Thursday, December 27, 2012

Low Smoke Zero Halogen Overview

LSZH Jackets

( Smoke image from

Our friends at Anixter published a great whitepaper recently on Low Smoke Zero Halogen (LSZH) in the cabling industry.  If you haven't seen it, it is listed on Cabling Installation & Maintenance's website here.  Of course, we can't say it better than they just did, but we wanted to give a brief overview of what LSZH is for those who work in our industry but don't know much about it (yet). 

LSZH is a compound used to make the jackets of certain signal-grade cables.  Most cables have always been and are still made with a polyvinyl chloride (PVC) jacket.  The PVC used on cables is a soft, flexible, durable plastic material that protects the copper wire within from shorts, corrosion, and most kinks.  It is also relatively cheap, and in most cases has no disadvantages.

So, if you just need a patch cable or a USB cable for a general application, PVC is probably what you'll get and is fine.

However, there are limits to the applications of PVC. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Helpful Features of CPE Wireless Access Points

Wireless Access Point CPE's

( L-com's CPE Units Are Feature Packed, Convenient, and Cost Effective

There are a lot of wireless applications out there today, with more uses for wireless connectivity springing up all the time. The problem is that as applications expand into more and more unique needs and environments, the wireless access points that worked for one application may not work for another.  That forces you to buy a range of equipment to cover all the different places and setups that you are going to need.

There are a few all-in-one solutions, though, like the L-com CPE units.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Power over Ethernet (PoE): A Modern Solution

The evolving standards of PoE

( Part of L-com's diagram showing two of the four PoE system models

The IEEE standards for providing PoE have been around for almost a decade now, but the actual technology to accomplish this is even older.  The original concept was pretty simple: Category 5 cabling has eight conductors, but the standard really only used four of them.  The low-voltage power could be run along the unused conductors to provide enough power for most simple devices. Through the use of an "injector" at one end and a "tap" at the other end, the power could travel along without noticeable problems with the data. Within a few years, manufacturers of many different types of IP equipment began implementing designs that would accept power directly from the cable, eliminating the need for a "tap".  Next, manufacturers of the Ethernet switching equipment developed PoE Injector Hubs to directly inject the power into the cable, eliminating the need for an "injector".  But there were three big problems:

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Weatherproof Enclosures for All Types of Weather

Applications for Weatherproof Enclosures

( Diagram of a PoE Powered Weatherproof Enclosure

When we talk about weatherproof enclosures, we really mean weatherproof. Not just a simple plastic box to keep out the occasional light rain, but heavy duty boxes, many of them NEMA rated, designed for one purpose: provide extreme protection for the sensitive electronic equipment that you must install outdoors.

Extreme protection involves many things: protection from dust, dirt, grease, and oil; protection from water, either light sprinklings or outright downpours; protection from theft and tampering when installed in an unsecure location; and protection from unusual heat and sub-zero cold. While there are a huge variety of weatherproof enclosures out there, the biggest challenge of installing electronics outdoors is temperature fluctuation.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Three Quality Grid Antenna Factors

3 Factors in a Quality Grid Antenna

Grid Antenna - A type of antenna which employs an open-frame grid as a reflector, rather than a solid one. The grid spacing is sufficiently small to ensure that waves of the desired frequency cannot pass through, and are hence reflected back toward the driven element.

A typical grid antenna mounted on a pole or mastGrid antennas are very popular for directional wireless applications. They provide a nice, controlled beam width and a high relative gain, and their grid construction makes them resistant to wind. But there are a lot of options out there, ranging from the very cheap to the very expensive. How do you know what you need? What are the factors you should consider before you place your order? We have three suggestions that make sense.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Shielded Waterproof USB Cables, Bulkheads, and Covers

Waterproof USB: Shielded vs. Unshielded

( Shielded Waterproof USB 2.0 Cable with Type A Female to Type A Male

A lot of people already know about L-com's large selection of waterproof and IP67 rated USB cables, panel-mount adapters, and connector covers. But do you know about the various shielding options available? In order to ensure the high-speed connection that USB technology offers, it is important to ground the shield in the cable, and that goes the same for the waterproof cables.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

How Important are Right Angles in Connectivity?

Why Use a Right Angle Cable or Adapter?

