3 Tips to Improve Your Home Network Connection

It’s more important than ever to have a strong Internet connection in your home. This is especially for those who work from home or do important business on their home networks. If you aren’t operating on a strong enough network with fast enough speed or the proper equipment, you could be in for some trouble.

Here are a few tips that can help homeowners improve their network connection and better prepare for future issues.

Update Your Technology
Even the most high-tech smartphones only last about two years, so many of your other technological devices might require an update. You don’t have to run out and purchase an expensive new desktop or router every few weeks, but all the other equipment that you use in your home might need a renewal. If you are running on a 1995 computer, however, and you still expect to have a strong digital presence and a fast Internet connection, you’re going to be disappointed. If your hardware is that old or not working that well, you absolutely should spend the money and upgrade, but only do so if you can afford it and it’s necessary for you to do so.

Have Backup Cables
You never know when something might go wrong with either your technology or your connecting cables. That’s why it’s essential that you have a few backup plans in case of an emergency. USB cables are important because you can use all kinds of different devices to connect, and if any were to be destroyed, you could quickly replace them. You can never have too many USB cables, HDMI cables, network Ethernet cables, and power lightning cables. Contact Cable Wholesale today if you’re in need of USB cables.

Consult With Tech Experts
If you’re serious about having an exceptionally strong and fast network connection in addition to having the best quality technology products, you’re going to need to consult with experienced professionals for installation. Installing this network can be difficult and even the smallest mistake can ruin the entire process. That’s why you should at least check out online forums with tech experts who can walk you step by step through the entire process of setting up a strong home network.

It’s time to upgrade your home network and get the Internet connection you deserve! Renew your old pieces of equipment, have plenty of backup cables, and talk to the pros to get started.

Automotive Ethernet: The Future of Vehicle Hardwiring

With the rise of smart cars, there will need to be a number of accommodations for GPS, WiFi hotspots, smartphone chargers, music docks, and more. And while your home might do fine with 75 ft Ethernet cables, and the average office depends on 500 ft Ethernet cables, automakers have unique needs.

In addition to standard HDMI cables and standard HDMI with Ethernet, there is a third HDMI type on the market: automotive HDMI with Ethernet.

Automotive Ethernet is used to connect a vehicle to an online network in order to support more complex computing that includes bandwidth requirements, latency requirements, synchronization, and network management requirements. Additionally, they are also fitted to prevent loosening due to vibrations during vehicle operation.

Just last year, the number of vehicles with automotive Ethernet began picking up. BMW, Jaguar, and Volkswagen all now have vehicles on the market that are equipped with the feature.
The feature was referred to as a “hidden trend” by Electronic Design at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show. In 2014, when automotive Ethernet was first announced, it was reported that many cars would have 50 to 60 Ethernet ports by 2020, and even some base model vehicles might have at least 10.

Ethernet cables are far more desirable over traditional vehicle wiring. Reports show that traditional harness wiring can make up 50% of a vehicle’s labor costs, so a simpler connection that is able to accommodate evolving features is preferred.

Automotive Ethernet cables are not defined by standards such as cat5 cables or higher performing cat6 cables but exist in a category of their own. The cables are comprised of a dual-wire twisted configuration in order to meet the vehicle’s performance requirements.

“Automakers are using more and more traditional telecom and IT technology,” said Spirent Communications Automotive Business Development Director Thomas Schultze. “It is driven by connectivity, but also through all the new safety enhancements. And overall, everything leads to autonomous driving.”

What once seemed like a sci-fi dream, autonomous vehicles will soon be hitting the roads, enabled with a number of driver-assist applications connected by automotive Ethernet.
Don’t swap out your 300 foot Ethernet cable for a part you actually need. Order automotive Ethernet cables through Cable Wholesale.

What to Avoid When Shopping for USB-C Cables

USB-C cables are fairly new on the electronics market, but they’re quickly taking over for laptop, tablet, and cell phone cables all over the place. It probably won’t be long before these USB cables become truly “universal,” but for now, there are still some kinks to work out in the system. Specifically, there are some poorly-made USB-C cables available for sale that could potentially fry your devices, if you’re not careful.

