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Q. What is a coaxial type product?
A. A coaxial type product is one that has two conductors (inner & outer) forming a closed transmission medium.
Q. What are some of the common connector types used on coaxial cable?
A. Some of the common connector types used on coaxial cable are BNC, SMA, SMB, SMC, MCX, TNC, N, SMC, MMCX, F, and UHF. These connector types come in male and female versions.
Q. What are some of the commonly used coaxial cable types?
A. A majority of coaxial cable types have their origins in the military world and are identified as RG (Radio frequency,Goverment ) Some common types of RG cable are RG6, RG59, RG62, RG58, RG142, RG174, RG188 and RG316.
Q. Why are there so many cable types?
A. Each cable type has performance or physical characteristics that differentiate it such as size, frequency, power, insertion loss, impedance or operating temperature.
Q. What are some typical applications for coaxial type products?
A. Coaxial products are often used in broadcast, network, communications, audio/video and test applications.
Q. What is impedance in a coaxial product?
A. Impedance in a coaxial product is a measurement of resistance to the flow of current. The unit of measurement is ohms.
Q. What does double shield mean in a coaxial cable?
A. Double shielding in a coaxial cable indicates two layers of outer conductor shielding. Often one layer is a metallized foil while the other layer is a metallic braid. These two layers decrease the leakage of energy from the cable.
Q. What are the primary impedance standards for coaxial cable?
A. The primary impedance standards for coaxial cable are as follows:
1. 75 ohms, used by the telephone and broadcast industry for the transmission of voice, video and data.
2. 50 ohms, developed by the military for ship to ship and air to ground communications.
3. 93 ohms, developed as a low capacitance instrumentation cable.
Q. What are some of the major factors which influence shielding effectiveness of flexible coaxial cable assemblies?
A. Some of the major factors which influence shielding effectiveness of flexible coaxial cable assemblies are as follows:
1. Number of shields (flat braid, round braid and helical wrap)
2. Braid style and coverage (flat vs. round)
3. Thickness of shield material and plating.
4. Connector and style of attachment.
Q. When is 75 Ohm coaxial cable used?
A. The primary use of a 75Ohm cable is to transmit a video signal. One common application is television signals over cable, sometimes called signal feed cables and often used with an F Type connector. Another application is video signals between components such as DVD players, VCRs and Receivers, commonly known as audio/video (A/V) cables. In this case, BNC and RCA are the most commonly used connectors. In both of these applications, RG59 with both solid center conductor (RG59U) and stranded center conductor (RG59A/U) as well as RG6 are often used.
Q. In a coaxial cable, what is the difference in performance between a solid and stranded center conductor?
A. A solid center conductor coaxial cable will have lower attenuation per foot than a stranded center conductor coaxial cable. A stranded center conductor coaxial cable will however be more flexible than a solid center conductor coaxial cable.
Q. When do you use Plenum Cable?
A. In building construction the space used for air circulation is called the plenum. This space is also often used to route communication cables. This poses a serious hazard in the event of fire due to lack of barriers to contain the smoke and flames. Because of this, various fire codes and the National Electrical Code (NEC) require the use of fire resistant and low smoke producing cable in these spaces. This type of cable is called plenum cable and is coated with a fire retardant coating to produce a cable that is fire resistant and has low smoke producing characteristics.
Q. What is the difference between male and female connectors?
A. A male connector is commonly referred to as a plug and has a solid pin for a center conductor. A female connector is commonly referred to as a jack and has a center conductor with a hole in it to accept the male pin.
Q. What is a gender changer?
A. A gender changer is an interconnect device with the same gender connector on both sides. A gender changer allows two cable assemblies with the same gender connectors to mate.
Q. What are some of the common interfaces found on Video Monitor cables assemblies?
A. Some of the common interfaces found on Video Monitor cables are HD15, EVC, DVI-D, DB9, 13W3, and BNC.
Q. How are Video signals transmitted?
Video images are transmitted across cables in a variety of ways; from single coaxial cable to the use of as many as 5 coaxial lines to transmit the video image. The more the video signal is broken down into individual components, the better the image. Below is a list of commonly used video transmission signals:
Red, Green, Blue (RGB) - This method uses 3 to 5 coaxial lines with BNC style connectors or HD15 interfaces. The video signal is split into three primary colors (Red, Green, and Blue) with separate lines often used for control signals. This method produces an extremely high quality video image.
