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Monthly Archives: July 2019

  1. Debunking Cable Myths

    Cables are a specialized market where it can be difficult for new or unfamiliar users to separate fact from fiction. Between urban legends on the Internet and all the different options out there, there is misinformation that many people think is true. To clear up these misconceptions and ensure users can make educated purchases, this article will address a few of the fictions that people commonly mistake for facts.

    Only Expensive HDMI Cables are 4k – False

    Once upon a time, this was true. HDMI has changed over the years as the technology has been upgraded. HDMI cables supporting 4k video became standard back in late 2013. Any HDMI cable on the market today should be more than capable of handling 4k video. If you need a cable with a stronger jacket, then there are better options than a basic cable. But as far as getting a 4k signal goes, a basic HDMI cable will run just as well as an elite one.

    Different Color Ethernet Cables Work Differently – False

    Ethernet cables can come in any color. Most manufacturers go with simple dark colors like black or blue but some devices like modems might come with a y

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  2. USB Car Chargers

    Keeping a full battery on phones and other electronics can be a hassle when you are on-the-go. Busy schedules do not always keep a wall outlet or computer port nearby for easy recharging. When you spend as much time in a vehicle as anywhere else, a car charger is the best way to keep those battery bars green. While car chargers may look simple at a glance, there are some differences between different models. Knowing which charger to pick helps ensure that your device(s) get their batteries back to 100% as quickly as possible.

    What Kind of Car Charger Do I Need?

    To find the best USB car charger out there, look for a unit with a variety of amperage options. Each USB port on a car charger will be rated for a different number of amps (abbreviated as “A” on chargers). This number determines the maximum amount of electricity that can be used while a device is recharging. The next obvious question here is “how many amps does my car charger need?” That answer will depend on what kind of electronics you plan on recharging.

    The rule of thumb here is that larger batteries will need more amps. Bigger devices use bigger batteries, so the number of amps you need will go up as your electronics get larger. For example, cell phones only need 1.0 amps while something larger like a tablet uses 2.1 amps. Any car charger should have the ports labeled so users can tell which is which.

    A two-port charger with 2.1A on the top por

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  3. Cable & Connector Terminology

    There are many different terms and acronyms that get thrown around within the cable industry. While most of these terms are not necessarily need-to-know, the information can be useful to have. In some cases, the information is need-to-know, like when someone is trying to figure out what type of power cord they need. This article will highlight some of the more common industry terms while providing quick, easy to understand definitions.

    The list below is provided in alphabetical order.

    #

    ¼”: A thicker audio connector commonly used on heavy equipment such as amplifiers and instruments. Available in a few different versions, additional details here.

    1-15: A two-prong power cord connector used on a standard wall outlet.

    10-32: A screw thread commonly used with racks, cabinets, and related equipment requiring ¾” screws.

    12-24: A screw thread commonly used with racks, cabinets, and related equipment requiring ⅝” screws.

    2.5mm: An audio connector formerly used on cell phones that still sees some use on other smaller devices. Available in a few different versions, additional details here

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  4. Cables to Keep Around the Office

    Any modern business is going to be networked with Internet connections. Whether a business is in a small home office with a single computer and printer or an enormous building with hundreds of machines, a nervous system of cables and wiring will be essential to keep things running smoothly. When cables go missing or start to fail, losses in both productivity and profitability are sure to follow. Most homes have a drawer filled with spare cables and there is no reason that an office should not do the same thing, albeit with better organization than a junk drawer.

    Ethernet

    Every electronic device connected to the Internet uses Ethernet. Even if a device uses WiFi, the equipment generating that WiFi signal is connected via Ethernet. There are different types of Ethernet cable on the market. Newer types (called categories) of Ethernet are faster than older versions, but some are so fast that they can be overkill. Exactly how fast an Ethernet cable should be will depend on how much data is being used. No matter where it is located, an Ethernet cable going out is always sure to cause Internet outages. Keeping at least a few spares around is always a good idea.

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  5. Power over Ethernet (PoE)

    Power over Ethernet (abbreviated PoE) is a term that gets thrown around a lot. Most Ethernet cables today are made PoE ready, but what exactly does that mean? What can PoE be used for and how is it different from other options used to accomplish those same tasks? This article will examine what PoE is, its uses, and how well it holds up compared to other modern-day technology.

    What is Power over Ethernet (PoE)?

    To understand PoE, start by thinking about how Ethernet cables work. At the core of every Ethernet cable, there is are lines of copper that run down the length of the entire cable. Ethernet cables transmit electrical signals that are interpreted by computers and other electronics as the 1’s and 0’s that make up binary code. The takeaway here is that Ethernet cables have always been capable of transmitting electricity since their invention. PoE just takes that function and moves it in a similar but slightly different direction.

