Video Blog - How to Assemble a Grid Antenna

March 30, 2017 at 8:00 AM

 

High-performance grid antennas are perfect for point-to-point, point-to-multi-point and wireless bridge applications. L-com’s 2.4 GHz grid antennas can be used in 802.11b/g/n WLANs and feature a rugged design for long-term outdoor operation. Our 5.8 GHz grid antennas are ideal for long-range, highly directional 5.8 GHz ISM and UNII-band operations.

 

If a grid antenna sounds like something you need in your application  but you’re not sure how assemble one, we’re here to help with that too.  In six simple steps, we’ll have you from parts on the floor to high-gain antenna in the sky.

 

The process is easy, but first you should follow some safety precautions to make sure that no one will fall while working from heights, and that nothing will come in contact with power lines. All towers and masts must be securely grounded and lightning arrestors should be used on all coax cable connections.

 

Next, make sure you have all of the parts needed:

 

  • ·       Antenna feedhorn assembly
  • ·       Stainless steel U-bolts with nuts and washers
  • ·       Mast clamps
  • ·       Aluminum “L” bracket
  • ·       Machine screws with nuts and washers
  • ·       Antenna reflector grid section halves


Now, watch our video. In less than 4 ½ minutes, we’ll have you connected and ready to go.

 

 

For more tips and how-to videos, click here.

 

 

Cable Showdown: Cat6 vs. Cat6a

March 23, 2017 at 8:00 AM

 

 

Cat6 and Cat6a may be two of the most popular standards for Ethernet cables, but how do you decide between them?  Depending on your application, one may work better than the other. To help you decide, we thought we’d stack them up side-by-side for a showdown.

 

  

 

Both Cat6 and Cat6a offer speed, flexibility and cost savings. They can both be used for PoE applications and are ideal for transmitting voice, video and data, though Cat6a is able to move larger volumes of data. Cat6 cables are great for connecting access points and other devices including media converters, switches and wireless controllers that are typically running at 1Gbps speeds. Cat6a cables are typically used in data centers and storage area networks (SAN) that require 10Gbps connectivity or more through trunked 10Gbps connections.

 

The cost difference between the two is minimal. The main difference is that Cat6a is able to transmit at 10 Gbps supporting 10GBASE-T over longer distances than Cat6 cables. Cat6a also builds upon Cat6’s capability to protect against alien crosstalk, which improves performance. Though if a shielded cable isn’t necessary and a lighter option would work best, unshielded Cat6 has the advantage. As always, the requirements of your application will dictate which cable to use.

 

All about Antenna Polarity

March 16, 2017 at 8:00 AM

 

Whether you’re installing one antenna or an entire tower-full of them, antenna polarization is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle to consider, yet it is also one of the least understood properties of wireless communication.

 

Most antennas are typically mounted horizontally or vertically and the way they are mounted determines their polarization. For the best network performance, antennas used in point-to-point wireless applications should have the same polarization as each other. A wireless links can be established with antennas of different polarity, but usually it compromises the network performance and connectivity.

 

Though there are some cases where using antennas with different polarization is beneficial in reducing interference. For example, if you’re mounting several antennas on a tower, your best plan is to stagger vertically and horizontally polarized antennas to decrease interference.

 

Some wireless applications won’t work with horizontal or vertical polarization. In these cases, there are other polarization schemes to explore including: dual-polarized, cross-polarized and circular-polarized antennas.

 

The diagram below outlines the different antenna polarity types.

All Contacts are Not Created Equal

March 9, 2017 at 8:00 AM

 

Certain contacts work best on certain types of cable. Here, we’ll take a look at how to determine which type of contact is best for your application.

 

First, you need to determine which type of cable you’re using – solid or stranded. All cables will fall into these two categories no matter if they’re Cat5e, Cat 6 or otherwise. 

 

A solid cable’s conductors are made of solid metal, usually copper, making the cable more rigid.  Solid cables are typically used as infrastructure cabling in walls, ceilings and conduit where flexibility isn’t necessary since the cable is put into place and left alone. They are also cheaper, transmit better over long distances (lower attenuation than stranded cable), but they are more likely to break if bent repeatedly.

 

Stranded cables are much more flexible because the conductors are made of thin metal wires that are twisted together to create a larger, thicker conductor. These cables are frequently used as patch cords and shorter network cable runs that need extra flexibility for bending.  Stranded cables are typically more expensive than solid cables, but they work well for shorter distances and can stand-up to repetitive bending without breaking.

 

Now that you’re clear on solid versus stranded cables, we can take a look at the types of contacts that are available for RJ45 plugs that are used on Ethernet cables.

 

Each contact is designed for a specific cable type and not all plugs will work on all cables. 

 

The diagram below outlines that main contact designs that are available. Some contacts can be used on both solid and stranded cable. Always check the manufacturer’s datasheet to determine if the plug/contact can be used with your cable type.

 

802.11ax - The Next Big Thing

March 2, 2017 at 8:00 AM

 

The IEEE is at it again. Its long-running 802.11 series of standards will be reincarnated yet again with the launch of 802.11ax.  This next big upgrade to Wi-Fi networks might not make its debut for a couple of years, but here’s a look at what is coming.

 

802.11ax is under development and will pick-up where 802.11ac left off by taking MIMO to the next level with MIMO-OFDM. MIMO-OFDM (orthogonal frequency division multiplexing) technology will be capable of subdividing signals even further which ultimately creates a bigger "pipe" to deliver larger volumes of data. This will significantly expand and increase throughput to deliver five times more capability than the gigabit speeds promised by 802.11ac. Lab-based trials of 802.11ax have even hit max speeds of 10.53Gbps, or around 1.4 gigabytes of data transfer per second.

 

As impressive as those speeds sound, 802.11ax is not just focused on being fast; its real focus is high-density Wi-Fi deployments. This means that the goal is not only to improve speed, but to enhance the ability of connections to remain active even when there is heavy interference. This will make the system more efficient with the sophistication to successfully route pieces of messages to their destination. 802.11ax will operate in the 5GHz band, where there is plenty of space for 80MHz and 160MHz channels.

 

Before you get too excited, implementing a new standard is a time-consuming and rigorous process, so we won’t likely see 802.11ax ratified until closer to 2019. Then it will take even more time before certified hardware hits the market.

 

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