Component - Three coaxial lines are used in this method with RCA style connectors. Black and white information is carried on one coaxial line while color differential signals are carried on the two remaining coaxial lines. This method produces a high quality video image.
S-Video - This method utilizes two coaxial lines contained within one outer jacket with a Mini DIN 4 circular connector. One coaxial line carries the black and white information. The second coaxial line carries all the color information. This method produces a high quality video image.
Composite - A single coaxial line with an RCA connector carries both black and white and color signals. This method produces a relatively good quality video image.
RF Video - single coaxial line with a Type F connector. It produces the lowest quality video image of all the interface types.
Q. What is S-Video?
A. The term S-Video is derived from the way video signal is transmitted. In S-Video the signal is separated into two components, hence the term Separate Video or S-Video. Two 75Ohm coaxial cables and a Mini Din 4 connector are utilized to transmit the two component signals. One of the coaxial cables carries the Luminance Signal (brightness or Y component) while the second 75Ohm coaxial cable carries the Chrominance Signal (color or C component). By separating the video signal into two components a better quality picture is produced than composite video which only utilizes one coaxial cable to transmit both signals.
Q. Does an S-Video cable carry audio as well?
A. No, S-Video only carries the Y/C (Chrominance/Luminance) video signal. It uses all 4 pins of the connector (2 hots and 2 grounds) so there is no room for an audio. If you wish to have audio, you will need to run separate audio cables.
Q. What is Component Video?
A. Component video separated the picture into three component signals; two different color signals, and the "black-n-white" signal. The further separation of the color signal allows for better resolution and color saturation. Of the three, Component video is the only one with enough bandwidth to handle high-definition information, so it is mostly found on HDTV equipment and DVD players.
Component video is often labeled Y/Pb/Pr. What are these signals?
"Y" is luminance, or "Brightness". Basically it describes the level of white (or black) "Pb" and "Pr" are the "color" luminance signals used to derive the levels of Red, Blue and Green color in the video signal. With various levels of red, green and blue any other color can be reproduced. "Pr" is basically the level of Red, while "Pb"; is basically the level of Blue. What about Green?! Green is derived from the levels of red, blue and the overall white level ("Y"), whatever is present in "Y" after subtracting red and blue must be green.
Q. What is the maximum distance I can send (S-video, VGA, audio, etc.)?
Official length limitations: These are standards that have been defined by industry associations.
Ethernet (CAT 5e)?100 meters (about 328 feet)
Firewire (also called IEEE-1394, DV, and iLink)?4.5 meters (about 15 feet)
Parallel (IEEE-1284 compliant cables)?10 meters (about 32.5 feet)
SCSI (single-ended)?6 meters for SCSI-1 and SCSI-2, 1.5 meters for SCSI-3
SCSI (differential)?25 meters
USB?5 meters (about 16.5 feet)
Ultra-ATA (also called IDE)?18 inches, with no more than 6 inches between devices
Unofficial length limitations: These signaling methods don't really have a defined maximum length. The limitations listed here are based on common real-world experience. Use these as a guideline-your application may allow for a longer cable run, or may call for a shorter distance. Check with your equipment manufacturer-they may specify a maximum cable length. The best advice for these types of cables is to use as short of a cable as you can.
Audio (line level)-150 ft
Audio (speaker level)-500 ft (use lower gauge wire as distance increases)
Audio (digital coax)-50 ft
Audio (digital optical)-5 meters (about 16.5 feet)
Component video-150 ft
Composite video-150 ft
Ethernet (Fiber optic)-up to several kilometers
Keyboard (PS/2)-25 ft w/o booster
Modulated RF (CATV, SATV)-150 ft (use RG-6 coaxial wire)
Mouse (PS/2)-25 ft w/o booster
S-video-150 ft
Serial (RS-232)-1000 ft
VGA-100 ft without a booster/amplifier
Q. What is the difference between analog and digital signals?
A. An analog signal is one that continuously varies up and down in amplitude while a digital signal is a signal that is either on or off.
