Case Study: HBM SoMat

March 8, 2018 at 8:00 AM

 

For more than 65 years, our customer HBM has provided precise and reliable products for a variety of test and measurement applications across a wide range of industries. HBM’s SoMat product line is an innovative portfoloio of precision data acquisition systems for field and lab analysis. Across industries including aerospace, automotive, oil and gas and everything in between, SoMat products  have helped companies by delivering rugged and modular data acquisition systems able to perform a range of on-board data processing while enduring harsh environments.

 

This issue HBM was having was finding a durable, custom interface cable solution at a competitive price for its SoMat product line. Their current cable did not provide the strain relief that was required by its customers. SoMat products used cables that had assembled backshells and because of the non-uniform shape of the cable bundle, the cables were pulling out of the backshell. This flaw was costing the company in product returns and repairs, and leaving customers unhappy.

 

L-com provided HBM with several custom engineered D-subminiature cable assemblies with molded backshells (similar to the one shown here) that were able to replace the existing assemblies. L-com’s cables solved the strain relief problem and reduced overall system cost without compromising design requirements, which fully met HBM’s customers’ requirements.

 

To read the full case study, click here.

 

The Full Spectrum of Wireless Communications Protocols and Standards

March 1, 2018 at 8:00 AM

 

The IoT is the driving force behind most wireless technology today. Everything including cars, smart homes, businesses and cities will be connected by the IoT. Plus, an estimated 300 million smartphones are slated to have artificial neural network (ANN) learning capabilities that would enable functions such as navigation, speech recognition and augmented reality.

 

With all the wireless technology rolling out and market demand for wireless communications applications continuing to grow, the development of different wireless technologies is also exploding to meet that demand. In fact, there are so many new technologies emerging that some directly compete with one another and frequencies overlap.

 

Many protocols are in accordance with IEEE 802.11 standards. The IEEE 802 LAN/MAN Standards Committee (LMSC) develops the most widely known wired and wireless standards, which encompasses local and metropolitan area networks. The fundamental IEEE standard of 802.11.n had of a minimum of 31 amendments through 2016, with more in the process. These cover everything from Ethernet, wireless LAN, virtual LAN, wireless hot spots, bridging and more.

 

Other IEEE standards include:

 

-    IEEE 802.15.4 for Simplified Personal Wireless and Industrial Short-Range Links

-    IEEE 802.15 Wireless PAN

-    IEEE 802.16 Broadband Wireless (WiMAX)

-    IEEE 802.22 for Wireless Regional Area Network (WRAN), with base station range to 60 miles

-    IEEE 802.23 for Emergency Service Communications

 

802.11 wireless technology began when the FCC released the industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) radio bands for unlicensed use. The ISM bands were then established in 1974 by the International telecommunication Union (ITU).

 

These are the frequency allocations as determined by the ITU:

 

Min. Freq.

Max. Freq

Type

Availability

Licensed Users

6.765 MHz

6.795 MHz

A

Local Acceptance

Fixed & Mobile Service

13.553 MHz

13.567 MHz

B

Worldwide

Fixed & Mobile Service except Aeronautical

26.957 MHz

27.283 MHz

B

Worldwide

Fixed & Mobile Service except Aeronautical & CB

40.66 MHz

40.7 MHz

B

Worldwide

Fixed, Mobile & Earth Exploration/Satellite Service

433.05 MHz

434.79 MHz

A

Europe

Amateur & Radiolocation Service

902 MHz

928 MHz B

B

Americas

Fixed, Mobile & Radiolocation Service

2.4 GHz

2.5 GHz

B

Worldwide

Fixed, Mobile, Radiolocation, Amateur & Amateur Satellite Service

5.725 GHz

5.875 GHz

B

Worldwide

Fixed-Satellite, Radiolocation, Mobile, Amateur & Amateur Satellite Service

24 GHz

24.25 GHz

B

Worldwide

Amateur, Amateur Satellite, Radiolocation & Earth Exploration Satellite

61 GHz

61.5 GHz

A

Local Acceptance

Fixed, Inter-satellite, Mobile & Radiolocation

122 GHz

123 GHz

A

Local Acceptance

Earth Exploration Satellite, Inter-Satellite, Space Research

244 GHz

246 GHz

A

Local Acceptance

Radiolocation, Radio Astronomy, Amateur & Satellite Service

 

In addition to IEEE standards, other technologies have broken away from IEEE and made the move to special trade organizations and even changed their names. Plus, there is a slew of short range communications standards vying for dominance, including ANT+, Bluetooth, FirstNet and ZigBee. No matter what your wireless communication application is, rest assured that there are plenty of standards and protocols to refer to when designing your wireless network.

