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.

 

Everything you ever wanted to know about Category 8

February 23, 2017 at 8:00 AM

 

Category 8 is coming and we’re not taking about a torrential hurricane. This new standard for twisted-pair cabling is under development with ratification expected this year that will bring many exciting advancements in wired communications. Here is everything you need to know to prepare yourself for Category 8.

 

  -  Primarily intended to support 25GBASE-T and 40GBASE-T

 

  -  Different from previous standards because it uses 2000 MHz frequency

 

  -  Limited to 30 meter distance and 2-connector channels

 

  -  Ideal for data centers and small LANs in commercial buildings

 

  -  Targeted for use at the data center “edge” where connections are made between the server and switch

 

  -  Will be backward compatible with previous standards

 

  -  Two classes of products offered - Class I: RJ45 and Class II: Non-RJ45

 

  -  Requires shielded cable, but not limited to specific type of shielding. Can use F/UTP (8.1) or S/FTP (8.2) and other shielded constructions

 

  -  Can provide up to four times faster speeds on the same cabling being used today

 

  -  Exceptional signal-to-noise margin while supporting transmission rates of 25Gb/s and higher

 

  -  Connectors will be designed for field termination and also pre-terminated for Panduit’s QuickNet line

 

  -  Will allow data center designers to organize their racks and cabinets to support 30-meter channel connections now and be positioned to transfer to 25G/40GBASE-T when the technology becomes available

 

  -  Installation methods will be similar to lower grades of cabling. Can be installed in existing pathways and conduit, though to support 25GBASE-T and 40GBASE-T the existing infrastructure must be upgraded

 

  -  No additional power required. In fact, Cat8 may better support remote powering applications such as PoE because of its lower dc resistance and insertion loss. It is likely that 25GBASE-T and 40GBASE-T equipment will use more power than 10GBASE-T, but that may be remedied as the technology evolves

 

Case Study – Wireless Utility Metering

February 16, 2017 at 8:00 AM

 

Unless you live off the grid, you probably use some type of utility service, whether it’s electricity, gas, water or all of the above.  For many utility companies, meters are still checked manually by a person walking house-to-house. But like so many businesses, utility providers are turning to technology for a better way to monitor meters.

 

Mueller Systems is one such company. They provide utility companies and municipalities with innovative metering solutions to improve the delivery and use of water and energy. The Mueller Infrastructure Network, Mi.Net®, is a highly efficient communications network that fully automates the meter-reading-to-billing process. It is flexible and scalable, which allows the new technology to be implemented in stages as budgets allow.

 

The problem Mueller Systems was facing was that they needed a high-performance, robust, 900MHz Omni-directional antenna to support their wireless metering system. Not only did the antenna need to fully integrate into the Mi.Net® system, it also needed to withstand the environment and have enough gain and coverage to support Non-Line of Sight (NLOS) and mobile applications.

 

Fortunately, L-com’s 800/900 MHz HGV-906U Omni-directional antenna was up to the task. This antenna has all of the capabilities needed by Mueller Systems, including superior all-weather performance. L-com’s high-performance, low-loss coaxial cables were also used to connect the antenna to the Mi.Net® repeaters.

 

With the help of L-com’s antenna and cables, Mueller Systems is now able to offer their customers a complete wireless monitoring system that reduces cost, increases efficiency, conserves resources and improves customer relations for utility services.

 

To read the entire case study, click here.

 

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