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Monthly Archives: June 2019

  1. Belden REVConnect RJ45 Keystone Jacks

    Keystone jacks are small inserts made from plastic or metal designed for simple customization projects. They are designed to go along with keystone compatible products such as wall plates, surface mount boxes, and patch panels. A keystone ready product is made with square holes where the keystones are inserted. Each keystone simply snaps into place and can be taken out with a simple release tab if they ever need to be removed.

    A keystone wall plate with three ports

    The main advantage and purpose of keystones is customization. Take wall plates as an example. There are plenty of pre-made wall plates out there that have one RJ45 Ethernet jack and one RJ12 phone jack. But what if a room needs both of those for a computer and phone plus a second RJ12 jack for a fax machine? One extra jack seems like a small thing but finding a pre-made wall plate exactly like that can be a challenge. But by using a keystone wall plate, it is as simple as popping that extra jack into place. Using keystones can turn a drawn-out product hunt into a quick

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  2. Armored Fiber Optic Cables

    Fiber optic cables are a first-rate option for transmitting data, being much faster than traditional copper Ethernet lines. Fiber cable can also run for much greater distances, giving it another leg up on copper cables. However, a potential weakness of fiber is fragility. Compared to copper cables, fiber is easier to break since it contains glass. That is where armored fiber optic cables come in.

    Armored fiber optic cable can do everything standard fiber can do while also carrying additional protection. Underneath the jacket, there is a metal tube protecting the delicate fibers at the core of the cable. This metal tube does not hamper performance and provides protection from heavy objects, curious rodents, and other hazards. At the same time, the metal remains flexible enough to allow the cable to bend normally.

    Unarmored fiber (left) vs. armored fiber (right)

    Advantages of Armored Fiber

    All the options available to normal fiber (number of fibers, PVC or plenum jackets, single-mode or multimode, etc.) are also available with armored fiber. The armor allows the cable to withstand 7x the force of conventional fiber, providing a substantially larger safety margin if a heavy object is set on the cable or falls on top of it. The protection offered by armor also increases pull tension, making fiber installations easier

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  3. Fiber Optic Cable Protection

    Fiber optic cables provide incredible data speeds and can ensure a new or upgraded system will keep up with network demands for years to come. While the equipment specs are more than good enough to withstand the test of time, it is equally important to build a system that can physically hold up as the years go by. Physical network protection involves using the right tools and equipment to safeguard cables from external forces as well as improper use.

    How To Protect Fiber Optic Networks

    Raceway, also called conduit, is one of the easiest ways to protect any cable, fiber optic included. These hollow pieces of plastic act like a protective outer shell. They are available as straight sticks as well as various angled pieces for designing networks of any size and shape. Full details regarding raceway options can be seen here.

    While raceway is ideal for protecting the main part of the cable, the connectors on the ends will need something a bit

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  4. Fiber Optic vs. Ethernet Cables

    While fiber optic cable has been around for a while, it is only in recent years that new innovations have made the technology economically viable. Fiber has not quite hit the same low pricing as ethernet but is well within the realm of being cost-effective. With the issue of cost set aside, the real question becomes: “Why choose fiber over Ethernet?” These two cables may both be used for data transmission, but they have a few differences along with their similarities.

    What are Ethernet Cables?

    Ethernet is a tried-and-tested form of cabling, having been in use commercially since the 1980s. These cables are made with copper and use electrical signals to transmit data. Electrical pulses are sent through the cable with each pulse (or lack of a pulse) representing a 1 or 0. This happens very quickly with thousands of signals per second, allowing those 1’s and 0’s to be translated into computer code.

    There are a few different types of Ethernet out there. Data speeds can change greatly depending on what type of cable is used plus other factors. While Ethernet signals transmit very fast, they are not quite as fast as fiber optic signals. Using electrical signals also has a major potential drawback: interference. Equipment that gives off electromagnetic interference (EMI) or radio frequency interference (RFI) can disrupt Ethernet signals. This can cause problems in buildings with heavy machinery, such as fact

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  5. Types of Fiber Optic Connectors – Simplex, Duplex, LC, ST, SC, and More

    From left to right: FC, LC, SC, and ST

    Fiber optic cables utilize a few different connectors that can be used to terminate the cable. While they do bear some similarities, each kind has a different enough size and shape that they are not interchangeable. When preparing any fiber-related equipment for installation, it is important to make sure the cables are equipped with the right connectors for the job.