 

The IIoT and Manufacturing

February 22, 2018 at 8:00 AM

 

The Internet of Things (IoT) is revolutionizing many industries, including manufacturing. With the introduction of the Industrial IoT (IIoT) and all of its benefits, manufacturing is being transformed by value-add opportunities and smart technology. In fact, manufacturing, transportation and utility industries are forecast to make the largest IIoT investments. However, there is a lot of work that goes into IIoT implementation. Here, we’ll take an in-depth look at how the IIoT is changing manufacturing.

 

Traditionally, manufacturing companies focused on large operations that required a large capital layout with the goal of consistency and repeatability. Organizations adopting IIoT technology must not only dedicate capital to technological improvements, but also change the way they do business. Return on investment is driven by connected operations, smart preventative maintenance and predictive analytics. As IIoT implementation accelerates the speed of business, companies must increase the speed of their internal processes to keep up the pace. Introduction of the IIoT has also shifted customer expectations. Customers expect companies to be nimble and adaptive, and so the manufacturing processes must evolve to meet those expectations.

 

With all of the changes that come along with the IIoT, completing a successful rollout is a challenging task. Security is an issue to consider, if your systems are breached, production can come to a halt. Another challenge is the slow adoption of standards and interoperability. It can be expensive to upgrade your equipment. Also, many manufacturers prefer to use their own proprietary technologies, which may not meet IoT standards. Correctly interpreting the analytics to create the best outcome is a challenge, it takes time to understand how to best integrate the IIoT as a part of the manufacturing process and into your specific business model. Resistance to change also can slow the adoption of the IIoT and its overall success in the industry. For smaller operations, implementing the IIoT and everything that goes along with it, may seem like an insurmountable task. Thus, many of the companies leading the way are large, complex, industrial operations that can absorb large projects, such as an IIoT rollout. 

 

The IIoT offers an array of benefits to the manufacturing industry, but integration of this revolutionary technology is a process that doesn’t happen overnight.

 

Industry Overview: Enterprise Networks

February 15, 2018 at 8:00 AM

 

In this week’s post we will take a look at the main areas or segments of an Enterprise communications network.

 

Data Centers/Main Distribution Frame (MDF)

 

Data centers (sometimes referred to as main distribution frames) are a crucial part of many businesses and institutions. The MDF is where the connection from the Telco or carrier typically enters the building. Many times the MDF is located in the basement or first floor of a building. The MDF usually houses server racks, patch panels, Ethernet routers and switches and uninterruptable power supplies (UPS). In a multi-floor building, the MDF is usually attached to the floor(s) above it via fiber optic cabling supporting many Gigabits of throughput per second to offer voice, video and data services to hundreds of users in the building.

 

Here is an example of a typical data center configuration:

 


Intermediate Distribution Frame (IDF)

 

An Intermediate Distribution Frame (IDF) is the area where the MDF connects to on each floor of a building. Depending on the size of the building and number of users, the IDF can be thought of a small MDF used to serve users on the floor it is located on.

 

The IDF is typically made up of an equipment rack(s), fiber and copper cabling, patch panels, Ethernet switches and UPS systems

 

Here is an example:

 

L-com stocks a wide range of components and solutions to keep your enterprise network connected. To read and download our Enterprise Network Overview PDF click here.

 

The Downside of Big Data

February 8, 2018 at 8:00 AM

 

Big Data is all the rage right now and is the driving force behind a lot of new technologies breaking barriers today, including data science, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT). Even though big data may help us to achieve medical breakthroughs, explore far away galaxies, plan and prepare for natural disasters and even feed the hungry, there are still some downfalls. Along with the insights and opportunities that come with all this data being collected, there are some significant issues that need to be recognized.

 

The first issue is privacy. The big data being collected contains a good deal of personal, private information about our lives and we are entitled to keep that information private. With so many apps and services being offered that use big data, it is becoming increasingly difficult to determine who should be able to access to our data and how much we should divulge. Finding a balance between accessing the benefits of big data while still maintaining some type of anonymity is an issue worth discussing.

 

Secondly, data security concerns are growing as fast as the big data industry. The high-profile data breaches last year brought to light how important it is to secure our data. Can we truly trust anyone to keep our data safe? If a trusted source is breached, sensitive information ending up in the wrong hands can deeply impact our lives for years to come. Plus, is the legal system equipped to regulate data use at this large scale and if our data is compromised, can appropriate legal action be taken?

 

 

One more area of concern is data discrimination. With all this data available, how will it be used, and will people be discriminated against based on the data collected? For example, credit scores are used to determine who can get a loan and we’ve seen that those can be compromised, which can have devastating effects on people’s lives. The insurance industry also relies heavily on data to determine coverage and rates, meaning people could be charged more or denied coverage based on these reports. Increased detail in the data collected will also increase scrutiny from companies. Steps might need to be taken to ensure that resources or opportunities aren’t taken away from those who have fewer options and less access to information.

 

Overall, big data is making a lot of big advances in the technology industry. Care might need to be taken that this data is used in the proper way, that private matters are kept private, that people’s data is secure and that regulations are in place.

 

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