It's All About Time: Time-sensitive Networking

February 7, 2019 at 8:00 AM

 

In today’s fast paced world, we’ve all got places to go – and quickly. Thus, the demand for reliable transportation has grown along with urbanization and transit companies’ desire for efficient and cost-effective business. Previously, we’ve discussed how technology is changing transportation and modern day wireless railways. Today, we’re going to take a closer look at another technology changing transportation: time-sensitive networking.

 

Time-sensitive networking (TSN) is an extension and update to the IEEE Ethernet standards 802.1 and 802.3 that are intended to standardize Ethernet technology for control systems. TSN is a groundbreaking technology that offers deterministic, timed messaging over Ethernet for train-to-ground communication. It is centrally managed and ensures delivery with reduced jitter by utilizing time scheduling for real-time applications that require determinism. This technology will allow operations networks to utilize the benefits of traditional Ethernet while also fulfilling the timing and control demands of control and measurement applications.  

 

TSN eliminates the need for multiple networks by leveraging existing Ethernet networks to prioritize transmissions that are critical to safety over non-critical data. This feature provides enhanced interoperability and cost savings by reducing the amount of physical network components needed. Though TSN is not a protocol, but an extension of the Ethernet standard, it benefits from growing improvements in Ethernet security, bandwidth and additional capabilities to hold an advantage over standard and specialty Ethernet protocols.

 

Some of the biggest advantages of TSN include safer rides for both passengers and rail operators by allowing real-time delivery of safety messages. Clearer communication and accurate delivery of information allows for trains to run more efficiently and move more passengers. In addition to faster, safer rides, passengers will have a better trip experience with TSN’s reliable Ethernet network to keep them connected during the ride.

 

In addition to rail transportation networks, there are other applications and industries that could benefit from TSN. These include test cells and distributed monitoring which require sensor readings from multiple locations, all of which need to be linked in time. Hardware in the loop (HIL) could also use TSN since it often needs closely coordinated measurements in addition to distributed closed loop control. Machine control systems also use control networks that need synchronized measurements and actions that are highly time-sensitive. Additionally, auto makers are beginning to integrate Ethernet into vehicles to deliver more bandwidth and quicker response, and media networking can use TSN to transmit audio and video data that requires a stringent timing schedule.

 

As the world of rail and transportation and Ethernet networks continue to evolve, TSN has much to offer to help advance operations and usher in the next age of Ethernet technology.

 

All About USB 3.2

January 10, 2019 at 8:00 AM

 

We’ve discussed the difference between USB 3.1 Gen 1 vs. Gen 2, but now comes the next level for Universal Serial Bus - USB 3.2. What makes this newest USB standard stand out? First and foremost are increased bandwidth and USB Type-C connector and cable support. Here, we’ll take a look at all the specs, so you’ll know all about USB 3.2.

 

While USB 3.1 Gen 1 brought 5 Gbps and Gen 2 doubled that to 10 Gbps speeds, USB 3.2 then doubles down again to offer 20 Gbps speeds – the most notable feature of the new standard. The way it provides those speeds is a little different though. USB 3.2 utilizes what is being called multi-lane operation, where devices use two lanes of 5 Gbps or 10 Gbps running together to transfer data at the same time over extra wires inside the USB cables. This allows for a cumulative data transfer rate of 10 Gbps to 20 Gbps.

 

What does this new standard mean for older USB cables? Fortunately, the new standard will be backward compatible with older standards. Even more fortunately, if the host and recipient devices are USB 3.2 compatible, older USB cables will also see a boost in speeds as great as 2 Gbps. USB 3.2 will also support USB-C connectors and their features such as power delivery, alternate modes, and digital audio, video and data on the same cable.

 

Overall, the new USB 3.2 standard is a big upgrade in terms of speed, but otherwise, it’s not a huge shift – which might be good news for those not ready to replace all of their older USB equipment. Though faster speeds are always good news, so this update is sure to be a welcomed change.

 

Readers’ Choice -Top Blog Posts of 2018

December 20, 2018 at 8:00 AM

 

Our goal for this blog is to provide interesting and informative content for our readers. So we always enjoy taking a look back at the end of the year to see what the most popular posts were. To make sure you didn’t miss anything, here’s a list of the most read posts of 2018. We hope to see you back in 2019!

 

 

1.      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.

 

 

2.      10 of the Worst Cabling Nightmares

 

We pride ourselves on our commitment to provide the best connectivity solutions for our customers, helping them to manage their data centers. So it always comes as a shock when we see cabling infrastructure that is a complete nightmare. This post has some of the worst offenders we’ve seen on the web. Read more.

