How We’re Launching into the Future of Fiber & Wireless Technologies

May 1, 2014 at 10:00 AM


Picture this:


You’ve consistently worked hard on keeping up with the latest technologies and standards so that you can be the best in your business.


You’re confident in your knowledge and technique.


Then you get the call that you’re in. They want you.


And you have the opportunity to present this knowledge in front of some really important people……


That’s how we feel this month!


We’re honored to announce that we’ve been given the chance to present at a technology seminar at the Kennedy Space Center.


In the wave of 21st century technology, our sights are set on all that the future holds for our industry and we couldn’t be more proud to be a part of it. On Friday, May 9, 2014, our product managers and wireless application specialists will be presenting wireless application trends and the future of fiber optic communications. For NASA!


The Facts on Fiber


Our team plans to discuss a variety of fiber optic technology trends and future applications. The first will explain and examine the increasingly relevant crossover between commercial and military grade products.


It’s a common misconception that if an organization is qualified as a “government” or “military” entity, it absolutely must use military grade fiber products. This isn’t necessarily the case. What we want to emphasize is that it’s important to analyze all characteristics and factors within the application in order to get the best product match, as well as the best use of one’s money. 


For example: a military grade cable might be applicable in a certain outdoor location where large trucks and tanks run over it. But, if each end of that cable runs into a building where it‘s protected, a commercial grade connector or cable assembly could likely be a viable option.


It’s also important for us to mention how fiber has evolved. Fiber is no longer just a delicate and expensive cable option. Not only is fiber capable of being used in a rugged application, but it is also an efficient green choice that saves energy. To put this into perspective- one single fiber cable can be run 100 kilometers without a connection break-up or even having to use additional electrical repeater equipment for support along the way.


Other fiber optic topics that we’ll discuss are port density, cable weight, and the relatively new MPO connectors. Our hands-on discussion will also focus on how advancements in RF and optical networks will help NASA achieve new design insight. 


Lastly, we plan to touch on the topic of security in relation to fiber optics. In the past it was believed that fiber cable was “un-tapable.” However, there is knowledge to prove that fiber actually can be tapped into, so it might be worth considering taking certain safety precautions for the security of the data being passed.



What about Wireless?


In addition to our focus on fiber technology, we will also hold a technical discussion about the next generation Wi-Fi standard, 802.11ac technology. 802.11ac has the ability to support up to eight MIMO spatial streams, with a lot more functionality. Check out our recent post about 802.11ac technology here.


In relation to 802.11ac, we will also discuss MIMO technology and using MIMO compliant dual polarity antennas. Our presentation will include the latest in new MIMO wireless technology that provides improved spectral efficiency along with increased link capacity and reliability.  


By utilizing multiple antennas you can increase the data throughput and range, compared to a single antenna using the same radio transmit power. Additionally, MIMO antennas improve link reliability and experience less fading than a single antenna system. By transmitting multiple data streams at the same time, wireless capacity is increased.


Overall, there's lots of exciting stuff propagating in the world of wireless and fiber optic technology.

What do you foresee in the future?

Fiber Fun Fact: Multimode Vs. Single Mode

May 1, 2014 at 10:00 AM


Have you ever considered…


What is the difference between multimode and single mode fiber cable?


This is a question our tech support and customer service teams are often asked. Depending on your job function or area of expertise you may already be “in the game,” but for the layman or tech-freshman this is good knowledge to have.


A Single mode fiber cable has a small diametric core that allows a single mode of light to propagate. The most common size is 9/125.  For example, a single mode fiber’s glass core is 9 microns in diameter.  A strand of human hair is typically about 100 microns.  Now that’s small!


On the other hand, a Multimode fiber cable has a core diameter that is much larger than the wavelength of light transmitted.  As the light passes through the core, the number of light reflections created increases, allowing for more data to pass through at a given time. Two common multimode fiber types are 50/125 and 62.5/125.


Fiber specifications list the core and cladding diameters as a ratio. Multimode fiber is commonly 62.5/125 or 50/125 micron, Single mode fiber is commonly 9/125 micron.


For another great fiber optic tip, check out this video!   


In general, a single mode system is more expensive due to the cost of the laser transceivers required to drive the system. As a result, these transceivers provide better signal strength and great reliability over long distances (up to 100km or more). Multimode is much more affordable because the larger core size simplifies connector termination and allows the use of lower-cost transceivers such as LEDs (light-emitting diodes) to drive a system. Multimode can be used in distances up to 2km, depending on the network speed and bandwidth. Single mode cable is most often used by entities such as cable TV/ISP companies for long distances, while multimode is often used for short inter-building wiring and between-building cable runs often found in campus environments. 


