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Monthly Archives: May 2019

  1. Video Game Consoles – Cables and Cords

    Video games are one of the most popular past times today, with the video game industry making more money each year than movies and music combined. Avid gamers used to hang onto their old consoles, but that has become less common over the years due to games being re-released and digital downloads giving gamers easy access to their old favorites.

    Modern televisions tend to be equipped with an HDMI port and not much else while some TVs still have the older RCA ports. When using a TV with older types of connections, you can typically use a converter to get the console hooked up. Most connections today are streamlined between different pieces of technology, but we are not 100% there yet. Our article here will tell you exactly what cords go with the game console you have.

    Gaming consoles have become very streamlined in the last 20 years or so, with the major players today being Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft. Many other companies have tried to get in on the market as recently as 10 years ago, but most have flopped as the years have gone by. For the sake of this article, we will be focusing on the three industry giants that have consoles on the market today.

    PlayStation 4 (Sony)

    Sony’s P

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  2. Belden DataTuff – Industrial Ethernet Cable

    Ethernet is the cornerstone of most modern technology; if a machine sends or receives any data, it is likely using Ethernet. In an office environment, there is nothing wrong with Ethernet using a standard PVC jacket. But industrial environments are a different story. PVC Ethernet is not designed to stand up to oil, chemicals, and other hazardous conditions. Belden’s DataTuff cable is engineered to withstand harsh industrial environments without compromising data transmission.

    PVC and plenum jackets not rated for industrial use cannot keep up in those environments. A cold environment can make the jackets hard and brittle, causing the cables to break when bent. Exposure to chemicals can eat away at the plastic and cause them to break down over time. Cables attached to moving machinery will have increased wear-and-tear due to the constant motion. These issues and more can cause non-industrial Ethernet cables to break down quickly.

    DataTuff is industrial-grade ethernet cable that is available in numerous Category (Cat5 and Cat6) and environmental ratings including UV resistant, oil resistant, gas resistant, water resistant, and more. For example, Belden 7936A is only rated as UV Resistant whereas Belden 792

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  3. Cable Cross-Sections

    Different types of cables have different functions and it is easy to view any cable as a single, working unit. But each cable is made of different layers, with each layer providing a different function. Learning how these pieces interact makes it easier to understand just how a cable works and what can be done to avoid damaging a cable.

    Coax Cross-Section

    Coax is one of the most common types of cable, having been in use for well over 100 years. While the technology has improved over time, the basic layout of coax cables is much the same today as it was at the time of its invention. Modern coax cables are most commonly used for television, radio, internet, and security camera connections.

    The outermost layer of the cable is the jacket, designed to protect the more vulnerable inner components. Jackets are most commonly made from plastic and come in a few different varieties. Along with providing protection from outside elements, jackets also act as an outer insulator to contain any electrical or magnetic signals that leak past the other layers.

    The next layer is the shield, which can be braided or foil. While the shield does help to keep the electrical cable of the signal in, it is more meant to keep other signals out. If a coax cable is near something else that puts out strong signals that can potentially cause interference, such as heavy power lines or a cell tower, the shield cuts down

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  4. Modems vs. Routers: What is the Difference?

    You probably have a modem and router in your home, but what exactly is the difference between them? Each device plays a critical role in getting Internet access to computers, smartphones, and anything else you have with online access. “Modem” and “router” are often used as interchangeable terms, but they are not the same thing.


    The purpose of a modem is to bring the Internet into your home by connecting to a wall jack. The type of Internet signal that an Internet Service Provider (ISP) sends out is different from the type used by computers and other household electronics. A modem translates that raw signal into a format that your electronics can use.

    There are different types of modems out there depending on what type of Internet service you pay for. If you have cable Internet, you need a cable Internet modem. If you are on a DSL connection, you need a DSL modem. And if you have fiber Internet, you need an Optical Network Terminal (ONT) modem.

    Each modem has RJ45 ports on the back for ethernet cables. The port that plugs into the wall jack will usually be a different color so users can easily tell it apart. The other port(s) can run ethernet cables to computers or other hardware, including routers. A standalone modem only transmits signals over ethernet lines. If you are trying to set up WiFi, you will also need a router to go with the modem.


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  5. USB Adapters/Converters


    Of all the different ports that are built into computers today, none is more prominent than the USB port. Every computer, from the most budget-friendly laptop to a high-end liquid-cooled desktop, has at least one USB port somewhere on it. The trouble is when you have a computer with USB ports and not much else. Luckily, USB adapters can be used when you need to change USB into another format.


    USB to Ethernet (RJ45)



    A lot of modern laptops and even some desktops are built with wireless transceivers for WiFi but no ethernet port for a hardline. So what happens when a wireless connection is too slow while you are trying to stream a TV show or download a movie? A simple USB to Ethernet Adapter can make the computer ethernet ready, giving users much faster download speeds via a reliable hardline connection. Simply plug the adapter in, connect the ethernet cable, and you will be good to go. There is even a version supporting the newer USB Type-C, seen on the latest cell phones and computers.


