Case Study: Lineage Logistics

May 10, 2018 at 8:00 AM

 

As the second largest cold storage thrid-party provider in the US, Lineage Logistics provides cold storage solutions for leading grocery, food and retail  companies.

 

During a wireless network roll-out in their warehouses, Lineage Logistics needed to add multiple access points inside refrigeration units with temperatures as low as -40 degrees. The company’s engineers had designed a wireless access point that fulfilled the needs of the project, but wasn’t able to function unprotected in the cold temperatures.

 

Lineage Logistics began searching for an enclosure that would protect their access point, offer Power over Ethernet (PoE) over a single cable and meet cost requirements.

 

After rejecting a competitor’s offering, as it didn’t fully meet the requirements, Lineage Logistics came to L-com for help. Our team was able to develop a comprehensive solution that met all their needs. We created a custom NEMA enclosure that could house the access point and provide plently of room if adjustments were needed. We were also able to save Lineage Logistics time and money on installation by mounting the access points in the enclosures and providing all required cabling and antennas.

  

L-com was able to not only meet, but surpass this client’s expectations with the perfect solution to their problem.

 

To read the full case study, click here.

 

How Tech is Changing Transportation

April 19, 2018 at 8:00 AM

 

These days, it’s hard to find a part of our everyday lives that’s not being transformed in some way by technology. Transportation is no different. Driverless cars have been at the forefront of most transportation technology discussions lately, but do you know other ways that tech is changing how we get from point A to point B? Here, we’ll take a look at some of the ways technology is changing the transportation industry.

 

Rail

 

Railways are one of the oldest forms of transportation still used today. At their inception, trains were a groundbreaking way for people to get back and forth for everyday commutes, to explore places they’d never been and to transport goods at speeds that were unheard of at the time. Rail systems are still used today for many of the same reasons, but they are much smarter. Today’s rail yards have wired and wireless technology that allows for communication throughout the rail yard to provide security, control and real-time data collection.

 

RFID technology has also been put in place to modernize asset management in rail yard operations. Instead of employees walking from one car to another, manually recording inventory, today’s systems use electronic scanners to record asset information accurately and without the variable of human error. This data is then sent back to a central office where assets can be monitored in real time.

 

Technology is also being used to make rail travel safer by using wayside monitoring applications to record real-time data such as speed, time of passing and track conditions. This critical information is used for real-time scheduling and to generate safety alerts.

 

Roadways

 

Until all of those self-driving cars get on the road, and possibly still after, making roadways safer is another way technology is affecting the transportation industry. In tunnels, cellular and Wi-Fi service are provided by antennas while IP cameras connect to an Ethernet network. These cameras provide real time surveillance to a tunnel control center, so traffic and safety concerns can be monitored live. Digital signs are also connected to the Ethernet network, allowing them to be controlled remotely.

 

Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) use wired and wireless technology to control roadway traffic signals and vehicle and pedestrian safety systems. These systems utilize technology to manage traffic flow and ease congestion on the roads. Roadway security and overall safety is also improved with IP cameras and traffic sensors providing live surveillance and control.

 

With the use of wireless technology, roadside digital signs are able to deliver real time messaging along roadways with live updates being delivered from a central control office. These messages can include weather updates, traffic and road condition alerts and information on alternate routes, all of which can make travel easier, more efficient and save lives.

 

Maritime

 

An entire ship, including every part of shipboard communications and surveillance, can be managed via a central management station by using an Ethernet network and Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP). 

 

IP cameras are used for monitoring, cables connect propulsion and steering systems to a controller, and antennas allow for voice and data communications and RFID management of cargo containers.

 

To load and unload ships, modern seaport terminals use automated crane systems to save freight companies millions of dollars in labor, maintenance and repairs. Computers are housed in a secure location, connected to Ethernet networks and used to control the cranes. This wireless network allows remote control over operations without the cost of running cables.

 

On the dock, keeping track of personnel, assets and ground support vehicles is made easier with wireless communications. Antennas allow for communication with the central operations command center. They also support Intermodal container RFID tracking systems which enable wireless devices to quickly and accurately process container and inventory information in real-time. With cellular and Wi-Fi communication between crews, freight companies can save money and increase security by eliminating the need for traditional radio communications.

