Readers’ Choice -Top Blog Posts of 2017

December 21, 2017 at 8:00 AM


As we wrap up another year, we’d like to take a moment to look back on some of our most popular posts. We pride ourselves on providing informative content for our readers by covering a range of wired and wireless technology topics. We sincerely hope that you enjoyed reading our posts as much as we enjoyed writing them and in case you missed anything, here’s a highlight reel of the most popular posts of 2017.


 1.       Cable Showdown: Cat6 vs. Cat6a


It’s a Cat eat Cat world out there and Cat6 and Cat6a are two of the most popular standards for Ethernet cables. So, how do you decide between the two? One may work better than the other, depending on your application. To help you pick a winner, we compared them side-by-side for a showdown of category proportions. To see how each Cat fared, read the post.



2.       White-Space Wi-Fi 802.11af


Waste not, want not, seems to be a growing way of life for many people these days, and that theme will soon apply to the Wi-Fi spectrum as well. The IEEE standard 802.11af, also known as white-space Wi-Fi or White-Fi, will utilize the unused space in the TV spectrum, the TV white-space, to support Wi-Fi networks. Read the post to find out how it all works.



3.       OM5 – The Next Generation of Multimode Fiber


OM5 was chosen to be the new standard for cabling containing wideband multimode fiber in the 3rd edition of the ISO/IEC 11801 standard. The acceptance of this standard is a milestone for the fiber cabling performance category because it extends the benefits of this revolutionary multimode fiber within connected buildings and data centers worldwide. To find what you need to know about OM5, click here.



4.       802.11ax – The Next Big Thing


The IEEE will be adding to its 802.11 series of standards again with the launch of 802.11ax. 802.11ax is under development and will pick-up where 802.11ac left off by taking MIMO to the next level with MIMO-OFDM. 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’s coming.



5.       75 Ohm vs. 50 Ohm – Coaxial Comparison


Ohm may sound like something you’d say while meditating, but when it comes to coaxial cables, it is actually a unit of resistance. Ohms measure the impedance within the cable. Impedance is resistance to the flow of electrical current through a circuit. To see how 75 Ohm and 50 Ohm compare, read our post.



The More You Know: Fiber Terms 101

February 9, 2017 at 8:00 AM


They say knowledge is power, so we are here to empower you! The fiber terms 9/125, 50/125 and 62.5/125 might look like algebra to you, but here we’ll explain what they mean, how to read them and we even have a diagram and video to help enhance your educational experience.


The most common fiber cable sizes are 9/125, 50/125 and 62.5/125. These numbers refer to the diameter, in microns, of the core and cladding of a fiber optic cable. The leading numbers (9, 50 and 62.5) refer to the diameter of the fiber cable's core in microns. The trailing number (125) is the diameter (in microns) of the outside of the fiber cable's cladding. The cladding is a special coating that keeps the light from escaping the glass core of the cable. For quick reference, 9/125 is a single-mode fiber cable, 50/125 and 62.5/125 are multimode fiber cables.


Here is a diagram of the fiber core and cladding so you can see exactly what we’re talking about:



Click on the image below to watch our video that further explains the different fiber types.


OM5- The Next Generation of Multimode Fiber

January 5, 2017 at 8:00 AM


As we ring in the New Year, we are also preparing to usher in a new generation of multimode fiber – OM5. OM5 was chosen to be the new standard for cabling containing wideband multimode fiber in the upcoming 3rd edition of the ISO/IEC 11801. The acceptance of this standard is a milestone for the fiber cabling performance category because it extends the benefits of this revolutionary multimode fiber within connected buildings and data centers worldwide.


