IoT: Making the World Safer

June 21, 2018 at 8:00 AM


We are living in exciting times. With the development of the IoT making it possible to connect devices and make smart homes, smart businesses, smart cars and smart cities, our world is evolving into an interconnected network designed to make life easier. In previous posts, we’ve explored the IoT and antennas, the Industrial IoT (IIoT) and how the IIoT is changing manufacturing. Aside from the business aspect of the IoT, is there a greater benefit to society? Here, we’ll look at how the IoT, and all of its things, can also be used to make the world safer.


Today, body cameras are offering a previously unseen view into the world of policing and social media allows for crimes to be publicly documented by anyone with a smartphone. Plus, cameras and surveillance systems are already being implemented in many cities to keep a watchful eye when law enforcement isn’t physically present. Take that a step further and there are technologies being introduced that are truly transformative. Intelligent roadway systems are being utilized to direct traffic flow and manage digital signs that provide information to drivers, all to help avoid accidents and make the roads safer. This same type of technology, along with GPS, can also allow first responders to better navigate through traffic and improve response times.


Furthermore, with the IoT, there is a huge amount of data being collected. All of this information can be used to analyze behavior and patterns and create algorithms to identify potential crimes before they occur. Everything from past criminal activity, behavior patterns, weather patterns, social media activity and gunshot sensors can be used to inform law enforcement and help prevent crimes from taking place, or lessen the effect of the event. In fact, some cities already have technology in place that uses sensors to detect a gunshot, determine the location of shots fired and deliver that information to law enforcement within one minute. Much like a fire alarm alerts of potential danger, this system alerts of a potential active shooter situation, notifies the police and provides real-time data on where shots were fired and the layout of the location.


Other technology making the world safer includes self-driving cars, which remove some element of human error and could eliminate the risk that goes along with high-speed chases. Also, drones can be used to provide aerial surveillance, assess and access areas that might be too dangerous for officers or first responders to enter blindly. GPS can be used to track where someone is in a building, making it easier to find people in the event of a fire, natural disaster or other emergency situation. Plus, health monitoring devices can provide information to first responders if a victim is unresponsive. These devices might even be able to detect a health issue before it occurs.


There are many ways that the IoT is changing the world for the better, including safety. By using IoT technology and connecting devices to allow people to navigate this world more safely, we all win.


Wizarding World of Our Product Wizards

June 14, 2018 at 8:00 AM


Have you ever felt overwhelmed while trying to find the right parts for your application? Ever felt lost in a world full of connector, cable, antenna, adapter and amplifier options? Have you ever dreamed of being able to find exactly the product you need with the click of a mouse or touch of the screen.  Fortunately, you don’t need a magic wand for your wish to come true, our product wizards are here to help with no magical powers necessary.  


We have designed 18 product wizards that, just like magic, are able to determine the exact product you need. With minimal input from you, these wizards can help you navigate through a plethora of product options, taking the guesswork out of finding what’s right for your application.


Our product wizards are simple and easy to use. For example, to determine the perfect antenna for your application, our antenna product wizard only has 4 questions before showing you all of your antenna options:


1.      Select antenna frequency


2.      Choose type of antenna



3.      Pick antenna gain



4.      Select antenna connector


5.      Then behold the magic of the product wizard



Here is list of our product wizard available to use anytime and free of charge:


·        Adapters

·        Amplifiers

·        Antennas

·        Cable Assemblies

·        Coax Lightning Protectors

·        Connectors

·        Ethernet Converters

·        Hubs or Switches

·        KVM Switches

·        Lightning Protectors

·        Network Interface Cards

·        Rack Panels

·        Signal Filters

·        Signal Splitters

·        Switch Boxes

·        Tools

·        Weatherproof Enclosures

·        Wireless Adapters


No matter what your application is, our product wizards have the power to make your product search much easier and provide you with exact results in a flash.


RF Coax Connector Guide

June 7, 2018 at 8:00 AM


When transmitting radio frequencies over cable, coaxial cables are a perfect fit. With shielding to efficiently carry radio signals, there is a coaxial cable for everything – from cable television to Wi-Fi to industrial and scientific measuring instruments, and every application in between. To maintain the frequency flow and shielding effect, the cables need to be joined by coaxial connectors. These connectors are small but are necessary to transmit signals and they need to match the specifications of the coaxial cable. For your convenience, we’ve compiled a guide to the most popular connector types.




BNC (Bayonet Neill-Concelman) connectors are one of the oldest connector types. They are round with a slotted mating collar and have a bayonet mechanism that is quick-fastening, secure and quick to disconnect. BNC connectors are used with coaxial cable in wireless antenna, television, radio, video, RF electronics and test instrument applications. These connectors are available with 50 or 75 Ohms of impedance. They are usually limited to a frequency of 4 GHz, but that can be increased with higher-quality models.



 Type-N, or N-Type, connectors are the largest RF connectors and are an ideal high-performance option. They are typically used with antennas, communications equipment, power transmitters, receivers and in general RF applications. Type-N connectors are typically rated up to 11 GHz, with higher powered models capable of performance of up to 18 GHz. They have a threaded coupling mechanism and are offered with 50 or 75 Ohm impedance.




TNC (Threaded Neill-Concelman) connectors are similar to BNC connectors except that instead of a slotted mating collar, they are threaded and screw-down to connect. When using BNC connectors, noise is frequently introduced into the transmission signal because if the bayonet fastening. TNC connectors solve that problem by screw-down connector, which allows them to perform better and at higher frequencies than BNC connectors. TNC connectors have an 11 GHz frequency limit and deliver 50 Ohm of impedance. TNC connectors are also available with reversed polarity (RP-TNC) which makes it more difficult to attach high-gain, professional-grade antennas to commercial-grade equipment.





