The Year of the WISP

October 9, 2014 at 10:00 AM


According to the Chinese calendar, 2014 is the year of the horse. This horse represents one in a 12 year cycle of animals that make up the Chinese zodiac, a tradition that is very important to Chinese culture - especially in older generations.


While maintaining our respect for Chinese culture, there is another tradition that was made – one that is closer to heart here in our industry.


2014 is considered the year of the WISP!


WISPs, or Wireless Internet Service Providers, are a growing facet of the wireless communications industry as wireless connectivity takes over our generation’s daily common practices. Because there’s been a lot of growth and maturity just in the past 18 months, there are many more WISPs that are growing their business faster than ever, and into new markets.


Luckily, this growth impacts our business too. So in celebration, we’re rounding out these last few months of the year with a bang and an exciting exhibit at the WISPApalooza 2014 conference.


At WISPApalooza, wireless broadband entrepreneurs and manufacturers from around the world join in on what is considered the most comprehensive conference for the broadband industry. 


WISPApalooza, held in Las Vegas from October 11th to October 17th, is a full week of intense training events, interactive educational sessions, and impressive exhibits. There will be 40 sessions covering marketing, technical, business and regulatory topics in addition to many other training events hosted by Ubiquiti, Cambium, Mikrotik, Freeside and more.


It's also considered an all-out amazing party, according to the Urban Dictionary, as the name "apalooza" suggests.  Can't forget the fun, of course!


L-com will have two large booths (booths 336 and 338) with a complete display of our latest MIMO technology dual polarity antennas. We will also be showcasing lightning protectors, access points, RF cable assemblies, NEMA enclosures, PoE products and - don't miss this one - L-com's ultra-rugged Ethernet cabling for outdoor usage: TRD8RGMT. This series of Ethernet cables is perfect for connecting Ethernet feeds to outdoor wireless transmission equipment. 


This year FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai will be the keynote speaker at the annual awards banquet. We are looking forward to hearing what he has to say since there have been many changes happening in the communications world of late.


Another highlight of the conference will be “Fiber Weekend” which starts off the week on Saturday and Sunday.


We hope to see you there for 7 exciting days of all things WISP!


How Line of Sight (LoS) Can Affect Your Wireless Installation

September 18, 2014 at 10:00 AM


Though the term Line of Sight seems self explanatory, there’s actually more than meets the eye when it comes to LoS and installing a wireless network.


As you might already know, Line of Sight is the path between two antennas. One of the first questions you’ll want to ask yourself when designing an outdoor wireless network is what is between point A (antenna 1) and point B (antenna 2)?


These details are important since Line of Sight does not only apply to a straight line. Wireless signals being sent from point A to point B can and will, most likely, run into to some obstacles that will alter the path they take.


When light waves or radio signals get diffracted or bent due to solid objects near their path, it’s an electromagnetic phenomenon referred to as The Fresnel Zone (referenced in the diagram below). The radio waves reflecting off the objects may arrive out of phase with the signals that traveled directly to the receiving antenna, thus reducing the power of the received signal.


It is important to also note that the line of site broadens with wavelength, which means that for low frequency, high wavelength signals, you need to have a larger Fresnel radius free of obstructions.  





As you can see, there are three main categories of Line of Sight to use as guidelines:

1.       Full Line of Sight (LOS), where no obstacles reside between the two antennas.

2.       Near Line of Sight (nLOS) which includes partial obstructions, such as tree tops between the two antennas.

3.        Non Line of Sight (NLOS), where full obstructions exist between the two antennas.


By determining the specific line of sight conditions in the WiFi network area, you can then determine the correct type of wireless system to install.


For example, most WiFi systems typically run on the 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz frequencies. Both of these frequencies are very dependent on a clear line of sight to obtain good performance, so clear LoS is very important.


View L-com’s comprehensive WiFi antenna offering



It’s an IP world with the Internet of Things (IoT)

August 21, 2014 at 10:00 AM



In today’s age of such accelerated technology advancements, we practically have the world at our fingertips.


Emergency services respond at the push of a button, robots work for us in factories, apps on our phones connect us with others across the world…


And it’s about to get even easier.


As 2014 marches on, the buzz around the term “Internet of things” or “IoT” is ever increasing due to the fact that its impact on our society has the potential to be dramatic within a relatively short span of time.


By now most of you may have already heard of this phenomenon, but just what does this term really mean? And what are the implications to our wired and wireless engineering world?



An Ecosystem of Sorts


IoT is the idea that just about every imaginable device that can provide either a control or monitoring function will someday have an IP address for access to the Internet. CISCO Systems, Inc. calls it the “Internet of Everything,” or the networked connection of people, processes, data, and things.


Imagine objects in your home, car, at work, and all around you having an IP address to connect to the cloud—providing immediate access via just about any device (Smart Phone, tablet, laptop, desktop computer, etc.).


And IoT is not just limited to devices; it’s encroaching upon use with people and animals too! Livestock monitoring and tracking, medical devices for monitoring, and preventative medicine on humans are just some examples. The concept is to have multiple vertical sectors operating in one connected ecosystem.


A few other examples of startup “things” that are popping up around the IoT world include: an all-in-one touch screen WiFi router and smart home hub, WiFi enabled smart outlets and plugs that allow you to adjust settings via smart phone, sensor enhanced trash bins, and a bracelet that measures sun exposure.


