Industrial Wireless Network Design: Finding the Right Frequency

June 12, 2014 at 10:00 AM

 

 

 

Surely you will enjoy this informational write up if you consider yourself aligned with any of the following:

 

A- You’ll soon be involved in an industrial wireless network deployment.


B- You like to learn about wireless network systems.

 

Or, C- You’re a fan of our blog and REALLY like to read our stuff.

 

Oh stop, you’re making me blush. 

 

 

Where were we? 

 

Right. We’re here to talk about the fact that today’s industrial wireless networks utilize multiple frequency ranges to address different applications. 

 

Within just one industrial setting, you might find two or even three frequencies in play because of their unique characteristics.

 

For instance, just about every industrial installation requires security systems with cameras to protect against intruders and potential saboteurs. 

 

Today’s industrial camera networks typically utilize a specific type of camera, called IP cameras. These are sometimes wired using Cat5e/6 cabling, though often they are connected via wireless links (due to issues such as remote placement where cables cannot be easily run). 

 

These wireless IP camera networks require higher bandwidth to send video and/or audio communications to a central control office. Therefore, 2.4 GHz WiFi networks are often used. By implementing 802.11g or 802.11n systems, wireless speeds of 54 Mbps up to 150 Mbps can be realized. 

 

Here are a few products that can be used in a 2.4 GHz WiFi industrial network:

 

 

2.4 GHz Antennas          2.4 GHz Outdoor Access Point       2.4 GHz Amplifiers     2.4 GHz Filters/Splitters

 

 

2.4 GHz Antennas

2.4 GHz Outdoor CPE

2.4 GHz Amplifiers

2.4 GHz Filters/Splitters

 
 

In contrast, other facilities such as oil and chemical processing plants, wastewater treatment plants and manufacturing operations may have wireless communications systems that require relatively lower bandwidth communications.

 

This is because simpler tasks such as opening a valve or taking pressure and temperature readings from a tank require less bandwidth.

 

In this case, the 400 MHz and 900 MHz frequency bands are often used. When compared to 2.4 GHz and even 5.8 GHZ frequencies, the 900 MHZ ISM frequency band also supports longer, more reliable distance reach and penetration of obstructions (such as trees and leaves) when faced with Near Line of Sight (nLOS) and Non Line of Sight (NLOS) conditions. This is advantageous when connecting long distance, remote monitoring or process facilities is required.

 

Below are examples of 400 MHz and 900 MHz products that one might use in an industrial setting: 

 

 

400 MHz Antennas            900 MHz Antennas         900 MHz Amplifiers            900 MHz Splitters/Filters

 

 

400 MHz Antennas

900 MHz Antennas

900 MHz Amplifiers

900 MHz Splitters/Filters

 

In addition to the products we’ve already mentioned for use within industrial networks, L-com also carries lightning and surge protectors, low loss coaxial and category rated cabling, weatherproof NEMA enclosures and more to address industrial networking applications.


Did you find this tip helpful? Let us know in the comment section below. 


How We’re Launching into the Future of Fiber & Wireless Technologies

May 1, 2014 at 10:00 AM

 

Picture this:

 

You’ve consistently worked hard on keeping up with the latest technologies and standards so that you can be the best in your business.

 

You’re confident in your knowledge and technique.

 

Then you get the call that you’re in. They want you.

 

And you have the opportunity to present this knowledge in front of some really important people……

 

That’s how we feel this month!

 

We’re honored to announce that we’ve been given the chance to present at a technology seminar at the Kennedy Space Center.

 

In the wave of 21st century technology, our sights are set on all that the future holds for our industry and we couldn’t be more proud to be a part of it. On Friday, May 9, 2014, our product managers and wireless application specialists will be presenting wireless application trends and the future of fiber optic communications. For NASA!

 


The Facts on Fiber

 

Our team plans to discuss a variety of fiber optic technology trends and future applications. The first will explain and examine the increasingly relevant crossover between commercial and military grade products.

 

It’s a common misconception that if an organization is qualified as a “government” or “military” entity, it absolutely must use military grade fiber products. This isn’t necessarily the case. What we want to emphasize is that it’s important to analyze all characteristics and factors within the application in order to get the best product match, as well as the best use of one’s money. 

 

For example: a military grade cable might be applicable in a certain outdoor location where large trucks and tanks run over it. But, if each end of that cable runs into a building where it‘s protected, a commercial grade connector or cable assembly could likely be a viable option.

 

It’s also important for us to mention how fiber has evolved. Fiber is no longer just a delicate and expensive cable option. Not only is fiber capable of being used in a rugged application, but it is also an efficient green choice that saves energy. To put this into perspective- one single fiber cable can be run 100 kilometers without a connection break-up or even having to use additional electrical repeater equipment for support along the way.

 

Other fiber optic topics that we’ll discuss are port density, cable weight, and the relatively new MPO connectors. Our hands-on discussion will also focus on how advancements in RF and optical networks will help NASA achieve new design insight. 

 

Lastly, we plan to touch on the topic of security in relation to fiber optics. In the past it was believed that fiber cable was “un-tapable.” However, there is knowledge to prove that fiber actually can be tapped into, so it might be worth considering taking certain safety precautions for the security of the data being passed.

 

 

What about Wireless?

 

In addition to our focus on fiber technology, we will also hold a technical discussion about the next generation Wi-Fi standard, 802.11ac technology. 802.11ac has the ability to support up to eight MIMO spatial streams, with a lot more functionality. Check out our recent post about 802.11ac technology here.