Benson Leung, a Google engineer who worked on the team that developed the Chromebook Pixel tablet in 2015, found this out the hard way. The new tablet was one of the first to use C-type connectors for the USB cables, which are designed to be universal in shape, size, and direction. Leung was in charge of testing the tablets’ charge capacity — but when he unwittingly purchased a cable that was missing the two extra wires needed to support the SuperSpeed in C-connectors, it completely ruined the device.

“This is a potentially dangerous condition, not just one of inconvenience,” Leung said.

So he took it upon himself to start sharing his findings with vulnerable consumers who might be purchasing the same cables through the Internet. He’s posted dozens of Amazon reviews that let other potential buyers know when the USB cables in question aren’t meeting the proper specifications.

As a result of Leung’s diligence — and other volunteer reviewers like him — Amazon no longer allows third-party marketplace sellers to offer USB-C cables or products that fail to comply with all of the relevant USB standards.

While there are many different types of cables that you can buy off-brand for a cheaper price and the same quality performance — HDMI high-speed cables or lightning cables, for instance — it’s best to stick with only the reputable dealers for USB-C type cables, at least for now. Note that most of the problems seem to occur with USB cables with two different types of connectors on each end: C to A, or C to B, for conversion purposes. Hopefully, as USB-C becomes standard across all devices and industries, this problem will become a mere hiccup of the past.

New HDMI Version 2.1 to Be Launched In the Second Quarter

When you think of HDMI cables, you probably imagine the cables used to connect your cable box, television, streaming devices, and gaming systems. But HDMI isn’t just a cable, it’s also a standard that determines which types of signals can be transmitted between devices.

On Jan. 4, the HDMI Forum announced the launch of HDMI 2.1, the latest HDMI version, which will have a number of improvements to its capabilities.

As HDMI 2.1 cables hit the market, what should we expect to see?

  1. One of the biggest differences is that these new HDMI high-speed cables will support a higher resolution. Highspeed HDMI cables previously only reached 4K resolution — which is still pretty high — but these new cables function at 8K resolution at 60 Hz, and an unprecedented 10K at 48 gigabits per second. However, these cables are backwards compatible with 4K devices at 120 Hz.
  2. While resolution doesn’t always translate to better picture quality, there’s one thing for certain: newer televisions have a far superior high dynamic range (HDR). HDMI 2.1 is compatible with HDR, which controls brightness, contrast, and color of the image depending on scene, or even frame.
  3. These new HDMI high-speed cables also come with improved audio capabilities. The audio return channel makes setting up soundbars or A/V receivers much simpler. The latest version, called eARD, keeps functionality essentially the same but is now compatible with systems like Dolby Vision and DTS:X.
  4. While most of these features are geared toward those who own a home theater or advanced entertainment center, HDMI 2.1 also has improved gaming compatibilities. Game Mode VRR refreshes seamlessly, reducing delays in motion as well as saving, and prevents tearing. For gamers, the best part may be the shorter input lag, meaning that the controls are more precise.

These new specifications will be made available to all HDMI 2.0 adopters when the version is officially released in the second quarter of 2017.

As far as adoption goes, it is up to product manufacturers to decide whether they will revamp their devices. Apple, for example, has disregarded new technology adoption in the past. The tech giant still uses USB 2.0 in place of USB 3 versions. In Apple’s case, using 12 watt iPad chargers in place of 5-watt chargers are a more economical way to get a faster charge than upgrading cables.

As far as the new HDMI version, it is unclear how Apple and other manufacturers will respond.

3 Easy Ways to Speed Up Your Internet Connection

Much like your heat, water, and electricity, your Internet connection is a necessary utility, especially for businesses. And while having your home Internet shut or slow down is a huge inconvenience, at work, it’s a hindrance on productivity.

The Internet is the primary business platform for a number of industries, from communications to medical, retail, food service, IT, and more. If you don’t have a decent Internet connection, how can you expect to get any work done?

