Black Box Explains...Dry Contacts
A dry contact, also called a volt-free contact, is a relay contact that does not supply voltage. The relay energizes or de-energizes when a change to its input has occurred.... more/see it nowIn other words, a dry contact simply detects whether or not an input switch is open or closed.
The dry contacts in the ServSensor Contact provide a simple two-wire interface that can be easily adapted to third-party sensors and devices. Because you define what the open or closed condition means, dry contacts are infinitely adaptable.
Use dry contacts to monitor alarms such as fire alarms, burglar alarms, and alarms on power systems such as UPSs. A very common use for dry contacts is to detect whether a cabinet door is open or closed.
Black Box Explains... Printer Sharing with Windows
Unlike the earlier DOS operating systems, Windows® doesnt check to see if the printer is busy at the very beginning of the printing process. Windows will send out data to... more/see it nowstart a job even if the printer is signaling busy or unavailable. If your print sharer doesnt have a buffer, critical printer-initialization information can be lost before your job is started. Once the initialization information is lost, the printer cannot interpret the job correctly.
A buffered print-sharing device is the most practical solution. When Windows starts printing to a buffered port, it thinks its talking directly to the printer, and the critical initialization information is stored by the buffer. The buffer can send out a busy signal to Windows, so it delays sending more information until the buffer is accessible again. collapse
Black Box Explains...Multicasting video over a LAN: Use the right switch.
In KVM extension applications where you want to distribute HD video across a network, you need to understand how it works and what kind of networking equipment to use with... more/see it nowyour extenders.
Think of your network as a river of data with a steady current of data moving smoothly down the channel. All your network users are like tiny tributaries branching off this river, taking only as much water (bandwidth) as they need to process data. When you start to multicast video, data, and audio over the LAN, those streams suddenly become the size of the main river. Each user is then basically flooded with data and it becomes difficult or impossible to do any other tasks. This scenario of sending transmissions to every user on the network is called broadcasting, and it slows down the network to a trickle. There are network protocol methods that alleviate this problem, but it depends on the network switch you use.
Unicast vs. multicasting, and why a typical Layer 2 switch isn’t sufficient.
Unicasting is sending data from one network device to another (point to point); in a typical unicast network, Layer 2 switches easily support these types of communications. But multicasting is transmitting data from one network device to multiple users. When multicasting with Layer 2 switches, all attached devices receive the packets, whether they want them or not. Because a multicast header does NOT have a destination IP address, an average network switch (a Layer 2 switch without supported capabilities) will not know what to do with it. So the switch sends the packet out to every network port on all attached devices. When the client or network interface card (NIC) receives the packet, it analyzes it and discards it if not wanted.
The solution: a Layer 3 switch with IGMPv2 or IGMPv3 and packet forwarding.
Multicasting with Layer 3 switches is much more efficient than with Layer 2 switches because it identifies the multicast packet and sends it only to the intended receivers. A Layer 2 switch sends the multicast packets to every device and, If there are many sources, the network will slow down because of all the traffic. And, without IGMPv2 or IGMPv3 snooping support, the switch can handle only a few devices sending multicasting packets.
Layer 3 switches with IGMP support, however, “know” who wants to receive the multicast packet and who doesn’t. When a receiving device wants to tap into a multicasting stream, it responds to the multicast broadcast with an IGMP report, the equivalent of saying, “I want to connect to this stream.” The report is only sent in the first cycle, initializing the connection between the stream and receiving device. If the device was previously connected to the stream, it sends a grafting request for removing the temporary block on the unicast routing table. The switch can then send the multicast packets to newly connected members of the multicast group.
Then, when a device no longer wants to receive the multicast packets, it sends a pruning request to the IGMP-supported switch, which temporarily removes the device from the multicast group and stream.
Therefore, for multicasting, use routers or Layer 3 switches that support the IGMP protocol. Without this support, your network devices will be receiving so many multicasting packets, they will not be able to communicate with other devices using different protocols, such as FTP. Plus, a feature-rich, IGMP-supported Layer 3 switch gives you the bandwidth control needed to send video from multiple sources over a LAN.
