802.3bz Provides Congestion Relief – 2.5 Gbps & 5 Gbps Over Copper

May 3, 2018 at 8:00 AM

 

Cat5e and Cat6 cables are two of the most widely used cables in the world. Traditionally, for conventional Cat5e and Cat6 twisted-pair copper cabling, Gigabit Ethernet (1 Gbps) is the fastest standard. A wired connection of 1 Gbps is probably enough speed for one PC user, but with the surge of high-speed Wi-Fi devices being used over the last few years, Gigabit Ethernet has become increasingly congested. Thus, the IEEE has developed the 802.3bz standard to ease the pain of 1 Gbps traffic and allow speeds of up to 2.5 Gbps and 5 Gbps over Cat5e and Cat6 copper cables.

  

To escape the 1 Gbps bottleneck and increase speeds to 10 Gbps, a network cable upgrade to Cat6a or Cat7 is usually required. At an estimated $300 per cable pull, upgrading cable is a costly process and not always feasible, especially for large networks which could also encounter expensive delays and connection disruptions in the process.  Fortunately, the 802.3bz allows users to avoid expensive cable upgrades. This new 2.5G/5GBASE-T standard can provide 2.5 Gbps speeds over 100 meters of Cat5e cable and 5 Gbps speeds over 100 meters of Cat6 cable. These higher speeds are bookended by a switch on one end and either an Ethernet extender or electronic device on the opposite end.

 

The physical layer of 2.5G/5GBASE-T is similar to 10GBASE-T, but uses 200 MHz or 100 MHz spectral bandwidth instead of 400 MHz. This is beneficial because 2.5G/5GBASE-T consumes less than half the bandwidth of 10GBASE-T and doesn’t require a high-quality, mega-shielded cable. The 802.3bz standard also provides additional features such as Power over Ethernet (PoE), which is useful when rolling out Wi-Fi access points.

 

With a growing need for faster connections, 802.3bz provides a sensible way to upgrade networking capabilities without the expense of re-cabling, all while improving user experience and avoiding costly downtime.

 

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.

 

Case Study: Kinki Sharyo

November 30, 2017 at 8:00 AM

 

In metropolitan areas, thousands of people depend on the rail system every day as a primary mode of transportation. Our customer, Kinki Sharyo, has designed and manufactured more than 10,000 railcars and is the leading supplier of low-floor light rail systems in North America. From manufacturing to maintenance, they design a full-range of customized products to meet the needs for each transit system to get people where they need to go safely and reliably.

 

After being awarded a $30 million contract from NJ Transit, Kinki Sharyo needed to make 60 new trains with DVI, Cat5e and USB cabling for onboard video and LED lighting systems. The problem they were having was finding a cable that could provide connectivity to articulated train cars that are connected to each other.  The existing connectivity method used heavy gauge cables bundled together that frequently wore out and had failure at friction points. They needed a robust cabling system that would not wear down and could withstand the movement of the train cars and constant flexing of the cables.

 

L-com provided Kinki Sharyo with crush-proof armored USB, right-angle Cat5e Ethernet and right-angle DVI cables all off-the-shelf and ready for installation. These cables met all the needs of the new rail car design. The USB cables were more than rugged enough, the right-angle DVI and Cat5e cables were the perfect fit for rail cars with limited space and they all provided the added benefit of low-smoke zero-halogen jackets to protect the new rail cars and passengers inside.

 

To read the full case study, click here.

 

How to Protect Your Equipment During Lightning Season

August 24, 2017 at 8:00 AM

 

No matter how lucky you are, the thought of lightning striking your expensive communications equipment can be a scary thought. Depending on your location, the time of year and your proximity to other buildings, the chances of a lightning strike can be higher or lower, but any lightning strike can be debilitating for sensitive electronic equipment. Both direct and indirect strikes can cause extensive damage that includes loss of data, downtime and the cost of replacement.

 

Electromagnetic fields and earth-voltage spikes caused by lightning can also wreak havoc on electronic power and signal circuits. This can damage the Ethernet, coaxial and telephone lines, or anything connected to the circuits. Even entire campuses can experience long-range voltage spikes that can ruin all electronics connected by the above-ground and below-ground cabling systems that run throughout the campus.

 

There’s no single cure-all method, but lightning protectors are an inexpensive way to help protect equipment in the event of a lightning strike. Here are some of the best solutions to give your equipment a fighting chance:

 

 

Coaxial Protectors – These lightning protectors use gas-filled tubes to discharge electrical spikes before they can cause damage. They are used in both wired and wireless networks to protect radios, communications equipment and anything else attached to coaxial cable, which becomes a target for lightning. They feature popular connector types including N, TNC, RP-BNC and F.

 

Low-PIM Coaxial Protectors – Theses are ideal for use with Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) because of their low-PIM performance of -150dBc. They feature bi-directional protection and there are no gas tubes to replace.

 

Cat5/5e/6 and PoE Protectors – These protectors ground-out and discharge spikes that can permanently blackout security cameras, switches routers and other critical equipment. They are ideal for 10/100/1000 Base-T Ethernet networks. Some models even feature integral PoE injectors that can deliver remote power to access points, access servers, outdoor routers and other Ethernet IP enabled devices.

 

Telephone/DSL/T1 Protectors – They protectors can prevent your POTS or other telephone system from expensive downtime and are perfect for indoor or outdoor installations. These protectors are available in multiple styles including screw terminal 

and RJ11 options.

 

RS232/422/485 Protectors – These are ideal for protecting RS-232, RS-422 and RS-485 lines. They can also save sensors, control lines and AISG lines from lightning’s damaging effects.

 

To see all the products L-com offers to protect your equipment from lightning, click here.

 

Video Blog: Solid vs. Stranded Center Conductors

July 27, 2017 at 8:00 AM

 

All cables have either a solid and stranded conductor, no matter if they’re Cat5e, Cat6 or any other category rating. To figure out whether a solid or stranded cable will work best for your application, you’ll need to look at the advantages and disadvantages of both.

 

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 because the cables aren’t moved after installation. They are also cheaper and transmit better over long distances with lower attenuation than stranded cable, but they are more likely to break if bent repeatedly.

 

Stranded cables are much more flexible because their 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 in shorter network cable runs that need extra flexibility.  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.

 

There are other factors to take into consideration when choosing a cable. For more information on which cable type is best for your application, watch our video blog.

 

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