Friday, December 29, 2006

Coaxial cable

What is Coaxial Cable? (

Coaxial or Coax cable is so named because the signal inside the cable runs on two (co-) axies: the center conductor and the shield. This is a relatively old cabling technology that was originally developed for military use. Coax cables were found to be so durable and efficient at carrying all sorts of signal types from data, video, audio, and more, that the standard soon became commercialized. Today, coax remains a very popular cable assembly type for cable TV, antennas, high-end audio/video equipment, and security equipment.

Though there are a few standards of coax cable available on the market, L-com only really carries the "RG" styles. RG stands for radio guide, and each cable type is generally called by RG followed by a number indicating the standard number of the cable. That is sometimes followed by a letter to indicate a sub-standard, and then the letter "U" to indicate that the standard is universal. But all this doesn't help you figure out what kind of cable you need!

With coax, the application generally dictates the kind of cable. Video cables nearly always use 75 Ohm styles of cable. Data and antennas usually use 50 Ohm styles. The different styles may have different flexibilities, diameters, attenuation, jacket types, and other factors that make one cable the ideal fit.

If you have an application but don't know what cable you need, try giving us a call or emailing directly to our tech support group at You may also find our Coaxial Cabling Tutorial helpful, available free on our web site.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The holidays are drawing to a close, but L-com sales are still on!

Plenum Patch Cables (Fiber Optic and Ethernet UTP) Sell-Off (

As the year ends, we took a look around our massive warehouse and noticed many boxes of custom Plenum rated cable products built for one of our customers who didn't end up needing them. Well, we don't need them either, so we've decided to sell them at incredible prices just to give us more space!

The link to the items on sale is here:

Among the items are a variety of multimode and singlemode fiber optic patch cables, OFNP or Plenum rated, and various colors and lengths of Cat 5e and Cat 6 rated Plenum Ethernet cables. And the prices are so low, some of them are even cheaper than our PVC cables!

Along with that, the Overstock Sale that we started a couple of weeks ago is still going on, so check that out as well.

Hope your New Years is a happy and prosperous one!

Friday, December 22, 2006

L-com closed for Christmas

L-com Connectivity Products

Hope your holiday is bright and merry! We will be closed on Monday, December 25th, in observation of the Christmas holiday. Then there is one week left to the year and to the End Of Year sale that is still going on!

Merry Christmas

PS. If you haven't gotten your 2007 L-com Calendar FREE from us, yet, call your inside sales rep and ask them to send you one!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

IEEE-1394 cable assemblies (also known as FireWire)

Firewire cables and technology (

Firewire is an interface type that's been growing in popularity. Like USB, it is usually used to connect peripheral devices to computers, but it is also sometimes used to connect peripheral devices together with no computer in between. Because IEEE-1394 isn't asynchronous like USB is, you don't need a processor to manage the signals.

Does that mean that Firewire is "better" than USB? Not really, it's just different. Really, USB is far more popular right now, and maybe for that reason Firewire is often confused with USB.

Here in L-com's tech support department, we sometimes get the question, : "How do I convert USB to Firewire." But unfortunately, we don't know any easy way to do that. The problem is that USB is very different from Firewire, like two different languages. The cost to design a device that would convert one media to another is more expensive than the cost to just buy a Firewire PCI card and put it in your computer. So, if you have Firewire devices that you need to plug into a computer with only USB ports, you should probably consider getting a Firewire card to give you the proper ports.

There's been a lot of talk recently about the new Firewire 800 or IEEE-1394b standard and products for it. Right now, we're carrying an assortment of cable assemblies to meet the standard, and as demand grows we will add more products to support 800Mbps devices.

Friday, December 15, 2006

L-com's End of Year 2006 Sale!


Happy holidays to our blog readers and L-com customers! As a token of appreciation, our sales reps sent out the below email on Wednesday:


Happy Holidays and thank you for being an L-com customer! 2006 was a very successful year for me here at L-com, and I’m hoping it was a good year for you too.

Because I appreciate your business, I want to make sure you know about a special End Of Year Sale going on here. I picked a couple of items I thought might interest you, but if you want to see a complete list of many more items click here.

You can’t access this special sale list from our home page, so I’m sending you the link specifically by email. Copy and paste it into your browser:

If you want to discuss your projects or connectivity needs, please give me a call or send me an email! I look forward to working with you in the year to come. Have a happy and prosperous New Year!


L-com Sales Department

69% Off Regular Price!
60% Off Regular Price!
53% Off Regular Price!

I want to extend the same invitation to our blog readers! If there is anything we can do for you, let us know!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

What is GPIB (IEEE-488)?