Q. What are the application differences between crossed and straight pinned modular cables and adaptors?
A. Typically cross pinned products are used for Telephony, and straight pinned products are used primarily in Data applications.
Q. What is the difference between straight-thru and cross pinning on a modular cable or coupler?
A. Straight-thru means each contact is pinned to its respective contact (1-1, 2-2, 3-3, etc.) Crossed pinning means contacts are pinned through to the opposite contact (Example: an 8 position RJ45: 1-8, 2-7, 3-6, etc.). When using a coupler between two patch cords it is important to choose the correct type. If the desired pinning from end to end is crossed, then the coupler and cables must be crossed. For straight pinning, all the couplers and cables must be pinned straight-thru.
Q. What is the difference between Category 5E and Category 6 100 Ohm UTP?
A. The new Category 6 Standard adopted in 2002 extended key parameters over 5E specifications. The additional headroom is intended to provide quality transmission at higher data rates required by emerging applications. The most prominent difference is the frequency at which the key parameters are measured. The jump from 100 to 250Mhz places a great deal emphasis on component quality as well as installation techniques. This improvement is commonly noticed by the increased pair twisting and staggering of twisted pairs.
Q. What is the difference in the Cat5e cables (PVC vs. Plenum, stranded vs. solid, 100MHz vs. 350Mhz)?
A. PVC and Plenum describe the outer jacket material used on the cable. "Plenum" is a term used to describe a cable that meets certain fire code requirements, and is ok to use inside walls and drop ceilings. Stranded and Solid describe the actual conductors themselves. A solid conductor is a solid copper wire, whereas a stranded conductor is made up of very fine strands of copper woven or twisted together to form the wire. Stranded conductors therefore are more flexible and best suited for making patch cables. Solid conductors are more rigid, so solid conductor cable is best for in-the-wall runs or for punching down permanently to wall plates or patch panels. 100Mhz and 350Mhz are frequencies that the cables are tested at. Cat5e specifications only require a cable to be tested at 100Mhz. Some manufacturers go beyond that and test at 350Mhz. This superior grade of cable allows for more headroom for the data in the cable, improving overall signal transfer.
Q. What is a KVM Switch? Why do I need one?
A. A KVM switch is an active device that allows multiple CPUs to share one Keyboard/Video Display/and Mouse. Without a KVM switch users have to buy more equipment and use more space. With a KVM switch users have less equipment to buy, more space to work with and less power is used.
Q. What is USB?
A. Universal Serial Bus is a high speed connectivity standard enabling simple plug and play connections to devices such as modems, digital cameras, camcorders, keyboards and mice. An attractive advantage to USB is devices are hot pluggable (live connection/disconnection without data loss or interruption). Cables and devices manufactured to the current USB version 2.0 specifications are backward compatible with version 1.1, but the reverse scenario does not apply.
Q. What is the difference between a USB Type A and a USB Type B connector?
A. Type A jacks are found on the host and hubs.
Type B jacks are found on peripherals.
Q. What speeds does USB support?
A. Low Speed devices - such as keyboards, mice and serial interfaces such as RS232 operate at 1.5Mbps. USB version 1.0 and 1.1 compliant devices provide enough bandwidth for these applications.
Full Speed devices - such as web cams and printers operate at 12Mbps. USB version 1.0 and 1.1 devices typically will provide enough bandwidth to meet the requirements for these applications.
High Speed devices - such as external CD-ROMS, DVD drives, USB to Ethernet applications operate at 480Mbps. USB 2.0 is the preferred version for these types of applications. USB 2.0 also supports low-bandwidth applications such as: keyboards and mice, along with high-bandwidth devices including scanners, webcams, printers and storage devices.
Q. What is Firewire?
A. Firewire is an emerging high speed communication interconnect standard defined by IEEE-1394. It was originally developed to connect PCs to other PCs or peripherals such as digital cameras, camcorders, scanners, etc. Current applications include automotive, telecom, data acquisition, aerospace and a host of others. An attractive advantage is that devices are hot pluggable (live connection/disconnection without data loss or interruption).