Here are 5 things you need to know about the next generation of multimode fiber:


  1. 1.       OM5 is designed to perform across the  at least four low-cost wavelengths in the 850-950 nm range


  1. 2.       OM5 provides optimal support of emerging Shortwave Wavelength Division Multiplexing (SWDM) applications which reduce           the amount of fibers needed for high speed transmissions


  1. 3.       OM5 has the ability to support four SWDM channels, each carrying 25G of data to deliver 100G Ethernet using a single pair             of multimode fibers


  1. 4.       OM5 cabling supports all legacy applications and is fully compatible with OM3 and OM4 cabling


  1. 5.       OM5 has all of the capabilities of OM4 plus more, including the addition of bend tolerant characteristics


Multimode fiber cable has long been a versatile connectivity solution with high capability and reliability for local area networks and voice, video and data applications. With the introduction of OM5, wideband multimode fiber will further expand its reach.


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Readers' Choice -Top Blog Posts of 2016

December 29, 2016 at 8:00 AM


As another year comes to a close, so does another chapter of our blog, Engineering Hub. We covered a wide variety of topics in order to keep you, our readers, in the loop with what’s going on in the world of wired and wireless technology. Here are highlights of the 2016 posts that were the most popular with our readers.


1.       802.11ay: 20 Gig Wireless!

The next generation wireless standard will blow you away with triple the speed and 30xs the transmission distance of 802.11ad. Learn about all of the benefits of 802.11ay and what it means for the world of wireless networking technology. (Read more)




2.       Fiber Showdown: Multimode vs. Single mode

Multimode and single mode are the two most common types of fiber optic cables. Both have very different attributes and one may work better than the other, depending on the needs of your application. This post will help you decide which will give you the best results. (Read more)




3.       Cat6 Cable: Shielded vs. Unshielded

Category 6 Ethernet cable is designed to provide high speed data rates, but how do you decide between shielded or unshielded? Here, we compare them side by side so you can choose which will work best for your application. (Read more)




4.       Good Vibrations: Vibration-Proof USB Connectors


Universal Serial Bus (USB) is one of the most widely used technologies to connect and power devices. One fundamental flaw of USB is its sensitivity to vibration, causing the connector to dislodge. In this post we show you some solutions to keeping your USB connected. (Read more)




5.      Next Generation Positioning: A look at what’s around the corner


GPS apps and positioning technology is something we use everyday to get directions or find something or someone nearby, and that usage is expected to continue to grow at a staggering rate. Here’s a look at what the IEEE has in store for next gen positioning technology. (Read more)

Fiber Showdown: Multimode vs. Single mode

February 4, 2016 at 8:00 AM


There are two main types of fiber optic cables, Multimode and Single mode. Depending on your application one might be better than the other to achieve optimal results. So how do you decide between Multimode or Single mode fiber optic cables? Let’s put these two side-by-side and see who comes out on top – a fiber Super Bowl, if you will.




Single mode


  • ·       Large-diameter core which allows multiple modes of light to propagate
  • ·       High capacity and reliability
  • ·       Supports distances of up to 2km
  • ·       Less expensive
  • ·       Good for transmitting voice, video and  data signals over shorter distances 
  • ·       Mostly used for data and audio/visual applications in local-area networks and backbone applications within or between buildings (campus environments)
  • ·       Smaller core diameter which allows only one mode of light to propagate
  • ·       Much higher bandwidth
  • ·       Supports distances of 100km (optics dependant)
  • ·       More expensive
  • ·       Good for transmitting streaming voice, video and data over long distances
  • ·       Typically used in long-haul network links over extended areas by telecommunications companies and cable television networks



The optics used in fiber applications are not compatible and you cannot mix Multimode and Single mode fiber between two endpoints, so you must pick only one. What you choose really boils down to bandwidth, speed and distance.


Multimode will support a maximum bandwidth of 4700 MHz/km (OM4 laser optimized) and will extend to a distance of up to 2km (@100 Mbps). Currently the maximum speed supported on Multimode fiber is 100Gbps.


Single Mode fiber can support virtually unlimited modal bandwidth as well as Terabit data rates, it can also span up to 100km without the use of a repeater. Single mode cabling is being used heavily in large data centers and in long haul broadband carrier applications.


So your choice for fiber MVP will depend on the factors listed above and your specific application.


For a deeper look at the playbooks of these two cable types and to see a handy reference diagram, check out our blog post Fiber Fun Fact: Multimode vs. Single-mode.


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