won’t work unless their request is facilitated. Without delay, but maybe a bit of frustration, you adjust again and then the tooling process begins…



Here’s an alternative

A 3D printer might just be what you need.

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.

The 3D printer has erupted as one of the hottest new technologies generating a buzz of discussion on its endless possibilities. Home-users could make toy trucks and dolls for next year’s Christmas gifts. Or even turn on their printer that’s housed in the kitchen to make “homemade” raviolis. A Chocolatier is able to use their 3D printer to craft the next batch of chocolates. A medical lab can test a prosthetic leg with nothing more than a customized design and a click of the PRINT button.

It doesn’t stop here.

Our engineer’s here at L-com have discovered that this manageably sized machine allows them to see the results of their designs within a matter of hours. It can crank out product after product in a short amount of time. They are able to try out various shapes and sizes before going to market, as they did with an L-com field termination cover that will be going to production soon (shown above).


"Our 3D printer allows us to have almost instant feedback without spending the money or time on tooling, which can cost over $2,000 and take over three months to build,” said David Frisello, Design Engineer at L-com. “It takes the guesswork out of our job. And it's like a toy."


3D printers work by adding layer upon layer of plastic (or other required material) through holes in a printer head to compose a solid three dimensional prototype from a digital model. This tool let’s engineers turn an idea or a sketch into an object that can be turned over in your hands and passed to co-workers to prove the idea works.


As if these printers aren’t already cool enough, our engineers toyed with the 3D printer to find that it can actually manufacture one solid model that turns into two movable pieces (shown at left). Since each prototype is made in a foundation of a chemical material, this one was peeled away to reveal the two “keys” that are looped together.




The Weigh In

We’ve discussed what the 3D printer can do. So how will it help you?

Here’s the list of reasons we think the 3D printer is worth its weight in gold for an engineer’s job:

1.  It provides almost instant feedback on a design, as it takes only about 2 hours or less to print a functioning prototype.

2. It saves time. The 3D printer cuts down the process of getting a product to market by eliminating steps along the way (i.e. sending out for tooling).

3. When printing your product first on a 3D printer, it eliminates guesswork. You’re able to test out a prototype’s functionality- see, feel, and even smell or taste what the final product will be like. If that’s your thing, we won’t be tasting any connectors or termination covers over here.

4. It’s precise. You can be sure that the specifications imputed into the 3D printer will come out exactly the way you directed (unless the printer malfunctions, of course). In our experience, it will provide nothing but accuracy.

5. Communication is easier since a customer or colleague can physically see how the product will turn out. Dan Desjardin, Mechanical Engineer at L-com noted that “many times it’s easier to communicate with 3D models to convey something as opposed to strictly words or 2-D drawings. It helps to overcome any language barrier and reduce confusion between both parties.”

6. Cost. The printer will pay for itself if the tooling process for your products is costly like ours. It can cost anywhere from $600 to $3,000 for one tool (depending on intricacy of the product), which would need to be remade a second time if the measurements needed adjusting. If with every product release the testing is accomplished by only using 3D prototypes until the final tool is made, then the long term effect is cost saving.

7. Efficiency. We’ve found 3D printing to be clean and non wasteful. We never encounter drips or sprays of material around the prototype or see excess material being lost. Plus, it’s easy to use. Once the product design is programmed it’s a hands free process. Hit print, walk away, and return to find your glory.

8. Customers will be pleased that you/your company are using the newest, cutting edge technology for your products and services. You’re keeping up with the times. Everyone knows a happy customer equals a successful business.


Here are a few more prototypes that our 3D printer has created (white material only):





Visit our Facebook page to see how a giant 3D printer can build a house in 24 hours!


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