Black Box Explains... Ear Capsule Positioning
Many headset ear capsules fit awkwardly in the ear and make telephone professionals uncomfortable. If you wear a headset all day, that can really affect productivity. When choosing a headset,... more/see it nowmake sure the ear capsule has a hinge on it. This design enables you to adjust the headset for all-day comfort and better productivity. collapse
Black Box Explains...PC, UPC, and APC fiber connectors.
Fiber optic cables have different types of mechanical connections. The type of connection determines the quality of the fiber optic lightwave transmission. The different types well discuss here are the... more/see it nowflat-surface, Physical Contact (PC), Ultra Physical Contact (UPC), and Angled Physical Contact (APC).
The original fiber connector is a flat-surface connection, or a flat connector. When mated, an air gap naturally forms between the two surfaces from small imperfections in the flat surfaces. The back reflection in flat connectors is about -14 dB or roughly 4%.
As technology progresses, connections improve. The most common connection now is the PC connector. Physical Contact connectors are just thatthe end faces and fibers of two cables actually touch each other when mated.
In the PC connector, the two fibers meet, as they do with the flat connector, but the end faces are polished to be slightly curved or spherical. This eliminates the air gap and forces the fibers into contact. The back reflection is about -40 dB. This connector is used in most applications.
An improvement to the PC is the UPC connector. The end faces are given an extended polishing for a better surface finish. The back reflection is reduced even more to about -55 dB. These connectors are often used in digital, CATV, and telephony systems.
The latest technology is the APC connector. The end faces are still curved but are angled at an industry-standard eight degrees. This maintains a tight connection, and it reduces back reflection to about -70 dB. These connectors are preferred for CATV and analog systems.
PC and UPC connectors have reliable, low insertion losses. But their back reflection depends on the surface finish of the fiber. The finer the fiber grain structure, the lower the back reflection. And when PC and UPC connectors are continually mated and remated, back reflection degrades at a rate of about 4 to 6 dB every 100 matings for a PC connector. APC connector back reflection does not degrade with repeated matings. collapse
Black Box Explains... Crosstalk.
One of the most important cable measurements is Near-End Crosstalk (NEXT). Its signal interference from one pair that adversely affects another pair on the same end.
Not only can crosstalk... more/see it nowoccur between adjacent wire pairs (pair-to-pair NEXT), but all other pairs in a UTP cable can also contribute their own levels of both near-end and far-end crosstalk, multiplying the adverse effects of this interference onto a transmitting or receiving wire pair.
Because such compounded levels of interference can prove crippling in high-speed networks, some cable manufacturers have begun listing Power Sum NEXT (PS-NEXT), FEXT, ELFEXT, and PS-ELFEXT ratings for their CAT5e and CAT6 cables. Here are explanations of the different types of measurements:
NEXT measures an unwanted signal transmitted from one pair to another on the near end.
PS-NEXT (Power Sum crosstalk) is a more rigorous crosstalk measurement that includes the total sum of all interference that can possibly occur between one pair and all the adjacent pairs in the same cable sheath. It measures the unwanted signals from multiple pairs at the near end onto another pair at the near end.
FEXT (Far-End crosstalk) measures an unwanted signal from a pair transmitting on the near end onto a pair at the far end. This measurement takes full-duplex operation into account where signals are generated simultaneously on both ends.
ELFEXT (Equal-Level Far-End Crosstalk) measures the FEXT in relation to the received signal level measured on that same pair. It basically measures interference without the effects of attenuationthe equal level.
PS-ELFEXT (Power Sum Equal-Level Far-End Crosstalk), an increasingly common measurement, measures the total sum of all intereference from pairs on the far end to a pair on the near end without the effects of attenuation. collapse
Black Box Explains...T1 channel banks.
T1 is a digital transmission method for multiplexing multiple voice and data channels over two pairs of wires.
By using a technique called Time-Division Multiplexing (TDM), T1 interleaves both voice and/or... more/see it nowLAN data across DS0 subchannels. The primary benefit of T1 is bandwidth—1.544 Mbps—available in 24 easily allocated 64-kbps DS0 subchannels.