( Compare a bent cable to L-com's right angle D-sub adapter

L-com offers a lot of right angle products, including cable assemblies with right angle connectors at the ends, and adapters that allow cables to bend at 90°. And they're continuing to add more right angle equipment every month, as this recent press release shows. One question is: why? Why are right angle products so popular, and why is their popularity gaining? What is the problem that they are solving?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Dust Caps for Electrical Connectors

Covers for Your Connectors

( L-com's unique cover for CN24 connectors on IEEE-488 GPIB products

When you look at an entire link between devices, from terminal to server, for instance, the highest vulnerability point is at the connectors. That's because they are two separate products, most often a jack and a plug, that must correctly mate and allow the signal to pass with minimal loss. It's no surprise that the more connections you have in a link, the greater the loss overall.

Because they are so important and vulnerable, many people buy inexpensive connector covers to protect the connectors from anything that could harm them, including things like dust and particulates, moisture, and damage from moving or shipping the device or cable. Did you know that investing a small amount in dust cap protectors could dramatically extend the life of your devices and cables?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Fiber vs. Copper in LANs

The Fiber Optic Technology Future

( Fiber Optic Cable Fanned Out

The emerging field of fiber optics is no longer emerging; it's here. That's because manufacturers get better at making fiber cables and lasers each year, all amidst some of the highest prices for copper we've seen. Already, dead-run fiber networks are cheaper and greener than twisted pair cabling. Fiber is here. Are you ready?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Lightning Protection: A Little Reminder

How To Protect Your Electronic Equipment

( Lightning ;)

As we enter the "high lightning" season, L-com likes to remind people of the dangers of leaving permanent or semi-permanent cabling installations unprotected from surges. There are a couple of parts to this overall problem. First, you have to realize the danger is with every installation of conductive material. The copper in Ethernet networking cables, or in coaxial cables that link up an antenna, or in the process control lines that prevent system failures; they all can have surges and the surges can all have the same catastrophic effects. Some people think this only happens with a direct strike, but even indirect strikes nearby can be destructive. Second, you have to take the time to find the appropriate lightning protection for your system. And third, you have to install the lightning protection properly so it is grounded.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Antenna Coaxial Cable Types

What kind of coax cable do antennas need?

( Low Loss Cable Diagram

As a major US Antenna manufacturer, L-com gets this question quite often. After all, if you are searching for an antenna, you may not think about the cabling requirements up front. But every antenna needs to be connected to a radio, and often the radio and antenna are not placed close together, so a coaxial cable is necessary.

So what kind of cable do you need?

Thursday, May 31, 2012

USB Problems and How To Fix Them

Unique USB Fixes to Common Problems


USB Product Video

USB products are everywhere. From cell phones, smart phones, digital cameras, tablet computers, camcorders, and just about every other gadget uses USB connectors on it. So you are very likely to need a USB cable, adapter, or other connectivity item as a common fact of modern life.

But USB isn't perfect. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

How to Create RJ45 Ethernet Ports at Drop Points

RJ45 couplers: what is available ( RJ45 Coupler Overview Video

L-com carries a lot of stuff. In fact, the L-com web site boasts over 15,000 unique product pages. But among all those varied parts, one of the most popular items fits in the palm of your hand and weighs approximately 1 oz. What is it? An Ethernet jack! Here, we're going to talk briefly about Ethernet jacks, but don't miss L-com's exclusive video on the topic!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Physical Infrastructure of Your LAN

How to build a high performance network ( A typical rack enclosure for network infrastructure

An Ethernet network is composed of three things: active equipment (routers, switches, AP's, servers, etc.), passive equipment (bulk cable, cable assemblies, connectors, adapters, jacks, antennas, etc.), and a framework (racks, enclosures, patch panels, cable run ladders, faceplates at the drop point, etc.). Today, I'd like to talk about the third part: the network framework.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

What is L-com?

What is L-com? ( L-com Global Connectivity

L-com Global Connectivity was founded in 1982 as a family-run business to supply the burgeoning connectivity industry with quality cables, connectors, adapters, and other passive signal connectivity equipment. Today, L-com is still a privately held corporation headquartered in North Andover, MA, with four locations world wide. One of those locations, in Boca Raton, FL, is HyperLink Technologies, a quality wireless manufacturer that L-com acquired in 2007 and incorporated into its overall product offering. As a whole, L-com Global Connectivity is one of the world's most comprehensive and high-quality sources for both wired and wireless connectivity products. Not only does L-com have a huge in-stock product offering, available on its eCommerce site, but they are a premier supplier of custom built products for large scale military, aerospace, and OEM companies. Though the way we connect electronics has changed quite a bit over the years, L-com still provides its award winning customer service, free print catalog, and free technical information on its web site.