If your work Internet connection is running on the slower side, you may have some unresolved technical issues to take care of. Of course, angrily Googling, “Why is my Internet so slow?”, isn’t likely to help — especially if it takes five minutes to get an answer. Here’s a quick troubleshooting guide to help identify the problem:

  1. Is your router placement optimized?

    You may not know this, but other devices and even appliances like microwaves can interfere with your wireless router’s broadcast signal. If your signal is weak, your connection will be too. Be sure to position your router away from other devices that give off frequencies that may cause interference.

    Similarly, placing your router in a remote area of the office may also limit your connection. When your signal has to travel through walls and doors, it is weakened. Place your router in a more accessible, central part of the office so the network signal can travel throughout the building.

  2. Power down once in a while

    Many people will leave their modems, routers, and computers on 24/7. And while this doesn’t seem to pose much of a problem at first, after a while you may notice slower Internet activity. Most of the time, shutting off your router for just ten seconds will help restore a faster connection. No need to call your Internet provider.

  3. Use network Ethernet cables instead

    Wifi signals can be interrupted by interference, while Ethernet cables are far more reliable. For a home network, cat5e cables should be fine, but in a work setting, you may need something of higher capacity. Review your needs and consider purchasing bulk cat6a cable if you haven’t already.

    While you may only need a few hundred feet at a time, you do need to account for all employee computers and future needs. You also may go through them more quickly than you expect. In fact, the RJ45 plugs on the end of each Ethernet cable are only useful for about 1000 to 2000 insertions, so buying bulk cat6 cable is a good idea for planning ahead.

If you need bulk cat6 cable for your office, look no further. Cable Wholesale has cables of all grades and varieties for a fraction of the price of most other brand name cable retailers.

A Guide to Future Proofing: Part 2

In part one of this series, we explained we explained future proofing basics. In this blog, we’ll tell you why HDMI cables are a perfect example as to why many people are skeptical of the future proofing concept.

Premium HDMI Cable certifications are designed to reassure users that these cables are “future proof” and can perform intensely enough to pass 4K video content. But many have responded to this program with cynicism. Aren’t all high-speed HDMI cables able to pass 4K video content?

The short answer, yes. As long as the cable is a true high-speed HDMI.

The majority of HDMIs have no problem streaming high-capacity content but lack the official certification on the packaging. The program, therefore, looks to set up unsuspecting customers looking for verification, when in reality, just about any HDMI would perform the necessary job sufficiently.

HDMI Licensing appears to be giving consumers the bad end of the stick here with the argument that all cables are equal, but some are “more equal” than others, according to CNET writer Geoffrey Morrison.

Companies that charged more money for their high-speed HDMI cables needed a way to differentiate their products from the budget cables in order to justify the price gaps.

The larger companies that can afford to pay the licensing fee are now heading to the top of the market, while lesser-known companies with equal quality products are losing out on the licensing opportunity.

Essentially, this is a scheme that allows companies to market their HDMI high-speed cables as “future proof” in order to rake in more money.

This isn’t the first time that HDMI Licensing has been shifty with its marketing either. When HDMI 2.0 was announced, the organization flat-out said that HDMI 2.0 didn’t change any cables or connectors. There’s no such thing as an HDMI 2.0 cable, although many are labeled as such. Any HDMI cable is capable of carrying the increased bandwidth transmitted by HDMI 2.0 outlets in your television, desktop, or other network hardware.

HDMI products often cost $50 or more in-store, but there is no reasoning behind this. None of these cables are so-called “future proof.” They’re the same cables that have been around for years.

Cable Wholesale’s HDMI high-speed cables are just as functional as any licensed HDMI product, and cost a very small fraction of the price.

A Guide to Future Proofing: Part 1

“Future proof” is a buzzword commonly used to describe a product or service that won’t need modification as technology evolves. However, even the newest, most up to date electronic devices aren’t future proofed.

Think of your smartphone, for example. Planned obsolescence tells us that a new iPhone generation will be released every fall, with more features than the next. After a while, usually about two years, your smartphone probably won’t function as well as it used to, and you’ll have to purchase another one.

For hospitals, technology tends to be a huge barrier. A survey of 4,000 Chief Nursing Officers found that 14% of respondents believe a lack of tech support is their main problem, while seven percent reported that outdated hardware was.

In any field that is heavily reliant on technology, regular updating of systems and equipment is relatively normal and to be expected every few years.

