Drones, HyperLink Antennas, Endless Possibilities

October 23, 2014 at 10:00 AM


 

It’s like soaring through the sky as if a bird, with an expansive set of wings cutting through the wind. Endless sight of blue horizon surrounds.

 

The clouds move softly as whites, grays, blues, and greens of the landscape fill the eye.

 

This is what First Person View (FPV) operators often experience during their flights. While their bodies remain on the ground with their stationary equipment, FPV operators get a bird’s eye view of their location using seeing goggles in order to operate their camera equipped drone. In most applications, cameras are used to make decisions with the drone. See what a good antenna and drone equipment are cable of, here.

 

Though FPV technology isn’t necessarily new, the use of drones is ever-increasing, and it also presents an interesting opportunity for growth in the wireless market.

 

We wanted to share this story as inspiration and knowledge for the endless possibilities of wireless technology, and how the new wave of drones could impact our industry. Sure, most antennas are still used for standard business or industrial networking applications, but nevertheless, there always exists new applications you may have never thought of.

 

 

J’son Johnson of Atlanta, GA, is an explorer and innovator in the FPV industry. He runs a forum for FPV newcomers and veterans alike, called FPVLAB. Back in June of 2012, Johnson conducted a 10 mile test flight that practically changed his life. Believe it or not, L-com gear was right there with him.

 

When Johnson set out to make a successful long flight that day in 2012, the average FPV operator was currently stuck at a maximum flying distance of 3, 4, or 6 miles. The caveat, Johnson believed, is that they were using homemade antennas. So, Johnson started looking at commercial antennas and found L-com’s products. He chose a 14dBi HyperLink antenna to support his long distance flight.

 

“I felt like I could have flown another 5 miles,” Johnson recounted about that first 10 mile flight. And flown he has.

 

To date, Johnson has covered a total of 35 miles at once-- with all L-com wireless equipment. The only reason he stopped the flight, he said, was because he was bored.

 

What started out as just a hobby for Johnson (he works in communications by day), has turned so successful that he now runs his own business called Aerial Images. Shooting now mostly for tourism, Johnson will get footage of a particular city and then the video or still photographs will be used for marketing material.

 

Johnson is continually surprised about the expansion rate of the FPV industry and the amount of calls he gets for footage. “The end is nowhere in sight. Three years ago I thought it was the peak but it’s not,” said Johnson.

 

Johnson uses equipment that operates in the 2.4 GHz band because he has found that the receivers/antennas for this frequency work well and are well tested.

 

Often in the drone community, Johnson noted, people try to use the least amount of energy with the biggest antenna on the ground (a big receiving signal on the ground allows the drone to fly a far distance). However, one doesn’t have to have a big antenna on the ground as long as it has a large receiving capability. People are shocked that his drone flies as far as it does with such a small antenna as L-com’s.

 

“With the regular off the shelf products like L-com’s, {the equipment} has gone from a mediocre system to a high performance system,” Johnson stated.

 

 

In fact, Johnson vows that L-com’s product actually legitimized his forum, FPVLAB. Users on the forum started asking more questions about where his flight equipment came from and were impressed by what L-com had to offer.

 

 “I bought 3 or 4 antennas and they have all worked the same, so I have come to trust the quality,” Johnson said about his L-com antennas. “It’s a comfort zone and my comfort zone is everything when I’m flying.”

 

Within that comfort zone, Johnson explained, are also other important factors for a quality antenna. If your antenna doesn’t reject out of band frequencies, you’re in trouble. There’s nothing worse than a drone operator not being able to see, because you’re making flak decisions based on what you can (or can’t) see.

 

“With L-com gear there really is no guesswork,” commented Johnson, “If you have any type of request or questions they’ll figure it out for you.”

 

Just in case a malfunction ever happened and his video went out, Johnson has an autopilot mode along with other safety features. He’s very keen on safety, and the first thing he does when preparing to fly is check his autopilot.

 

“L-com took my video quality from ‘maybe I can fly another mile’ to ‘I can fly another 4 miles’,” said Johnson.

 

As for why he likes flying so much, Johnson explained, “There’s a freedom about it that’s really weird. You’ve had a hard day at work and there’s nothing better than popping up above the clouds.” (Take a look at a great video of his view in White Sands, NM, here).

 

He then added, “You can go somewhere without going somewhere. You’re really not there but the world is a totally different perspective.”

 

Drones allow an opportunity to see what you want to see. After an equally successful and enjoyable flight covering Puerto Rico in recent months, Johnson has his eyes set on flying Peru and Mount Rushmore next.

 

Johnson, his drone, and his HyperLink antennas aren’t slowing down anytime soon. 

 

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!

 

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. 

 

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. 


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