L-com explains IEEE 488, also known as GPIB or HPIB

GPIB stands for General Purpose Interface Bus and is really a connectivity standard, known mostly by its IEEE file number: 488. Originally, this was a great way to connect machines because you could "daisy-chain" multiple GPIB cables together.

Nowadays, GPIB isn't used as much. However, there are still a lot of machines already in use, some of them very expensive or difficult to replace, that use the IEEE-488 interface. For that reason, GPIB cables, connectors, adapters, and other products are still in demand to keep these machines connected.

The IEEE-488 standard uses a "CN24" type connector, sometimes also called a Centronics 24, or a micro-miniature 24 pin connector. It has 24 pins arranged around a rectangular opening.

Most cables with this connector have both male and female interfaces at each end of the cable. This is how you can daisy-chain the cables together: by plugging the male end of the connector into a machine, you leave the female end exposed so you can plug another male cable into it. Usually the female side is in the same orientation as the male, called "normal orientation", but in cases where you want to daisy-chain in a straight line, it is usually best to get "reverse orientation" cables so you don't have to curve the cable up over the connector when you plug it in.

Of course, since there are so many newer bus standards, people are often looking for ways to convert GPIB to USB. L-com carries a GPIB to USB converter that can help you set up a laptop and plug it into machines that use the GPIB interface.

Because GPIB is such a rare interface nowadays, we often get questions about it, so please give us a call or send us an email if you want to learn more!

Monday, December 11, 2006

L-com Media Converters to change from one signal type to another

All about L-com Media Converters (

Sorry I haven't posted much in the past few days. We're closing in on the end of the year and working hard to be ready for our 25th Anniversary Year! But in the mean time, I'm back with a quick post about L-com's media converters.

Obviously, the point behind a media converter is to convert a media type. But what does that mean, exactly? Different types of media (or signal transmitting methods) come with different advantages and disadvantages.

For instance: fiber optic cables are immune to EMI and lightning strikes and can carry a signal a long distance, but they can be expensive and sensitive to shock and impact. Twisted pair cables tend to have a length limit of 100 meters and can't be bent or flexed too tight for fear of untwisting the pairs, but they can transmit at high speeds. Coaxial cables tend to be more robust than most other types of cables but they also tend to work at slower speeds.

Because a single cable run may go through multiple environments, it makes sense to convert the media as the environment requires to get maximum efficiency. Common media converters include fiber optic media converters, coax media converters, and interface converters. L-com also separates the converters we carry by manufacturer. If you don't know which manufacturer you prefer, try using our Ethernet Converter Wizard tool, or shop by converters, whichever is more convenient.

And, of course, if we can help you choose the best item, let us know!

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Monday, December 04, 2006

KVM Switches That Allow Multiple Monitors

AdderView Multiscreen Reverse KVM Switches (

KVM switches are a constant fascinations of our customers, it seems. They are both functional and empowering, allowing a user at a single workstation (consisting of a single monitor, mouse, and keyboard) to control several, independent computers. In some cases, users can control hundreds of computers this way without having them networked together.

But what happens when you want to share computers among several monitors? For instance, you could have different computers processing separate reports and want to monitor them at the same time.

AdderView has just such a switch that L-com resells for them. The Multiscreen KVMs allow up to 4 monitors to connect to two or four computers. Then, with a single keyboard and mouse to control them all, you can cycle through the active computers and look at each on a separate screen. The units allow hotkey switching, but also have the options of RS232 data commands or a remote controller. Need more monitors and computers? You can uplink several of these units using a "Smartview cable".

Of course, it's a little geeky in some situations, but don't you have any geeks on your Christmas list?

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Friday, December 01, 2006

L-com's new factory in SuZhou, China

L-com Opens a New Factory Overseas (

We were excited to read in Connector Specifier that Bel Fuse (who makes the Stewart brand modular connectors that we sell) had opened a massive factory in China. We don't have anything near that size, but we're pretty proud of our own new addition, which we announced just a few days before Connector Specifier ran Bel Fuse's announcement.

Of course, we make different sorts of products than Bel Fuse, too. We expect our factory to make cable assemblies, connectors, adapters, and more, saving you money and, hopefully, time. We're also looking forward to being better able to create innovative new products now that we have more full control over some of our overseas manufacturing.

Yes, we've always had control of our domestic manufacturing. As we mentioned when we talked about our domestic and overseas custom manufacturing capabilities, we have our own factory here in North Andover, Massachusetts. And that isn't changing at all. This is just the first time we've wholly owned a factory outside of the US.

So, though humbled by Bel Fuse's 15 acre plant, we're still very proud of our own facility and our industry-famous flexibility and capabilities. And we're always proud to serve you!

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