The SMA (Sub-Miniature A) is a much smaller RF connector, approximately half the size of a BNC connector. With a diameter of 6.24 mm-7.9 mm, this connector is ideal for RF connectivity between microwave filters, oscillators, mixers, attenuators and boards. These connectors are rated up to 18 GHz, provide 50 Ohm of impedance and have a threaded coupling for a secure connection. Like RP-TNC connectors, reverse polarity SMA (RP-SMA) connectors were also designed to make it more challenging for consumers to connect larger, more powerful, and potentially illegal, antennas.




Last, but not least on our list, is the SMB (Sub-Miniature B) connector. With a diameter of only 2.2mm-3mm, these are even smaller than SMA connectors, and are small enough to be used with equipment for inter-board or assembly connections. SMB connectors are generally used in GPS, telephone and CATV applications. They use a snap-on fastening system for easy mating and un-mating, are offered with an impedance level of either 50 or 75 Ohm and have a frequency limit of 4 GHz.



How Data Centers Can Prepare for a Natural Disaster

May 31, 2018 at 8:00 AM


We’ve learned that the Cloud isn’t actually floating in the sky, it’s actually thousands of data centers full of servers that store and transmit all of the data we use every day. But what happens when a data center is affected by a natural disaster? In this post, we’ll take a look at what defensive strategies are used to keep our data safe and our cloud aloft, even in the worst circumstances.


From blizzards and hurricanes to floods and fires, we seem to have seen a large number of natural disasters in recent history. Fortunately, data centers are prepared with plans to maintain Internet connections and keep your data accessible even in the worst conditions. By having preparedness plans in place, staff willing to stay at their posts and generators to provide power, key data centers can withstand record-breaking hurricanes and even serve as evacuation shelters for citizens and headquarters for law enforcement.


Here are some ways data centers can prepare for natural disasters:


Make a Plan

The best line of defense is having a good offense - having a plan in place, testing that plan, having a plan B for when that plan fails and then being ready to improvise. When it comes to Mother Nature, even the most prepared have to roll with the punches as things change.


Build a Fortress

The ideal structure to house your data center will be impenetrable. That might be too much to ask, but newly constructed buildings can be made to withstand earthquakes, flood, fire or explosion. The addition of shatterproof/explosive-proof glass, reinforced concrete walls and being in a strategic location outside flood zones can also provide an extra layer of protection.


These additional precautions might not be possible in older buildings, but there are still steps you can take to help protect your data center:


·       Move hardware to a safer location if possible:

    - Ideally, a data center should be away from windows, in the               center of a building and above ground level

    - Higher floors are better, except in an earthquake zone, then               lower floors are safer

·       Install pumps to remove water and generators to keep the pumps          running

·       If there are windows, remove objects that could become airborne

·       Fire extinguishing systems should be checked regularly


Redundancy is Key

Hosting all data in one place is opening the door for disaster. A safer option is to host it in multiple locations at redundant centers that can back each other up if disaster strikes one or more facilities. These centers don’t have to be on opposite ends of the world, but putting them in different geographic regions is probably the safest bet. They should be far enough apart that one disaster won’t take them all out.


Back That Data Up

If there’s no time to back up data to the Cloud, making a physical backup of the data and sending it with someone who’s evacuating is a good second option.


Natural disasters are unavoidable, and the most important asset to keep safe is always the people working inside the data center, but with a plan in place to keep Mother Nature at bay, you might be able to salvage the data center too.


IEEE-488 the Intrepid Interface

May 24, 2018 at 8:00 AM


Developed by Hewlett Packard in the 1960s, IEEE-488 was designed to easily interconnect controllers and instruments.  Originally named HP-IB (Hewlett Packard Interface Bus), and now largely known as GPIB (general purpose interface bus), the interface was adopted and renamed by various institutions and standards bodies including the IEEE, which named it IEEE-488. No matter what you call it, this die-hard interface has endured throughout the years and is still widely used.  


The basic concept of IEEE-488 is an extremely flexible system that allows data to be transmitted between any instrument on the bus. It has a 24-pin connector and is double-headed, both ends of the cable are used, with female on one end and male on the other. There are 16 signal lines, eight for bi-directional communication, five for bus management and three lines are used for handshakes.


The speed of the data flow is determined by the slowest active instrument and the max data rate is around 1 Mbps. As many as 15 instruments can be connected on a bus with a maximum total length of 20 meters and no more than 2 meters between two adjacent instruments. Active extenders can be used to create longer buses that can connect up to 31 devices.


The way the IEEE-488 operates is that each instrument on the bus has a unique address and no two instruments can have the same address. The connected equipment is allocated into three categories, with some items serving more than one function (i.e. listener/talker):


  • · Controller – The controller is in charge of controlling the operation of the bus. This device, usually a computer, instructs the other instruments to perform in their various roles. The controller also makes sure that there aren’t any conflicts on the bus. For example, if two talkers talk at the same time, data would be corrupted and the system operation would be compromised. Several controllers can share the same bus, but only be one can be active at a time.


  • · Listener – A listener is connected to and accepts instructions from the bus. One example would be a printer that only accepts information.


  • · Talker – A talker returns data and instructions to the bus. For example, a meter being used on the bus would be a talker when it’s providing data.


Today, IEEE-488 is the most common communication interface for scientific and engineering instruments, it is also used in a wide range of applications including data acquisition. Most bench instruments accept IEEE-488 as a standard fitting or as an option to make it easy to use test equipment in various applications, aside from only being used in an ATE test stack. Though the interface is not standard on today’s computers, a GPIB card can be easily installed. Because of its flexibility and convenience, IEEE-488 and is still widely used today and will likely remain relevant for years to come.


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