    FC is an older fiber optic connector currently being phased out of industry standards. While single mode cables still use FC, it is unusual to see them on multimode cables. FC connectors take longer to unplug compared to newer fiber optic connectors due to their threaded screw-on design. Additionally, the more complex design and use of metal make them more costly to manufacture. Despite those downsides, FC still sees some use since those threads allow it to remain secure when used on moving machinery.

    LC was designed as a push-pull connector that locks in place with a latch. While being faster and easier to operate is an advantage, the main draw of LC is its small size. Being about half the size of other fiber optic connectors, LC can be used on devices that would otherwise have too little room to support a fiber optic connection.

    SC is arguably the most common type of fiber optic connector used today. Designed to be simple to use and inexpensive to produce, SC uses a push-pull design similar to LC but utilizes a locking tab instead of a latch to secure the unit. The cost-effective design of SC makes it a popular choice with industries that frequently use fiber cables, such as telecom and datacom.

    ST uses a design similar to FC but instead of threads, it uses a locking mechanism similar to

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  6. Types of Fiber Optic Cable – Single Mode vs. Multimode

    For decades, all varieties of cables from coax to ethernet have used electrical signals to transmit signals through metal cores. Modern technology has paved the way for improvements on these age-old cables with fiber optic cabling. These newer cables are made using optical fibers, plastic tubes filled with small pieces of glass. Each piece of glass is used as a tiny mirror to reflect lasers down the cable. Since light (lasers) moves faster than electricity, fiber optic cables can transmit data much faster than older metal-based cables. It is possible to use fiber and Ethernet together so long as you have a media converter, allowing newer technology to upgrade older existing infrastructure.

    Each fiber optic cable has a different sized core measured in microns (μm). These cores are made of up optical fibers, also called strands, with each fiber acting like lanes of traffic that send and receive signals. Each fiber can only send or receive a signal, not both at the same time, so they work in pairs. As more fibers are added, more signals can be sent and received through the cable to increase data speeds. The number of strands needed will depend on how heavy network traffic will be.

    Along with being faster, fiber optic cables also support greater maximum distances. For example, Ethernet cables have a maximum distance of 328 feet (100 meters). By contrast, fiber optic cables can go for hundreds of meters or even several ki

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  7. HDMI vs. DisplayPort vs. DVI vs. VGA: What’s the Difference?

    There are a variety of different cables that can be used for video connections. While there have been industry efforts at streamlining, even today there are multiple options on the market. Each type of video cable is easily identified by its unique size and shape, but there are also differences when it comes to the quality of each cable signal. Knowing these differences can enable users to make educated choices when selecting cables for electronic devices.

    Current Version

    Analog/Digital

    Max Resolution

    Locking Connector

    Bandwidth

    HDMI

    2.0

    Digital

    4k (3840 x 2160)

    Optional

    18.0 Gbit/s

    DisplayPort

    1.2

    Digital

    4k (3840 x 2160)

    No

    21.6 Gbit/s

    DVI-D single-link

    Single-link

    Digital

    1920 x 1080

    Yes

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  8. How Can You Tell the Difference Between XLR and DMX?

    XLR and DMX cables have a bit of overlap and it can be difficult to keep the two separate. The short answer is that XLR is used for audio while DMX is used for lighting. Both cables use the same kind of connectors and look the same on the outside, there are differences on the inside. There is a little bit of cross-functionality, but XLR and DMX should not be interchanged unless users find themselves in a desperate situation.

    Are DMX and XLR Connectors the Same?

    Whereas DMX refers to something specific, “XLR” is more of a catch-all term. It can refer to an XLR cable, XLR connector, or even audio cables in general. Oftentimes, microphone cables are referred to as XLR even if they may feature another kind of audio connection as well. DMX cables do use XLR connectors, but their specialized use has given them their own name as well. Users unfamiliar with all the different XLR options may need to clarify exactly what “XLR” means when they hear the term used.

    XLR cables are used with professional audio equipment, such as microphones, mixers, amplifiers, and soundboards. While there are a few different varieties of XLR connectors out there, the most common is the 3-pin version. Each pin is used for positive, negative, and a ground, respectively. If more pins are needed for additional signals, XLR connectors with more than 3 pins may be used instead.

    A st

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