    PoE was first developed by the company Cisco. Up until this point, every electronic with Ethernet needed two cables: the Ethernet cable itself and another cable for power. A lot of IT workers were annoyed by this since not every electronic they worked with was near an outlet or another power source. Cisco’s solution to this issue was supplying power through the Ethernet cable, making PoE cables an all-in-one solution. In 2003, PoE was standardized by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and started to see widespread use across the IT industry shortly thereafter.

    What uses Power over

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  6. Stream Video from Phones to Your TV

    The modern mobile phone is a pocket-sized electronic more powerful than the machines used to put astronauts on the moon. Among their many other features, these compact computers are great for streaming music, movies, and TV shows. But sometimes you want to put those streaming services on the big screen. Exactly how you can go about doing that will depend on what type of phone you have.

    *Note: These tips also work for other handheld devices like tablets.

    Android

    Any television from the last 10 years likely has HDMI ports you can use to connect your phone. Most phones out there are built with a Micro USB port, which can be used with a Micro USB to HDMI adapter. In a nutshell, this adapter will take the Micro USB port and change it into an HDMI port. You will also need a regular HDMI cable to go with it if you do not already have a spare lying around somewhere.

    Micro USB to HDMI adapters are typically rated for MHL (Mobile High-Definition Link), a specific type of HDMI designed to work with smartphones, tablets, and similar devices. For an MHL adapter to work, your device must be MHL compatible. A full list of MHL compatible devices can be seen

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  7. Copper (Ethernet) to Fiber – Media Converters

    Media converter is a bit of a catch-all term by itself. It refers to any device that can convert one type of signal into another type. A fiber media converter specifically refers to a media converter used to convert fiber cable to another format. Fiber media converters are sometimes just called fiber converters while general media converters are simply called converters. The phrase “fiber converters” is also typically used to describe fiber to copper (Ethernet) converters. Although other types of fiber converters do exist, they are much less common.

    What are Fiber Media Converters?

    Simply put, a fiber media converter is able to take fiber signals and translate them into Ethernet signals, or vice versa. Fiber transmissions are broadcast using light (lasers) signals, giving them a leg up over older cables with increased speed, less attenuation (signal loss), and greater maximum distance per cable. Ethernet signals are transmitted via electrical signals running through copper lines. On their own, these two types of signals are too different to be compatible. But with a fiber media converter, they are able to work together.

    Both fiber and Ethernet signals use the same methodology for signal transmission. A series of light or electrical pulses are sent down the cables. These pulses flicker on and off very quickly, 1000s of times per second. When a pulse is on, a computer registers it as a “1”. When it is off, the machine picks up a “0”. These numbers are used to make up binary

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  8. Connecting Multiple Computer Monitors

    Office tasks and activities at home alike frequently require users to have more than one window open on their computer screen. Clicking back and forth between these windows on one screen is an option, but that becomes tedious rather quickly. Setting up a desktop or laptop with multiple displays makes multitasking much easier. It may sound simple to set up additional monitors, but there is a bit of forethought that goes into the process.

    How Do I Connect Multiple Monitors?

    Start by checking the back of the computer and look for the ports to see what kind of video connections the machine has. This could include HDMI, DisplayPort, DVI, VGA, and more. On a desktop, one of these should already be in use for the existing monitor. Laptops frequently feature an extra video port for dual monitor set-ups. If you do not have an extra video port, a USB adapter can be used instead.

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  9. Fiber Optic HDMI Cables

    Fiber Optic vs. Traditional (Copper) HDMI

    Fiber optic HDMI cables are a new, top-of-the-line option for connecting HDMI devices. Using fiber optics technology instead of traditional copper, fiber optic HDMI goes above and beyond the limitations of standard HDMI cables.

    Conventional HDMI is made using copper, with multiple smaller copper lines inside the main cable. The main drawback of conventional HDMI is the distance limit. Plain old HDMI caps out at a maximum limit of 65 feet, although depending on the equipment being used, the quality of the cables, and similar factors, issues can start to arise at distances as short as 50 feet.

    Up until now, the only workaround to this would be using an extender balun. While baluns are certainly a fine solution, they are more cumbersome than a single HDMI cable and require a bit more work to set up. They can also have issues with maintaining 4k quality, especially over longer distances. Fiber optic HDMI not only lacks those issues but works even better than a standalone copper HDMI cable at peak performance.

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