Firewire Connectors:
6Pin- typically located on computers and hubs
4Pin - typically located on peripheral devices
Firewire Cables:
6Pin-6Pin utilize all six cable conductors (4 data and 2 power)
6Pin-4Pin utilize only the data conductors
Q. What is the difference between assembled and molded cable assemblies?
A. Assembled cable assemblies use hoods made of plastic or metal to protect the wires at the terminated connector. These assembled shells can be shielded or unshielded. Molded hoods are made from PVC which is melted and injected into a mold. Assembled shells can be disassembled by removing hardware where molded shells cannot.
Q. What are the major types of fiber optic cables?
A. The major types of fiber optic cables are multimode (allows multiple modes of light to be transmitted) and single mode (allows only one mode of light to be transmitted).
Q. What are some of the commonly used connector types used on fiber optic products?
A. Some of the common connector types used on fiber optic products are ST, SC, LC, FC, VF45, MU, MTP and MT-RJ.
Q. What are fiber optic products used for?
A. Similar to coaxial products which use electricity to transmit signals fiber optic products utilize light to transmit signals.
Q. Why should I use fiber optic cable in my installation instead of twisted pair?
A. Fiber has several major advantages. The first is lower distance limitations. A fiber cable can be run over a longer distance without adding special equipment. Second is immunity to EMI/RFI noise. This is especially useful in factory environments where heavy machinery tends to generate high levels of EMI/RFI. The third reason is low data errors. Optical fiber tends to have a much lower bit error rate in comparison to copper cabling. This reduces the occurrences of retransmissions thereby increasing network efficiency.
Q. Why are most cable assemblies insulated with a PVC outer jacket?
A. PVC (PolyVinyl Chloride) has good insulation qualities, is cost effective, and is easy to work with.
Q. What is the relationship between a drain wire and cable braid?
A. The drain wire and cable braid are both part of a cable shield and are electrically connected. A drain wire is used to ease termination of the cable shield for crimping or soldering.
Q. What is the difference between a shielded and an unshielded cable or adaptor?
A. A shielded cable or adaptor has a conductive material over the conductors that provides protection against EMI (electromagnetic interference) and RFI (Radio Frequency Interference).
Q. What wire gauge do I need for speaker cable?
A. This depends on a couple of factors, including the length of the cable runs and the power of the amplifier.
For runs under 50 feet, with an amplifier of up to 50 watts, use 16 AWG wire.
For runs over 50 feet, or with an amp from 50-100 watts, use 14 AWG wire.
For long runs over 100 feet, or amps 100 watts or greater, use 12 AWG wire.
Q. What does DVI stand for?
A. Digital Visual Interface.
Q. What is DVI?
A. DVI is a new video signal specification that provides for loss-less digital video transmission between computers, HDTV Set Top Boxes, DVD Players and displays such as LCD monitors, Plasma displays and Video Projectors.
Q. Why should I use DVI instead of my standard VGA type connection?
A. Standard VGA type signals originate in the digital domain. They are then converted to analog so that a standard monitor can understand the signal. If you are using an LCD or Plasma display, your signal is converted from digital to analog then from analog back to digital. All of this processing increases the loss and noise in your video signal. DVI bypasses all of that by remaining in the digital domain. In addition, DVI allows for far higher resolutions than a standard signal.
Q. Why is there Single Link and Dual Link?
A. DVI has the ability to employ two links. Each link is comprised of three data channels for RGB. Each link has a maximum bandwidth of 165 MHz. Dual link has a maximum bandwidth of 330 MHz. Dual link supports resolutions up to 2048 x 1536. Currently, most equipment is Single Link.
Q. What is the maximum distance I can run with DVI?
A. The specification is 5 meters (16.5 feet). However, our unique selection of products can go as far as 15 meters (50 feet) on 24AWG cable with copper conductors.
Q. I hear terms like DVI-D, DVI-I and DVI-A. What are they?
A. These acronyms distinguish the different DVI interfaces. We now all know that DVI stands for Digital Visual Interface. The suffixes further distinguish the interface.
DVI-D is digital only. This is available in Single and Dual link. DVI-D is the best quality signal.
DVI-I is an integrated interface containing the digital and analog signals. This means that with one cable you can transmit digital to digital or analog to analog. It will NOT turn your analog signal into a digital signal. This is the most popular interface right now. Many video cards offer this interface. DVI-I is available in single and dual link.