    USB to HDMI


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  6. Ethernet Hubs vs. Switches: What is the Difference?

    “Hub” and “switch” are two terms that get thrown around a lot, oftentimes interchangeably. But while these two devices are similar, they are not quite the same. In a nutshell, switches are an upgrade to hubs. Both are used to connect multiple computers or other devices together in a network. The difference lies with how a hub or switch handles communications between devices on that network.

    Ethernet Hubs

    Hubs are an older technology that some electronics manufacturer do not even make anymore. They are less costly than switches, but also less effective. A hub is an “unintelligent” or “dumb” electronic. It does not have any components guiding the electrical signals to specific ports. Once a signal is received in one port, it comes out of all the other ports. This sends the data to any and all computers or other electronics connected to the hub. It is up to those electronics to decide whether to do anything upon receiving that data.

    Any signal passing through a hub is sent out to the entire network.

    While sending data this way works, it can create some issues. The main problem is bandwidth usage. With the hub constantly sending data to every machine connected to it, hubs use a lot of bandwidth compared to switches. The more devices that are connected, the more the network is flooded with all this data. This sheer amount of data will inevitably push the hub to its limits and start to slow down the Internet and other data transmissi

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  7. Crossover Ethernet Cables

    When someone says “ethernet” they are usually referring to standard ethernet patch cords. A standard patch cord is the most common type of ethernet and used for connecting different devices together. However, standard patch cords (also called straight-thru cords) can only connect different devices. If you need to connect a computer to something different like a modem or printer, they work fine. But if you need to connect two computers, two network switches, or any other identical electronics, you will need a crossover cable instead.

    Crossover vs. Straight-Thru (Standard)

    To understand the difference, we start by looking at the way ethernet cables are wired. Each cable has eight smaller wires called conductors on the inside. There are different ways to line up the conductors with the pins on RJ45 connectors, but the industry standard is T-568A and T-568B. Most cables manufactured today use the T-568B version, but some older cables with the T-568A version are still around. A straight-thru cable will use the same wiring scheme on both sides of the cable to send and receive data.

    An RJ45 ethernet port can send and receive signals, allowing computers and other electronics “talk” and “listen” to each other when they transmit data through the conductors. Different devices use

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  8. Data Usage Rates

    Most people use the Internet every single day. Everyone who does would likely agree that the Internet is a great tool so long as it works. We have all been in a situation where an email will not send, a page will not load, or a video pixelates and has to stop and buffer. But with the right precautions, you can keep those slow loading scenarios to a minimum.

    The first step here is to understand the different categories of ethernet cables. The second is to remember that there is one, single cable connecting your modem or router to a wall outlet. All the data on your network, whether it is on a hardline or wireless, is passing through that one cable. If you have just one or two devices connected, like a desktop computer plus a cell phone, using a regular Cat5e cable should be fine. But when three, four, or more people all start using the Internet at the same time, issues can start to pop up for everyone.

    Each type of ethernet cable has a maximum data speed. When more than one device is used, that speed is split between them. Two or more devices are going to put more strain on your equipment than just one. As more and more Internet connections are used simultaneously, it gets harder for a lower-quality cable to keep up. Upgrading to a newer, faster cable can fix this problem so long as you have a decent data plan with your Internet Service Provider (ISP).

    The other key factor is what each user is doing. There are many activities the Internet can be used for and each one can have different data consumption rates. The more data an activity uses, the higher the odds of problems occurring when a network starts to get bogged down. Knowing the data usage rates of common activities can help when planning which type of ethernet cable to use for an upgrade.

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  9. Fast Ethernet vs. Gigabit Ethernet: What’s the Difference?

    Whether you are sitting at home, at work, or in a coffee shop, Internet access would not be possible without the use of Ethernet cables. Even if you are on Wi-Fi, the device transmitting that wireless signal uses Ethernet itself. But not all Ethernet connections are rated equally. For cables, there are different categories that can be used to measure data transmission speed and bandwidth. But for hardware like modems, routers, and switches, different terminology is used. Namely, the terms “Fast Ethernet” and “Gigabit Ethernet”.

    Fast Ethernet

    “Fast Ethernet” is a somewhat misleading term since these systems are not fast by modern standards. Originally released in 1995, Fast Ethernet supports data speeds of up to 100 Mbps (megabits per second) for a distance of up to 10 kilometers (6.2 miles). At the time, this was much faster than anyone really needed for practical applications. But as the years have gone by and technologies with higher data consumption have been introduced, such as video streaming, Fast Ethernet has started to see its limits.

    There are two key advantages to using Fast Ethernet over Gigabit Ethernet today. First, it is less expensive since it is older technology. Second, it is much easier to configure. Cables can simply be plugged into Fast Ethernet devices and everything will be ready to go. All the settings and configurations are automatically handled by the device. Additionally, other hardware such as routers and modems are fully compatible with Fast Ethernet.

    Gigabit Ethernet

    Gigabit Ethernet has several advantages over Fast Ethernet. For starters, it supports speeds ten times f

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