T1 sends data in frames made up of 24 eight-bit words (one word for each subchannel) and one framing bit for a total of 193 bits per frame. A T1 channel transmits 8000 frames per second.
The framing bits on successive frames follow a pattern for a superframe format. T1 channel banks check this pattern to make sure synchronization is maintained.
T1 is the most flexible end-to-end digital service option available today. Its the preferred service for internetworking voice, data, fax, and video signals across an enterprise network. And Black Box is your supplier of T1 hardware with a broad range of solutions for consolidating your global high-speed network management. collapse
Black Box Explains...How a line driver operates.
Driving data? Better check the transmission.
Line drivers can operate in any of four transmission modes: 4-wire full-duplex, 2-wire full-duplex, 4-wire half-duplex, and 2-wire half-duplex. In fact, most models support more... more/see it nowthan one type of operation.
So how do you know which line driver to use in your application?
The deal with duplexing.
First you must decide if you need half- or full-duplex transmission. In half-duplex transmission, voice or data signals are transmitted in only one direction at a time, as in a CB radio conversation. In full-duplex operation, voice or data signals are transmitted in both directions at the same time, as in a telephone conversation.
The entire bandwidth is available for your transmission in half-duplex mode. In full-duplex mode, however, the bandwidth must be split in two because data travels in both directions simultaneously.
Two wires or not two wires? That is the question.
The second consideration you have is the type of twisted-pair cable you need to complete your data transmissions. Generally you need twisted-pair cable with either two or four wires. Often the type of cabling that’s already installed in a building dictates what kind of a line driver you use. For example, if two twisted pairs of UTP cabling are available, you can use a line driver that operates in 4-wire applications, such as the Short-Haul Modem-B Async or the Line Driver-Dual Handshake models. Otherwise, you might choose a line driver that works for 2-wire applications, such as the Short-Haul Modem-B 2W or the Async 2-Wire Short-Haul Modem.
If you have the capabilities to support both 2- and 4-wire operation in half- or full-duplex mode, we even offer line drivers that support all four types of operation.
As always, if you’re still unsure which operational mode will work for your particular applications, consult our Technical Support experts and they’ll help you make your decision. collapse
Black Box Explains...NAC.
Network Access Control (NAC) is a method of ensuring that only known devices are allowed to connect to your network and that they meet your network’s requirements before they are... more/see it nowgranted access.
This is NAC at its most basic level. However, today’s NAC is usually also capable of dictating each user’s level of access and of managing users’ access once they’re on the network.
NAC has a special place in a network security plan because, unlike a firewall, which offers perimeter protection, it monitors the inside of your network. A firewall stops the hacker in Poland from getting to your network through the Internet. NAC stops the hacker inside your building or in the parking lot from getting to your network through an Ethernet port or a wireless access point.
Even though a NAC appliance may also monitor network activity, enforce policies, control resources, and document security, the core function of NAC is to authenticate trusted devices and control who can access your network. It’s important to keep in mind that NAC is only part of a security plan, not a complete security measure. It doesn’t take the place of a firewall and won’t protect against data leaving through e-mail, printouts, or USB flash drives. collapse
Black Box Explains... Video extenders with built-in skew compensation.
To ensure the best video resolution, it’s important to match your video extension device with a compatible grade of cable. Some multimedia extenders are not designed to transmit video across... more/see it nowcable that’s higher than CAT5. In fact, with these extenders, the higher-grade cable may actually degrade video.
The problem is with the cable twists of CAT5e and CAT6 cables. To reduce signaling crosstalk, these higher-grade cables have tighter twists—and more of them—than CAT5 cable does. For this reason, the wire distance that an electrical signal has to travel is different for each pair. This doesn’t normally cause a problem with data, but if you’re sending higher-resolution analog video signals across long cables, you may see color separation caused by the video signals arriving at different times.
To avoid this, you could use only the lower-grade cable with the extenders. But what if you already have CAT5e or higher cable installed in your building, or you simply want the latest and greatest copper wiring? Order an extender receiver that features built-in skew compensation so it can work properly with higher cable grades at longer distances. collapse