There are exceptions, however. The cloud, for example, is considered future proof as of yet. As a non-tangible service, any updates or changes to the system would be unbeknownst to the users and all data is transferred seamlessly. Since the introduction of the cloud, there have been no groundbreaking changes that have transformed how it’s utilized or accessed.

But if an upgrade is necessary, there’s no avoiding it. Again, as technology continues to advance, we will need to accommodate.

When it comes to hardware, like cables, future proofing is hard to achieve, but it is not impossible. At least in the short-term, it’s possible to plan ahead for future updates.

For example. if you installed a home or business network back in 2010, you may have been swayed to opt for the new cat6 Ethernet cables in place of cat5e network cables.

Short runs of Cat6 cables can support a significantly faster network than cat5e cables, but they’re also backward compatible. You can still utilize your older network hardware with these newer cable versions without replacing everything.

Tech-savvy people love to talk about future proofing, but the reality is that no one really knows where technology will take us in a few years. We can only plan ahead so far, but it is certainly possible to prepare for the next few years ahead.

Mega Category Madness

A funny thing happened in network cabling sometime in the last, oh heck I can’t recall exactly when. We had a marketing genius take over for the fine folks at the Telecommunications Industry Association(TIA). Apparently these fine, highly qualified and educated folks, (some rumored to be actual electrical engineers), were not making new standards fast enough for our intrepid marketer! In case you detect an edge in my voice, you would be correct. What, you may ask, has gotten my glasses all foggy?

To be honest I am pretty tired of hearing, “The other guy’s cable says 350 MHz; why doesn’t yours?”

Sometimes, in my more sarcastic moments, I find myself thinking: “To heck with it lets put fuzzy bunnies on the darn boxes and cables and call it good.” Yes I am being extremely sarcastic. Extra sauce today if you will. However, there is merit to this rant. A Category 5e cable labelled 350 MHz is worth no more than one labelled 100 MHz. And so long as our fuzzy bunny cable is tested through 100 MHz, it might be worth more than both because it costs more to print fuzzy bunnies on boxes and cables.

Hopefully by now I have a little bit of your attention. Above I mention TIA, those funny people who decide what exactly is a category cable. These fine folks came together, probably argued and fought, and eventually settled on a standard and published it. The standard is TIA/EIA-568, with the most current revision being C. In truth the standards define a lot of physical properties. Some are of the overtly physical variety, and some are more like physics, or electrical properties to narrow down. In there, one finds specifications about these megahertz thingies and different categories.

  • Cat5e – 100 MHz
  • Cat6 – 250 MHz
  • Cat6a – 500 MHz

When the folks at TIA release such standards they define target/acceptable parameters across a range that begins somewhere near zero and persists through the numbers above for a given cat cable. They very clearly list acceptable loss values, in decibels, for the entire frequency range. Companies like Fluke use these standards to design and program their network testers. Other companies like Intel, HP or Broadcom use these standards to design their network hardware.

So, the standards that we are supposed to follow in order to be allowed to call a cable Category 5e, 6 or 6a are also the standards to which the hardware makers also adhere. That being said, if you were Fluke, would you spend money making sure a network tester tested outside of industry standards? If all the hardware vendors build to these specifications, how exactly does performing outside of them benefit you? For that matter how on Earth does one certify a cable is good to an imaginary standard that no real tester even entertains? Cat5e’s electrical properties are defined up to 100 MHz. End of discussion. To see a higher MHz defined, one must change Categories to 6 at which point why not just call it a Cat6 cable? They are worth more money. The same can be said for Cat6 vs Cat6a.

If you were in business, why would you sell an entire product category for significantly less than it was worth?

Oxygen Free Copper. What is it?

Cables are boring; there, I said it. So how does one market something that is inherently not that exciting? I grew up deep into computers, networks and programming. I can remember the birth of so many interesting things that cables have facilitated, but I can never recall coming home shouting about a C13 to NEMA 5-15P. Okay, I admit, even us geeks would call this a computer power cord. So how does one go about making these things interesting? And what is really important?