 

In relation to 802.11ac, we will also discuss MIMO technology and using MIMO compliant dual polarity antennas. Our presentation will include the latest in new MIMO wireless technology that provides improved spectral efficiency along with increased link capacity and reliability.  

 

By utilizing multiple antennas you can increase the data throughput and range, compared to a single antenna using the same radio transmit power. Additionally, MIMO antennas improve link reliability and experience less fading than a single antenna system. By transmitting multiple data streams at the same time, wireless capacity is increased.

 

Overall, there's lots of exciting stuff propagating in the world of wireless and fiber optic technology.


What do you foresee in the future?


Don’t Plan a WLAN Until You Read Our WiFi Antenna White Paper

April 3, 2014 at 10:00 AM

 

Why? Let me ask you this.

 

Do you know how to choose the correct antenna for a better wireless connection?

 

With all of the various antenna options out there, it can get confusing as to which antenna to use and how they work. After reading this white paper, you’ll have the information you need to get started on planning your network. 

 

Our white paper - Choosing the right WiFi antenna for your applicationcovers common wireless network application examples and details the basic types of WiFi antennas that are available today. From choosing an antenna for a campus, to planning for an office environment, we give you a rundown of what antenna is best for your application and how-to tips for proper network design.

 


Here are just a few highlights from this free white paper:

 


There are two main types of WiFi antennas, Omni directional and directional

 

Omni directional antennas provide a 360° donut shaped radiation pattern to provide the widest possible signal coverage in indoor and outdoor wireless applications. An analogy for the radiation pattern would be how an un-shaded incandescent light bulb illuminates a room. Types of omni directional antennas include "rubber duck" antennas often found on access points and routers, omni antennas found outdoors, and antenna arrays used on cellular towers. ... (read more)

 

Outdoor Omni Antenna

Rubber Duck Antenna

Omni Antenna Array

I want to add WiFi to my office building (inside)

 

To provide wireless coverage to an inside office space, use omni directional antennas that provide 360° wireless coverage. The style of antenna typically used is the ceiling mount omni directional antenna. The antenna gain pattern for the ... (read more)

 

 


I want to install WiFi in a campus environment (outside)

 

In this case you can use several directional antennas with an omni directional antenna at the central building to connect the buildings in the campus. This is called a point to multipoint network. As with any outdoor WiFi network, clear ... (read more)

 


 

to download this free white paper 

 

802.11ac: What’s all the buzz about?

March 13, 2014 at 10:00 AM

 

Amidst the bustling and overpopulated race to find better, faster WiFi, there now exists a new wireless standard that will help you get there. You may even come in first place.

 

The latest IEEE standard for wireless networking, 802.11ac, is bringing high speed gigabit wireless connectivity to business, home, and government communications systems everywhere. 802.11ac offers up to 1 Gbps wireless transmissions and the ability to support up to eight MIMO spatial streams as well as 80 MHz channel bandwidth. This new advancement in wireless technology promises flawless voice, video, and data transmission to multiple end users at the same time.

 

If slow WiFi has you feeling down, 802.11ac is worth looking into.

 

802.11ac delivers faster throughput and better range than the previous 802.11n standard. 802.11n can deliver up to 600 Mbps with four spatial streams using one 40 MHz-wide channel. 802.11ac is engineered to deliver up to 1Gbps which translates to higher data rates and happier end users.

 

The new amendment’s ultimate intention is to achieve higher multi-user throughput in wireless local area networks (WLANs) and improve WLAN user experience especially for bandwidth intensive applications such as streaming voice and video.

Here at L-com, we continue to support the latest standardized technologies by offering high quality, high performance products, including those for 802.11ac applications.

 

Our series of 802.11ac indoor and outdoor WiFi antennas feature 2.4-5.8 GHz operation for a variety of applications. L-com currently offers 802.11ac ceiling antennas, panel antennas, rubber duck antennas, and Omni antennas.

 

Access Point (AP) Antenna Replacements

August 21, 2013 at 10:00 AM

 

Upgrading the antennas on your WiFi access point: How to determine the correct AP connector

 

Our technical support department often answers questions like: "How do I upgrade my access points' antennas?" or "How do I identify the type of connector on my WiFi access point or router?" There are a few simple steps to adding or replacing the antenna on your wireless product.

 

First you must check to see if the antennas on your access point are removable.

 

                               Front of an EnGenius wireless access point (AP) showing antennas behindBack of an EnGenius wireless access point (AP) showing antennas

Front and back of a WiFi Access Point showing removable rubber duck antennas installed

 

Back of an EnGenius wireless access point (AP) showing antennas removed

Back of a WiFi Access Point showing rubber duck antennas removed.

 

Next you should identify the type of connector the antenna jack is on the access point. One tip is to check with the manufacturer's website or user manual for your specific make and model listing for the antenna connector type. If you cannot find it on the manufacturer's web site, you can compare it with our common RF connector chart shown below.

 

Common RF Coaxial Connectors

 

Also, you may want to upgrade to a higher gain rubber duck antenna on your access point to increase the signal range and strength. View our 2.4 GHz Rubber Duck antenna selection.

 

Or you might want to connect your access point to an outside antenna. In this case you will need to connect a low loss coax pigtail cable to your access point and then to a longer antenna feeder cable to reach the outside antenna as illustrated below.

 

Illustration of low loss coax pigtail used to connect wireless AP to an antenna

Quick tip: If you need a new antenna, try L-com's Antenna Product Wizard to make your search easier. The wizard will walk you through three steps to identify antennas that match your criteria.

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