According to Business Insider Intelligence, the IoT will account for 9 billion connections by 2018. In addition, BI Intelligence estimates that the IoT alone will surpass the PC, Tablet, and phone market combined by 2017.


So what are the ramifications?


IoT has the power to influence energy savings, cost savings, remote control and monitoring for business and home applications, and more. By using smarter and more efficient tracking, analysis, and monitoring some businesses will have an opportunity for cost savings (such as an insurance company saving money with collision avoidance navigation systems).



What about Our Business?


Lucky for us engineering minded folks, IoT applications will require both wired and wireless networking infrastructures to operate.


Every device- such as a pressure sensor, temperature sensor, or flow control valve- will have an IP address that is connected to the internet or to an Ethernet network. Thus, any necessary equipment for Ethernet IP networks will be required.


According to the Silicon Valley Business Journal, the most lucrative benefactors of this new movement will be the companies making chips that power these devices and those who are building the systems that will connect the chips (rather than the companies making the actual appliances).


Our products such as Ethernet switches and converters, WiFi antennas and RF amplifiers are some examples of the products needed to support IoT applications.  As a designer and manufacturer of wired and wireless networking products we are excited to see where this IoT evolution will take us!


Easy Answers to Your Top 5 Wireless FAQs

August 7, 2014 at 10:00 AM



If you know L-com, you know that we listen to our customers.

Over the years we have published many informative FAQs to help you get your job done. In this week’s post we have compiled our top 5 wireless FAQs to help you better understand different aspects of wireless networking, including antenna selection and operation, choosing the right WiFi amplifier for your network and more.

You’ll find that some of these FAQs are associated specifically with L-com’s products, while others are simply general knowledge that you can use and share!


What is a Distributed Antenna System (DAS)?


Often times a DAS uses RF directional couplers and/or wireless amplifiers to split and amplify a wireless signal from the source out to distributed antennas. A DAS can be designed for indoors or outdoors. This FAQ explains how a DAS system can be configured for both types of deployments. 



What is Antenna Polarity?


It’s simple. Click above to find out!



How do I choose the right WiFi amplifier?


When deciding which WiFi Amplifier to buy, there are several important options to consider: PoE, Frequency, Automatic Power Control (APC) and more. Take a look at our breakdown. 






How do I use a HyperLink brand Antenna?


Here we share some common WiFi antenna design considerations that explain which HyperLink brand antenna to use for specific wireless applications, including point-to-point and point-to-multi-point architectures.


Not sure which antenna is best for your application? Read on. 



Common Wireless Connectivity Terms


Test your knowledge of commonly used wireless terms, or refer to this extensive list when faced with a new project. Entries include Direct Sequence (DS), Effective Radiated Power (ERP), Attenuation, Wind Loading, Signal-To-Noise Ratio (SNR) and much more. 


Can You Define Antenna Gain?

July 24, 2014 at 10:00 AM


"What is gain?" 


Many of our customers ask us this question. 


In fact, it has become so common that we created a Wireless Glossary to explain “gain” along with other common wireless terms.


But, the term “gain” is tricky to define, so we're going to dig into it a bit more here.


One of the major parameters used in analyzing the performance of radio frequency (RF) communication is the amount of transmitter power directed toward an RF receiver.


This power is derived from a combination of:


1.Transmitter power

2.The ability of the antenna(s) to direct that power toward an RF receiver(s)






The directivity of the antenna is determined by the antenna design. Directivity is the ability of an antenna to focus energy in a particular direction when transmitting or to receive energy better from a particular direction when receiving. To determine the directivity of an antenna, we need a reference antenna with which to compare our antenna's performance.


Omni Directional:
360° Coverage

Focused Coverage



Over the years there have been several different reference antennas used to determine directivity; however, today an isotropic radiator is preferred as the standard antenna for comparison. The isotropic antenna transmits equal amounts of power in all directions (like a light bulb).


To increase the directivity of a bulb's light (or the antenna's energy)- similar to a flash light or automobile head lamp in this example- a reflector (antenna) is added behind the bulb. At a distance the light bulb now appears to be much brighter in the light beam. The amount that the bulb appears brighter compared to the bulb without a reflector is the directivity of the reflector (antenna).


When directivity is converted to decibels we call it the “antenna gain” relative to an isotropic source (dBi). Typically the higher the gain, the more efficient the antenna's performance, and the farther the range of the antenna will operate. For every 6 dBi in gain, you double the range of the antenna.


It should also be noted that many factors need to be considered when selecting the "best" antenna for the desired application, and it’s best to discuss any antenna selection with someone knowledgeable in RF radiation and antenna performance. L-com has experts to help you make the best selection for performance and price to fit your application.



Helpful definitions to summarize our topic:


Antenna Gain: A relative measurement of an antenna's ability to direct or concentrate radio frequency energy in a particular direction or pattern. This measurement is typically measured in dBi (Decibels relative to an isotropic radiator) or in dBd (Decibels relative to a dipole radiator).


Isotropic Radiator: is a theoretical single point in space that radiates energy equally in every direction similar to the Sun radiating its light. The isotropic radiator exhibits the same magnitude or properties when measured in all directions. It has no preferred direction of radiation. It radiates uniformly in all directions over a sphere centered on the source.



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