Also, don't confuse the two! If you are running multimode cable, you need a multimode Ethernet media converter; a Single mode converter will not work.


Here’s another tip of ours that specifies wavelength and distance limitations for Multimode, Single mode and laser optimized fiber cable.


Keeping up with Trending Technologies at the Del Mar Electronics Show

April 24, 2014 at 10:00 AM


In order to keep up with the latest trends in connectivity and technology we often place ourselves at trade shows, small and large. We want to not only provide stellar products but also grasp every opportunity to learn about the latest technologies in our engineering world.


So next week we’ll be exhibiting at the Del Mar Electronics and Design Show (DMEDS) on April 30th and May 1st. The show takes place at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in San Diego, California. L-com will be at Booth 747 displaying our latest wired and wireless connectivity products.


DMEDS is a low cost, high value design and manufacturing show for the electronics, medical and biotech industries. DMEDS focuses on IC products and services, electronic components, instrumentation equipment, fabrication products and services, engineering software and services, manufacturing products and services, contract manufacturing services and much more.


In addition to innovative new products, DMEDS also offers free industry programs and high tech presentations by leading edge companies.


Here are a few seminars that caught our eye:

·         American Manufacturing Trends: ‘Reshoring,’ Nearsourcing, and Technical Training 

·         3D Printing – Overview of Available Technologies & Commercial Applications

·         Social Media and the Supply Chain


This year it's expected that about 440 exhibitors and over 4,000 industry professionals will be in attendance. That’s a big opportunity for networking. Here’s a list of some companies that attended last year-- take a look to see if you should join in!



Why Use 802.3at PoE Technology?

April 17, 2014 at 10:00 AM


802.3at is the latest of the IEEE's Power over Ethernet (PoE) standards. Although it was released in 2009, it is still very relevant today.


Why? It offers up to 25-50 Watts of DC power to attached devices via a single Ethernet cable.


With the advent of 802.3at, a completely new class of devices could be powered directly via an Ethernet network interface. This PoE standard can be used with pan, tilt, and zoom (PTZ) IP cameras that require more power than stationary IP cameras, as well as other devices including dual radio WiFi access points, video phones, and laptops.


PoE enabled networking devices such as PoE IP Cameras, PoE Wireless Access Points and PoE IP Phones have become main stream in many networks because of the convenience of easy installation and great cost savings by not having to run AC power outlets.

Commonly referred to as PoE+ or PoE plus, 802.3at also has embedded intelligence via a newly defined data link layer (layer 2) protocol. The Link Layer Discovery Protocol (LLDP) allows the power source equipment to discover devices on the network and communicate with them to enable dynamic allocation of power levels.


PoE’s greatest benefit is that by utilizing its technology, both data and power can be sent to an Ethernet device via standard Cat5e/6 cabling. This means you do not need to install a power outlet at the device location and you can use readily available, relatively low cost Ethernet cabling.

If you’re looking to incorporate 802.3at technology into your application, here are a few products we suggest (all 802.3at compliant):




10 of the Worst Cabling Nightmares

April 10, 2014 at 10:00 AM


At L-com, we pride ourselves on the professionalism and commitment to customer service. Our goal is to deliver the best connectivity solutions possible for the organizations we serve and support.


To that extent, we’re always dismayed when we hear of an organization compromising quality. But as discovered in recent Facebook updates, some organizations take the compromise way too far when it comes to their cabling infrastructure.


We decided to take a deeper look across the web for more examples and we were surprised and often shocked at what we found. Here’s our list of the worst cabling disasters we could find online. We hope you enjoy and hope this isn’t a facility you’ve experienced in your own work environment!



Flirting with disaster



Cabling done wrong



Looks comfortable






















Our favorite “worst wiring job ever”



Do not touch any of these wires

Source: via Flickr

Imagine seeing this at your next trade show



Network cable management done wrong




Now where was that Ethernet cable really supposed to go again?




Think your home entertainment system gets messy with wires? 






And our favorite: Worst Cable Mess Ever J




Have an example we missed? We’d love to read about it via the comments below or please send us a message through Facebook or Twitter too!


© L-com, Inc. All Rights Reserved. L-com, Inc., 50 High Street, West Mill, Third Floor, Suite 30, North Andover, MA 01845