411 on 5G

November 1, 2018 at 8:00 AM

 

For the past few years, the world of technology has been abuzz with talk about the 5th generation mobile wireless (5G), and with full-scale rollouts set to begin next year, all that buzz can be expected to become a swarm. For example, when wireless networks transitioned from 3G to 4G, there were incremental improvements in technology and performance, but the upgrade from 4G to 5G is expected to be a complete revolution of wireless and connectivity. To make sure you’re prepared to take part in the revolution, here’s the 411 to get you up to speed on 5G.

 

The goal of the 5G network is to create a platform that makes it possible to deliver global connection. This means being able to connect everyone and everything, everywhere around the globe. In addition to that, 5G systems are slated to deliver data rates that far surpass 4G in a wider coverage area, while being more power efficient and reliable, presenting lower latency, supporting faster moving equipment and the influx of communication stemming from the Internet of Things (IoT). Plus, 5G will not only support mobile wireless users, it will also include enhanced wireless connectivity technology for use in applications such as automotive, smart homes, augmented and virtual reality.

 

In order to cross into all of those markets, the specifications for 5G performance have been debated and defined. The finalized specifications were set to be released by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) in 2020. Though mobile operators and service providers are urging the standardization organizations to accelerate that timetable.

 

With so much uncertainty still looming over the finalization of the standard, early releases are not shaping up exactly as planned. In the meantime, the non-standalone 5G new radio (NSA 5G NR) is the interim 5G specification and will help ease the transition from 4G to 5G. The NSA 5G NR supports many aspects of 5G including the sub-6 GHz spectrum, frequency bands, carrier aggregation and MIMO. With the new 5G frequency bands, NSA 5G NR is capable of 5G-like performance while utilizing existing technologies and infrastructure. This interim specification will provide the groundwork for future trials and deployments and allow for the technology to be better understood for the full 5G rollout.

 

With the excitement of early 5G availability, there have also been new application opportunities emerging that include fixed wireless (FWS) to the home. This development would use 5G wireless technology to provide last mile data services including television, home internet and voice-over-IP (VoIP) phone calling. As the launch of early 5G gets closer, there are bound to be additional new and existing applications to arise that would benefit from 5G’s lower latency, increased data rates and enhanced reliability. Until then, we will have to wait with great anticipation for the arrival of 5G.

 

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802.3bu - Power Over Data Lines (PoDL)

October 25, 2018 at 8:00 AM

 

In the realm of IEEE standards, 802.3 has some pretty good tricks up its sleeve. There is 802.3bt which expanded the capabilities of Power over Ethernet (PoE), 802.3bv brought you Power over Plastic Optical Fiber (POF) and 802.3bz which delivers 2.5 Gbps and 5 Gbps speeds data over copper. Now, the IEEE has unveiled 802.3bu – a standard for Power over Data Lines (PoDL).

 

Initially, single-pair Ethernet was created to help meet a demand in the automotive industry for Ethernet connectivity in vehicles. 802.3bu defines the specifications and standards for delivering power over single twisted-pair to connect Data Terminal Equipment (DTE) with IEEE 803.2 interfaces. This standard also extends the wattage range to up to 60 Watts of power, which is more power over a single cable than the PoE standards 802.3af and 803.2bt. With this PoDL standard, the most recent physical layers of single twisted-pair Ethernet are supported, including 100BASE-T1 and 1000BASE-T1, while using unshielded twisted-pair cables. This results in a lower cost and lighter weight solution, which is always good news. It is targeted for use in automotive, industrial automation, air and rail transportation, and other applications that use 100BASE-T1, 1000BASE-T1 or any single-pair data or non-data entity protocol. The IEEE 802.3bu standard also opens itself up for the possibility of additional applications across a variety of industries in need of solutions to adapt to the Internet of Things (IoT) expansion.

 

The goal of the 802.3bu standard is to specify a power distribution technique for use over a single twisted-pair cable that will allow for operation if data is not present. This standard is designed to deliver power that supports multiple voltages and classes of power at each voltage level. Plus, it has the capability of fault protection and detection to identify device signatures and communicate directly with devices to ensure precise and safe power delivery. PoDL supports fast startup operation with predetermined voltage configurations and the option of operation with run-time voltage configuration. It ensures compatibility with the IEEE 802.3bp standard. However, it is not compatible with Ethernet applications that operate over 2 or 4-pairs of twisted-pair cable.

 

With the introduction of 802.3bu PoDL, not only is the wattage delivery increased and intuitive, the possibilities of power delivery are increased as well.

 

How the IoT is Affecting Wi-Fi

October 18, 2018 at 8:00 AM

 

In today’s society, Wi-Fi has become something that people now expect to be readily available and depend on to carry out everyday tasks. With the rollout of the Internet of Things (IoT), people will soon become accustomed to having all of their things connected as well. But with all of those connected devices, can Wi-Fi handle an even greater influx of user demand for high-speed connectivity? Here, we’ll take a look at how the IoT is affecting Wi-Fi.

 

When it comes to connectivity requirements, each IoT application can have a different set of range, data throughput and energy efficiency needs. Some IoT devices only need small, intermittent data transfers, such as utility meters. While some need a constant stream of data, such as live surveillance cameras. Also, range can differentiate from very short for wearables, to spanning miles for weather and agricultural sensor applications. But there are two things that are constants for all IoT applications: the need for remote power and constant connectivity.

