Industry Overview: Enterprise Networks

February 15, 2018 at 8:00 AM

 

In this week’s post we will take a look at the main areas or segments of an Enterprise communications network.

 

Data Centers/Main Distribution Frame (MDF)

 

Data centers (sometimes referred to as main distribution frames) are a crucial part of many businesses and institutions. The MDF is where the connection from the Telco or carrier typically enters the building. Many times the MDF is located in the basement or first floor of a building. The MDF usually houses server racks, patch panels, Ethernet routers and switches and uninterruptable power supplies (UPS). In a multi-floor building, the MDF is usually attached to the floor(s) above it via fiber optic cabling supporting many Gigabits of throughput per second to offer voice, video and data services to hundreds of users in the building.

 

Here is an example of a typical data center configuration:

 


Intermediate Distribution Frame (IDF)

 

An Intermediate Distribution Frame (IDF) is the area where the MDF connects to on each floor of a building. Depending on the size of the building and number of users, the IDF can be thought of a small MDF used to serve users on the floor it is located on.

 

The IDF is typically made up of an equipment rack(s), fiber and copper cabling, patch panels, Ethernet switches and UPS systems

 

Here is an example:

 

L-com stocks a wide range of components and solutions to keep your enterprise network connected. To read and download our Enterprise Network Overview PDF click here.

 

The Downside of Big Data

February 8, 2018 at 8:00 AM

 

Big Data is all the rage right now and is the driving force behind a lot of new technologies breaking barriers today, including data science, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT). Even though big data may help us to achieve medical breakthroughs, explore far away galaxies, plan and prepare for natural disasters and even feed the hungry, there are still some downfalls. Along with the insights and opportunities that come with all this data being collected, there are some significant issues that need to be recognized.

 

The first issue is privacy. The big data being collected contains a good deal of personal, private information about our lives and we are entitled to keep that information private. With so many apps and services being offered that use big data, it is becoming increasingly difficult to determine who should be able to access to our data and how much we should divulge. Finding a balance between accessing the benefits of big data while still maintaining some type of anonymity is an issue worth discussing.

 

Secondly, data security concerns are growing as fast as the big data industry. The high-profile data breaches last year brought to light how important it is to secure our data. Can we truly trust anyone to keep our data safe? If a trusted source is breached, sensitive information ending up in the wrong hands can deeply impact our lives for years to come. Plus, is the legal system equipped to regulate data use at this large scale and if our data is compromised, can appropriate legal action be taken?

 

 

One more area of concern is data discrimination. With all this data available, how will it be used, and will people be discriminated against based on the data collected? For example, credit scores are used to determine who can get a loan and we’ve seen that those can be compromised, which can have devastating effects on people’s lives. The insurance industry also relies heavily on data to determine coverage and rates, meaning people could be charged more or denied coverage based on these reports. Increased detail in the data collected will also increase scrutiny from companies. Steps might need to be taken to ensure that resources or opportunities aren’t taken away from those who have fewer options and less access to information.

 

Overall, big data is making a lot of big advances in the technology industry. Care might need to be taken that this data is used in the proper way, that private matters are kept private, that people’s data is secure and that regulations are in place.

 

RF Frequencies 101

February 1, 2018 at 8:00 AM

 

RF, radio frequency, is an electromagnetic wave between 1 MHz and 3 GHz used in wireless networks to transmit video, voice and data. They can also be used for AM radio broadcasting, navigational beacons and shortwave radio. Waves from 3 GHz to 30 GHz are microwave frequencies used for FM radio, aviation communications, radar and satellite links. Millimeter wave frequencies range from 30 GHz to 300 GHz and are used to transmit large amounts of data and simultaneous voice or video. RF waves can be transmitted through different media such as coaxial cable, a circuit board or through an antenna.

 

There are three main factors to consider for RF waves: frequency, wavelength and Hertz. Frequency is the number of electromagnetic wave cycles that pass a specific point per unit of time. Wavelength is the distance after which the electromagnetic wave fields repeat themselves. Hertz is a measurement of the wave cycles per second.