One of the biggest, annoyingly brilliant deals in copper cables was to declare a cable has oxygen free copper (OFC). This is genius because one takes a simple term most didn’t think was worth mentioning and it becomes some marketing juggernaut. Hey, In most cases we say it too. Copper cables are oxygen free. So what exactly is going on there?

Copper is a base element (Cu on the periodic table). So how does copper get oxygen? Well it’s not like we mine pure copper from the ground. There are impurities in the ore itself. We also introduce impurities when we refine the copper ore. Typically some oxygen gets into the mix at the refinement stage. Depending on the requirements of the final product, the refinement methods and process can vary.

C10100 (trade name: Oxygen-Free-Electronic) the final portion of it’s process occurs in an airspace devoid of oxygen with rules so stringent even silver is considered an impurity. Keep in mind this stuff is going into places like vacuums inside a particle accelerator or a CPU where any impurity can matter. I think this might be overkill for speaker wire. Maybe I am wrong though, it does have a 101% IACS conductivity rating. Wait, is this like giving 110% of oneself? I love giving more than all

C10200 (trade name: Oxygen-Free) differs in that silver is not considered an impurity and it can have more oxygen, by a power of 50 which means very little when it’s 0.0005% vs 0.001% and we are using it for speakers…

C11000, is called Electrolytic-Tough-Pitch (ETP), relaxes the rules even further. It typically can equal more than all in conductivity as well. This is the copper that finds itself all over normal applications. (Shut up, a particle accelerator is not normal!) Most of what is out there and marketed as oxygen free copper is this stuff here. I am sure that there are some cables out there which are made with C10200 and there always will be because some people will buy them just like people keep thinking a Cat5e cable marketed as 250MHz is better than 100MHz. Side note on a completely different rant if that 250MHz Cat5e was so amazing they would have printed Cat6 on the packaging and jacked the price…. (Though I think I might be due a rant on this so we’ll see.)

What really matters is that your cables, wires and cords that should be copper are indeed copper, not aluminum, and that they are uniformly and well constructed. You need to choose a cable that is of the correct materials and size for the intended use. If you are unsure about the gauge you need for a 100 foot run delivering 100 watts to a two way in your garden, don’t fret we have Tech Support to help you out.


sources:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxygen-free_copper
alloys.copper.org/alloy/C10100
alloys.copper.org/alloy/C10200
alloys.copper.org/alloy/C11000

HDMI: The 1.0 Generation

HDMI: The 1.0 Generation Explained


When HDMI cables first hit the market in 2002, they forever changed the way home consumers could transport digital audio and video signals between remote signals. The days of analog were officially over, and our new digital realm was firmly in place.

Since then, HDMI standards have gone through a series of upgrades and changes. Yet some things remain the same: 90% of HDMI connectors used in the HiFi world, for example, are still the 13.9mm Type A.

Yet today, HDMI cables are capable of transferring video signals anywhere from 480i to 4K resolution. While every individual manufacturer will determine the parameters for their HDMI components, the official HDMI specifications have progressed significantly with each new standard iteration.

In the beginning, there was the HDMI 1.0. This revolutionary single cable combined a two-channel audio signal with a digital video signal of standard and high-definition capabilities. Commonly, they were used to connect HDMI-equipped DVD players and television screens.

Then came the HDMI 1.1. This added additional audio features to the two-channel system, including surround signals for Dolby Digital, DTS, DVD-Audio, and up to 7.1 PCM channels.

The HDMI 1.2 arrived in 2005 and included support for one-bit audio processing and Direct-Stream Digital (DSD) for Super Audio CDs, both of which in turn helped make HDMI cables better suited for PC connections.

New technologies during this time, such as HD display, Deep Color, and higher resolutions and frame rates, demanded more bandwidth from HDMI cables. The 1.3 standards introduced speeds up to 340MHz/10.2Gbps to support these developing advancements.

HDMI 1.4 was released in 2009, the final iteration of the 1.0 generation. These standards were designed specifically with Blu-ray technology in mind, with the ability to pass two simultaneous 1080p signals on one connector.

When the HDMI 2.0 arrived in 2013, it brought with it a slew of changes and improvements. While the details of the forthcoming 2.1 are still under wraps, HDMI standards will be sure to advance and evolve for as long as technology allows.