 

 

3.      The Advantages and Disadvantages of Shielded Ethernet Cable

 

When it comes to shielded Ethernet cable, there are pros and cons. This post takes a look at both the good and the bad to help you weigh your options. For example, shielding can offer protection from EMI/RFI but its weight and limited flexibility means it’s not ideal for every application. To help decide if shielded Ethernet cable is right for your installation, read the post.

 

 

4.      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.

 

 

5.      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.

 

Case Study: Performance Motion Devices

December 6, 2018 at 8:00 AM

 

Performance Motion Devices (PMD) is a global leader in the arena of motion control ICs, drives, cards and software. They specialize in supplying OEM customers with high-performance, cost-effective motion systems for medical devices, robotics, test instrumentation and industrial automation industries, to mention a few.

 

The company was in need of a new supplier for a 100-position SCSI cable used with one of their motion controller interface cards after their current supplier increased pricing. This type of cable is not only uncommon, it’s also difficult to build, but PMD needed the cables quickly and needed them to meet the company’s cost and technical requirements. Luckily, L-com was just the manufacturing partner for the job.

 

L-com’s engineering team got to work and was able to quickly and successfully design a custom 100-Position SCSI interface cable with a rugged, molded back-shell. They were even able to add a few design tweaks to make the cables’ appearance more appealing. Plus, the team at L-com was able to meet all of PMD’s design requirements in the time frame given and on budget. Overall, this project was a successful study in how L-com’s engineering and Product Management teams were capable of stepping up to meet the challenge to fulfill their customers’ needs.

 

To read the entire case study click here.

 

5 Tips for Building a Modern Data Center

November 8, 2018 at 8:00 AM

 

The world of technology is always changing, and the same goes for data centers too. Data centers play a critical role in networking and have evolved to allow businesses better access to their data with improved usability while being easier to manage. Now, they must also adapt to be cost-effective, efficient and responsive with the technology they support. Accelerating business demands beg for more storage and resources, and new technologies require improved infrastructure. Gone are the days of bigger is better, what we need now are smarter, more efficient, easier to manage and scalable data centers. Here are 5 ways to usher in the modernization of the data center:

 

1.      Make Appliances Multi-Task

 

Instead of having dedicated resources for only one purpose, combining the computing and storage capabilities of devices into one makes data centers more economical and efficient.  This allows the data center to be designed with a single tier that can fulfill all of the server and storage needs of any application. Plus, it improves scalability without acquiring additional or specialized equipment.

 

2.      Flexibility is Key

 

Being nimble and flexible are important qualities to have in today’s world of technology, and that applies to data centers too. A modular data center design is more flexible, simpler and allows for easy additions/removals as needed, which allows for better management of resources. One approach that’s gaining traction is combining storage and computing tiers into a single appliance (as referenced in tip #1), the overall data center design is streamlined  into a single console which makes management easier than ever.

 

3.      Consumer Focus

 

In addition to multi-tasking and flexibility, data centers also have to be more resilient and reliable than before. Today’s data centers have to support traditional technology as well as newer virtual desktops infrastructures (VDI) and mobile devices. This has led to a more consumer-focused approach that allows employees to access desktops, applications and data from within the data center via any device, anywhere. This modern approach also allows IT admins to better manage a rage of consumer-based workload demands as well as VDI systems, storage data services and existing virtual applications.

 

4.      Cloud Fusion

 

To be able to keep essential business applications safe within a private data center, while also being able to access the public cloud for other things, hybrid clouds are the way to go. Hybrid cloud environments are able to offer the best of both worlds by fusing the public cloud benefits of on-demand resource-sharing with multiple users, with the security, service and performance of private clouds. It’s a win-win.

 

5.      Continuation of Service

 

Most data centers have a plan for disaster recovery, but what about an interruption of service or latency issue? Users are accustomed to being able to access their data quickly and whenever they need it, a connection slowdown, or complete shutdown, can lead to employees using unauthorized cloud-based services. Thus, in addition to a disaster recovery, admins should have a plan to provide service continuity as well. This means designing data centers to be easily available with high-bandwidth and low round-trip times. Distributing applications across multiple sites, geographic regions or data centers can also be helpful, plus it improves scalability and performance.

 

As with everything in the world of technology, there are always upgrades to be made, and data centers are not immune to the need for improvement. With a few tweaks and a slightly different perspective, data centers can modernize their operations to best support the needs of today’s users.

 

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