 

           1 Hertz (Hz)              =      1 wave/ 1 second

                                           1 Kilohertz (kHz)        =      1 thousand waves/ 1 second

                                           1 Megahertz (MHz)     =      1 million waves/ 1 second

                                           1 Gigahertz (GHz)      =      1 billion waves/ 1 second

 

To get the full picture, and for a handy reference, here is a chart of RF frequencies:

 

 

For more information on RF frequencies used in wireless networks, check out some of our other blog posts: RF Antenna FAQs and Wireless Infrastructure 101.

 

Hot off the Presses - L-com’s 2018 Master Catalog

January 25, 2018 at 8:00 AM

 

The big reveal is here and we’re ready to share our 2018 Wired & Wireless Product Guide full of thousands of products including many new and best-selling items. Long regarded as a valuable resource for technicians, engineers and educators, L-com’s master catalog is packed with tips, tutorials, full-color product images and more, making it an excellent reference guide and educational tool.

 

Here are some of the new products featured this year:

·       M12 Ethernet Cabling for Harsh Environments

·       Continuous Flex Industrial Cables

·       HDMI High Flex Cables

·       Outdoor-Rated Ethernet Assemblies

·       Premium Panel Mounted Mini Coupler Kits

·       IP68-Rated Ruggedized LC Plugs and Receptacles

·       USB 3.1 Adapters

·       Category-Rated IP67 Bulkhead Shielded Panel Mount Couplers with Dust Cap

·       Heated 14x12x6 Enclosures

 

Getting a copy of our Wired & Wireless Product Guide is easy, simply fill out our online product guide request form and we will mail it to you straight away. You can also view this year’s catalog as a flip book or download pages from the product guide as PDFs.

 

Antennas & the IoT

January 11, 2018 at 8:00 AM

 

With all the excitement surrounding the development of the IoT, there is one important part that can’t be overlooked – the antenna. Antennas are integral to implementation of the IoT. Connecting all of the physical objects that make up the IoT requires antennas transmitting a massive amount of data. Thus, without antennas, there would be no IoT.

 

As IoT use increases, so does the demand for more antennas that meet the needs of IoT applications and meet the expectations of users. Thus, antenna manufacturers and designers have had a voice in the development of IoT devices and are meeting the call for antennas that are up to the task.

 

Here are some of the ideal traits for antennas designed for IoT applications:

 

Small Form Factor – One of the biggest trends in IoT antennas is smaller form factors. As IoT devices are being implemented in more industries, manufacturers are looking to shrink device footprint. And as devices get smaller, so must the antennas. These small form factor antennas include embedded antennas, PCB antennas and chip antennas.

 
High-Performance – Designers have been working to deliver small antennas without sacrificing performance capabilities because demand for speed and capacity is also growing. Even if the device is the size of a coin, its antenna still needs to meet high-performance standards.
 
Cost-Effective – Adding antennas onto all of these devices can be costly. As device demand increases, manufacturers have begun looking for antennas that will be economic to use on the devices. 
 
Beyond being small, powerful and cost-effective, there are some other areas of antenna technology that are emerging with the development of the IoT. These include:
 
Two antennas – While two antennas will not be necessary for MIMO communications with lower category LTE devices, two antennas will be needed for Cat4 and above in order to meet requirements for higher speed and throughput systems. LTE cellular networks will also continue to use two cellular antennas to fully achieve high-speed performance.
 
MU-MIMO – Multi-User Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MU-MIMO) has breathed new life into Wi-Fi by allowing multiple devices to communicate with the access point at the same time. This has made a significant improvement to wireless network throughput and impacted dense, high-capacity networks.
 
Low-Power – Low-power technologies, such as ISM-band solutions, are being developed to provide longer battery life for devices and allow long-range communications at a low-bit rate. Plus, smartphone technologies such as Bluetooth Low-Energy (BLE) are being adapted to be utilized in IoT applications.
 
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