DVI-A is an analog only interface. It is basically the same as your current connection but with a different type of connector.
These cables cannot be interchanged. You cannot plug a DVI-D cable into a DVI-A port and vice versa. There is one exception. If you have a DVI-I port, you can plug a DVI-I,  DVI-D or a DVI-A cable into it.
Q. What is HDMI?
A. HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) is the first industry-supported, uncompressed, all-digital audio/video interface. HDMI provides an interface between any audio/video source, such as a set-top box, DVD player, and A/V receiver and an audio and/or video monitor, such as a digital television (DTV).
HDMI supports standard, enhanced, or high-definition video, plus multi-channel digital audio on a single cable. It transmits all ATSC HDTV standards and supports 8-channel digital audio, with bandwidth to spare to accommodate future enhancements and requirements.
Q. How do consumers benefit from HDMI?
A. The new HDMI digital interconnect provides:
Superior, uncompressed digital video and audio quality
Simple, user-friendly connector that replaces the maze of cabling behind the entertainment center
Integrated remote control
A popular interface enabling the transmission of high-definition content. HDMI opens the floodgate of digital content from major motion picture producers
Q. Does HDMI provide a secure interface?
A. HDMI, when used in combination with HDCP, provides a secure audio/video interface that meets the security requirements of content providers and systems operators.
Q. What are the advantages of HDMI over existing analog interfaces such as composite, S-Video and component video?
A. Quality HDMI transfers uncompressed digital audio and video for the highest, crispest image quality.
All Digital HDMI ensures an all-digital rendering of video without the losses associated with analog interfaces and their unnecessary digital-to-analog conversions.
Low-cost HDMI provides the quality and functionality of a digital interface while also supporting uncompressed video formats in a simple, cost-effective manner.
Audio HDMI supports multiple audio formats, from standard stereo to multi-channel surround-sound.
Ease-of-use HDMI combines video and multi-channel audio into a single cable, eliminating the cost, complexity, and confusion of multiple cables currently used in A/V systems.
Intelligence HDMI supports communication between the video source (such as a DVD player) and the DTV, enabling new functionality.
Q. Is HDMI backward-compatible with DVI (Digital Visual Interface)?
A. Yes, HDMI is fully backward-compatible with DVI using the CEA-861 profile for HDTVs. HDMI HDTV?s will display video received from existing DVI-equipped products, and DVI-equipped TVs will display video from HDMI sources.
Q. Will current HD TVs and set-top boxes using DVI-HDTV be compatible with HDMI devices?
A. Yes. Currently there are TVs with DVI-HDTV inputs available from a variety of manufacturers. Those devices will be compatible with future HDMI-equipped products.
Q. What types of video does HDMI support?
A. HDMI has the capacity to support existing high-definition video formats (720p, 1080i, and even 1080p). It also has the flexibility to support enhanced definition formats such as 480p, as well as standard definition formats such as NTSC or PAL.
Q. Does HDMI accommodate long cable lengths?
A. Yes. HDMI technology has been designed to use standard copper cable construction at long lengths. In order to allow cable manufacturers to improve their products through the use of new technologies, HDMI specifies the required performance of a cable but does not specify a maximum cable length. Cables are expected to be lengths of up to 15 meters. As semiconductor technology improves, even longer stretches can be reached with fiber optic cables, and with active cable technologies such as amplifiers or repeaters.
Q. Can I connect from HDMI to DVI?
A. Yes. You can use an HDMI to DVI cable or a HDMI to DVI Adapter. However it may or may not work. Why? HDCP. HDCP stands "High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection" (HDCP). It is meant to prevent you from copying content you are not "allowed" to copy. Generally HDMI connectors all use HDCP. DVI connections on the other hand, may or may not have HDCP. Computers and LCD monitors for example, can have DVI connections which do not have, or "need"; HDCP. Many of the early HDTV's that have DVI connectors do not have HDCP. Some projectors, especially non-Home Theater oriented ones with DVI connectors do not have HDCP. Generally you will need to be sure that both devices use HDCP in order to connect together an HDMI device and a DVI device.