 

For an in-depth look at what L-com products are being used to deliver technology to the transportation industry, click here.

 

LoRaWAN and the IoT

April 5, 2018 at 8:00 AM

 

As the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to grow, new technology to foster its growth also emerges. One example is LoRaWAN.

 

LoRaWAN was developed by the LoRa Alliance as a way to standardize the global deployment of low-power, wide-area networks (LPWAN) to enable the IoT. LoRaWAN is a LPWAN specification designed for wireless, battery operated devices in a regional, national or global network. The focus of LoRaWAN is fulfilling key requirements of the IoT with secure, bi-directional communication, mobility and localization services.

 

LoRaWAN is a media access control (MAC) payer protocol made for large-scale public networks with a single operator. This specification allows for interoperability between smart Things without complicated local installations, which offers more freedom for users, developers and businesses, and enables easier implementation of the IoT. The low power wide-area networks used in the LoRaWAN specification are able to provide low data rate, low cost, long battery life and long range – all of which is ideal for IoT devices. Plus, the simple star network architecture means there are no repeaters and no mesh routing complexity.

 

How does it work? LoRaWAN is a star network and the way it operates is somewhat simple. The gateway communicates messages between the end-devices, and vice versa, through single-hop wireless communication. There is also a network server in the background that is connected to the gateway via a standard IP connection. With this standard, end-point communication is usually bi-directional, though LoRaWAN also supports mass distribution messages to decrease on air communication time. Communication between gateways and end-devices is distributed between different data rates and frequency channels, which helps to avoid interference. Data rates with LoRaWAN range from 0.3 kbps to 50 kbps. The LoRaWAN server manages the data rate and RF output for each device with an adaptive data rate scheme, this maximizes battery life of the end-devices and network capacity. LoRaWAN also provides extra security with several layers of encryption, which is necessary for nation-wide networks designed for IoT use. These layers of protection consist of a unique network key (EUI64) for a secure network, a unique application key (EUI64) for end-to-end security on an application level and a device specific key (EUI128).

 

There are three different classes of LoRaWAN end-point devices:

 

  • ·       Class A - Bi-directional end-devices: This class of end-devices are capable of bi-directional communications, this means the after the uplink transmission of each device there are two short downlink receive windows. These end-devices follow an ALOHA-type protocol where the transmission scheduled is mostly based on the communication needs of the end-device, with some times chosen randomly. The Class A operations system provides the lowest power option for applications that only need downlink communication from the server after an uplink transmission has been sent by the end-device.

 

  • ·       Class B – Bi-directional end-devices with scheduled receive slots: Class B devices unlock additional receive windows at scheduled times, in addition to random receive windows like Class A. To open the receive window at a scheduled time, the end-device receives a time synchronized beacon from the gateway which alerts the server of when the end-device is listening.

 

  • ·       Class C – Bi-directional end-devices with maximal receive slots: Class C end-devices have receive windows that are almost always open, only closing when a transmission is in progress.

 

As IoT use increases, LoRaWAN provides a low data rate, low cost option making it easier to connect Things locally or globally, all while providing long battery life and long range.

 

5 Technologies Changing the World

March 23, 2018 at 10:00 AM

 

In this age of technological advancement, the world is changing faster than ever. In fact, it’s hard to find an industry or area of our lives that hasn’t been touched by some type of technology. Here, we’ll take a look at some of the biggest technological advancements that are changing the world around us.

 

Clean Energy

 

As more data is showing that the Earth is getting warmer, there is more attention being paid to clean energy as a real solution. In the past, attempts to combat climate change by implementing clean energy has been a hard sell. But scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs have been hard at work creating new options that make clean energy convenient and cost-effective. Since 1977, the price of solar cells has dropped 99.5% as a result of technological and manufacturing advances in clean energy. At this rate, it’s possible that solar will soon cost less than fossil fuels. The cost of wind energy has also dropped dramatically and represents one-third of newly installed US energy capacity in the last decade. Wired and wireless networks are being built to support the energy industry as more countries and organizations are taking advantage these cost savings and moving towards clean energy, a trend that could have a big impact on the world.