 

To fulfill this need, Wi-Fi is the obvious choice because Wi-Fi coverage is so widespread, but standard Wi-Fi is not always the best choice for IoT applications. Thus, there are several standards that have emerged from the need for IoT connectivity. These include LoRaWAN, multiple short range communications standards and new Wi-Fi standards such as HaLow (802.11ah) and HEW (802.11ax).

 

The 802.11ah standard was introduced to address the range and power needs of the IoT. It utilizes the 900 MHz frequency band to provide extended range, covering a one kilometer radius, lower power requirements, wake/sleep periods and station grouping options.

 

The 802.11ax standard also includes the wake/sleep and station grouping features, and has a MU-MIMO feature that allows up to 18 users to simultaneously send data within a 40 MHz channel when paired with the smaller subcarrier spacing. Internet service providers and technology startups have also begun developing an application layer that includes mesh networks that use sets of routers to work together and extend wireless coverage, and provisioning tactics that define how wireless devices connect to networks.

 

There is some fear that the IoT could essentially break Wi-Fi, but there seems to be plenty of development activity focused around finding solutions to Wi-Fi congestion before it becomes a problem. With all of the IoT devices expected to be connecting in the near future, there will likely be a significant shift in Wi-Fi practices and standards, but as with everything in the world of technology, being able to pivot and reconfigure is the name of the game.

 

Hangin' Tough - Armored Cables

October 11, 2018 at 8:00 AM

 

When your cables need serious protection and the ability to stand up to the toughest conditions, an armored jacket might be the perfect solution. Armored cables are cables with a metal or plastic covering that provides a layer of protection that is much stronger than any traditional type of cable jacket. This suit of armor makes the cables extra tough and durable, now let’s take a look at just how tough they are.

 

The rugged characteristics of armored cables make them ideal for outdoor, industrial and military applications where these features are of the upmost importance. This includes factory automation, manufacturing and chemical and petroleum processing networks.

 

One of the biggest advantages of armored cables is there crush resistance rating. L-com’s metal armored cables offer a crush resistance of up to 1,500 PSI

which makes them well suited for just about any military or industrial application. Additionally these cables feature stainless steel armor that stands up to corrosion often found in extreme environments.

 

Plastic armor, although not as rugged as metal armor, offers an extra level of crush and abrasion resistance

when compared to non-armored cable jackets. L-com’s plastic armored cables feature a crush resistance of up 800PSI.

 

Even with all that armor, these cables are still capable of high speed transmission rates. Plus, they are offered in multiple varieties to suit a wide range of applications, including armored Ethernet, armored USB, armored HDMI, armored D-sub and armored DVI cable assemblies.

 

No doubt, armored cables are tough enough to withstand the abuse that might be faced in harsh environments and rugged conditions, and if you don’t believe us, watch this.

 

Industrial Enclosures for any Application

October 4, 2018 at 8:00 AM

 

When it comes to protecting your valuable equipment, a NEMA enclosure can be a great solution. Whether your equipment could be exposed to the elements, chemicals, human tampering or theft, using an enclosure can ensure your investment is protected and provide you with peace of mind. Different enclosures provide different benefits, and you must find the best fit for your application. Here, we’ll take a closer look at Industrial enclosures and all that they have to offer.

 

When it comes to location, industrial enclosures can be used for both indoor and outdoor applications. In any setting, industrial enclosures provide extra security against theft, tampering and damage. Standard enclosures are lockable and keyed locks can be added as an extra measure to keep valuable components safe. Weatherproof outdoor enclosures can provide superior protection from the elements for outdoor wireless access points and sensitive electric components. Plus, with the option of adding heating and cooling or power, these enclosures deliver dependable performance in any climate.

 

There are numerous features that make industrial enclosures ideal for protecting sensitive equipment, these include mounting plates that securely mount equipment inside an enclosure and a thermostat controlled cooling fan that keeps equipment cool in high temperature environments. Also, a mounting lid can prevent damage and theft of the equipment inside the enclosure, these lids can have hinges, removable lids or clear viewing windows for easier viewing while maintaining security. Power over Ethernet (PoE) interface is another great feature that delivers power to the enclosed equipment where power sources are limited, plus it provides additional surge protection for internal PoE compatible equipment.

 

Many applications can benefit from the use of an industrial enclosure, and while the details might vary, they all share a similar set of requirements that include being able to operate under exceedingly harsh conditions that include exposure to corrosive chemicals, extreme temperatures and more. Some of these applications include industrial automation, oil and gas, and transportation. Rugged, industrial enclosures are also ideal for security and automation applications such as access controls, fire alarms, video surveillance equipment and building automation.  Indoor and outdoor enclosures can be used in a variety of locations to protect equipment, including cell towers and rooftops, open-access basements, telecom closets, shopping centers and factories.

 

Overall, industrial enclosures are a great way to keep expensive equipment safe. In almost any application, and even in the harshest conditions, they provide a level of security that is unmatched. To take a look at L-com’s complete, comprehensive line of industrial enclosures, click here.

 

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