How To Amplify Wireless Signals without an FCC Operators License

May 1, 2013 at 10:00 AM


Example of a Wireless Amplifier Setup for a Laptop

Do you need a wireless amplifier but can't get one?


That's because the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Part 15 regulations dictate the use of RF power amplifiers in the United States. Individual RF power amplifiers are not offered for general sale within the United States and must be part of a wireless system previously certified by the FCC.


Customers in the US that are inquiring about purchasing individual amplifiers must first be prequalified to see if they meet certain requirements. Those who qualify are typically Federal Government agencies, Department of Defense (DOD) and FCC licensed operators. This is obviously not ideal for the typical home or commercial business user.


So how can you get one?


L-com carries FCC-certified amplifier kits. These kits are complete 2.4 GHz wireless systems that feature a wireless USB adapter, rubber duck antenna and amplifier. Since FCC ID numbers have been granted to these kits, prequalification is not required in order for them to be sold.


L-com carries three types of FCC-certified WiFi boosters: standard, economy grade, and PoE compliant. Available with amplifiers ranging from 100 mW to 1 Watt, they provide exactly the boost your signal needs.


Click here for a helpful video on how to setup a laptop WiFi booster kit:


Wireless Amplifier Video


Using Latching USB Cables for Vibration-Proof Connections

April 24, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Latching USB Cables

One of the most successful connectivity technologies is Universal Serial Bus or USB 2.0. Why? You can find it everywhere, from laptops and desktop computers to peripheral devices like printers, mice and keyboards, to consumer electronics like cell phones and camcorders. 


(Click here for a tutorial on USB technology.)


Surprisingly though, there are some fundamental problems with USB 2.0, one of which is its sensitivity to vibration.

Latching USB Drawing


USB 2.0 uses what's called a "friction fit" to remain connected, which means the friction between the connector and the jack is all that holds the connection together. As you'd find with vehicles and in military/aerospace applications, vibration can cause connectors to unexpectedly separate.


L-com has countered this problem by offering "latching" USB 2.0 cables.  The latches, which are on the sides of the connector, fit into any standard USB 2.0 female jacks.  Currently latches are only available on USB 2.0 Type A male connectors and they come standard on micro-B male connectors. L-com offers:


Quick note: Latching connectors are also available for SATA cables.
Additionally, L-com now offers USB 3.0 cables with locking thumbscrews. These cables can be used in machine vision applications or with any application where vibration is an issue.

Identifying Array Antennas

April 17, 2013 at 10:00 AM

What are they?

An antenna array is a group of two or more directional (usually panel style) antennas that are grouped together to form an Omni directional signal. Many times an RF splitter is used to connect the multiple antennas to a single access point or WiFi amplifier.


The benefit of using an antenna array over a single Omni directional antenna is that the antenna array provides radiation patterns that a single Omni antenna would not. Many times antenna arrays provide greater coverage than a single Omni antenna could.



Antenna array mounted on a pole RF splitter connected to an antenna array
Antenna array mounted on a pole RF splitter connected to an antenna array

Down tilt mounting feature
Down tilt mounting feature 


Where Would You Use Them?

Antenna arrays are used in outdoor point-to-multipoint applications. L-com's antenna arrays are available in 90° (4 panels), 120° ( 3 panels), and 180° (2 panels) configurations and include appropriate splitter and cables. Additionally, these antenna arrays feature zero to 20° down tilt capability to compensate for the geography of the installation location. This helps ensure maximum wireless signal coverage in the service area.



Antenna Array Configurations Available



Antenna Arrays with four 90° sectorial antennas Antenna Arrays with four 90° sectorial antennas
Antenna Arrays with three 120° sectorial antennas Antenna Arrays with three 120° sectorial antennas
Antenna Arrays with two 180° sectorial antennas Antenna Arrays with two 180° sectorial antennas

All sectorized omni array configurations are designed to all-weather operation. They feature both heavy-duty polymer antenna radomes and stainless steel mounting systems. 

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