 

Computerized Medicine


The role of wired and wireless technology and computers in medicine is expanding from record keeping to applied technologies that are leading to medical breakthroughs. Data analysis software is analyzing genetic sequencing to detect things like cancer and help determine the best course of treatment. Technology is aiding in huge advancements in prosthetic limbs and brain-to-machine interfaces will soon allow prosthetics to be controlled by our thoughts. Computers are also becoming more proficient at diagnosing diseases. Recently, an artificial intelligence system used patterns in 20 million cancer records to make a diagnosis that doctors weren’t able to make. Furthermore, it is expected that in 10-15 years we will be able to reverse paralysis with brain implants that will restore movement taken away by spinal cord injuries.  

 

3D Printing

 

There is a lot to like about 3D printers, they open up a new world of possibilities. 3D printers allow designers, engineers or consumers to take a design directly from their computer and make it into a physical object. From creating product parts without the cost of tooling, to prosthetic limbs, toys and even food, the possibilities of a 3D printer span as far as the imagination can dream. And with the price of 3D printers dropping dramatically, those possibilities will be open to more and more people, creating an expanded realm of innovation like we’ve never seen before.

 

Self-Driving Vehicles

 

Over the next 2-4 years, self-driving cars are expected to become a mainstream mode of transportation and reshape the world. There are already self-driving cars on the road that are safer than human-driven cars in most conditions. With cars being the leading cause of death for people ages 15-29 years old, a safer car could save a lot of lives.  Most self-driving cars will be used continuously through a ride-hailing app, Lyft is using them already in Boston. This would drastically reduce the need for parking spaces which take up 20-30% of usable space in most cities. Furthermore, the idea of cars communicating with one another to avoid accidents and alleviate traffic jams, all while allowing human riders to spend commuting time interacting with one another, working or studying, will truly be revolutionary.

 

Artificial Intelligence and Automation


Most people have had an experience with an automation in the form of an automated customer service system when calling a company or office. Those types of systems, which can be very frustrating at times, are going to become more prevalent. Fortunately, they’re also going to get much better. Smart devices will also be able to make better, more accurate suggestions and recommendations by learning humans’ patterns and preferences with increased automation. We are likely to see more automation and artificial intelligence (AI) infiltrating more and more industries. From manufacturing to fast food to journalism, more jobs will become fully or partially automated. We could see self-serve food kiosks in the near future and automated drones are already being tested to make deliveries. With all of these technological advancements comes a fear of lack of interpersonal communication, but hopefully with more services being automated, humans will take advantage of having more time to interact with one another.

 

White Paper: Wireless Antenna Mounting

March 15, 2018 at 8:00 AM

 

The key to any wireless network is the wireless antenna. It is the hub to which all other parts rely. When determining the right antenna for your application, you must first consider the best location for your antenna, then you have to figure out how to mount that antenna. Our white paper takes an in-depth look at different antenna mounting options for directional and Omni-directional antennas.  

 

Here are some of the common installation options covered for antennas and access points:

 

NEMA Enclosure Mounting:

  •       -   Typical configurations run a pigtail cable from the access point or radio to a bulkhead N-female adapter or coax lightning protector, then attach the antenna directly to the adapter or lightning protector
  •       -   Antennas can also be mounted remotely

 

Pole Mounting:

      -  Using rugged, clamp-style mounting brackets included with most of L-com’s Omni-directional antennas

      -  Upper and lower articulated clamp mounts used with sector-style antennas

      -  Yagi and patch-style antennas use tilt and swivel clamp mounting systems

 

Side of Building Mounting:

      -  HGX-UMOUNT can be used to mount antennas to the side, roof parapet or under the roof eaves of a building.

 

Mobile Mounting:

      -  Several options are available for mobile mounting, including magnetic mounts, NMO bulkhead-style mounts and using a CA-AM1RSPA010 mobile mounting cable

 

Window Mounting:

      -  Suction cups can be used for window mounting

 

Outdoor Access Point Mounting:

      -  Pole mounting or wall mounting are typically utilized for access points

      -  A NEMA enclosure might be needed to protect the access point, surge protectors etc.

 

Click here to read our Wireless Antenna and Access Point Mounting white paper.

 

All our free white papers are available from our website by clicking here.

 

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