Avalan Wireless Blog

Bandwidth. Data Rate. Throughput. What’s the difference?

Posted by Courtney Hamby on Tue, Aug 09, 2016 @ 09:23 AM

Let’s discuss the similarities and differences in bandwidth, data rate and throughput. In the wireless industry, these words are used interchangeably and can sometimes be a little bit confusing. All three of these terms help define the speed at which a device or network sends and receives data. Let’s define them and then discuss the differences and similarities as we use them in the world of wireless.

What is Bandwidth?  Bandwidth is the measurement of the ability of an electronic communications device or system to send and receive information

What is Throughput? Throughput is the amount of data that enters and goes through a system

What is Data Rate? Data rate is the speed at which data is transferred between two devices, measured in mega bits per second (Mbps or mbps)

water-hose-1189701-640x480.jpgThere is a direct correlation between all of three of terms which is why it can be confusing and hard to keep straight at times, even for industry professionals. It’s summertime and most of us have our gardens and flowers blooming so let’s think of the data capacity as a water hose for an example to understand this clearer.

Bandwidth is the MAXIMUM amount of water that can travel through that hose. Similarly, bandwidth would be the maximum about of data that could be transferred through the RF channel(s). For example, our AW58100 Ethernet radio has a maximum bandwidth of 100 Mbps. Now that we know this, we know that the bandwidth will always be greater or equal to the throughput.

Keeping with the water hose analogy, throughput is the ACTUAL amount of water that travels through the hose. There are external things that can affect that throughput, a kink in the hose, etc. In the same way that there are external factors for the water hose, there are also real world interferences that can affect the amount of data that is being sent wirelessly. Some typical things that can affect your actual throughput is RF interference and physical obstructions. This is why our that same AW58100 Ethernet radio has a throughput of 60 Mbps instead of the full advertised 100 Mbps bandwidth. The 40% loss is the amount of bandwidth that it takes the radio to transmit the data, we refer to that as the RF bandwidth.

Moving onto data rate, or data transfer rate. Here at AvaLAN, we use “data rate” to define the throughput of our Ethernet devices. Just like with throughput, it is the actual transfer rate for the data. All of our 5.8Ghz products are listed with the appropriate data rate you can expect to get with these wireless Ethernet devices. Of course there are real world factors that we cannot predict that may change the throughput or data rate, but we educate ourselves and our customers to plan and predict for those potential factors.

Did you find this blog helpful and the terms now easier to understand? You can find other articles that help differentiate Bandwidth and Throughput on this blog about Bandwidth vs. Throughput blog and this one about Networking Throughput blog.

Contact AvaLAN Today for more information

Topics: bandwidth, throughput, data rate

Understanding the Decibel

Posted by John Fredrickson on Thu, Jul 28, 2016 @ 10:53 AM

When working with wireless, people come across several somewhat confusing concepts. To people who work with wireless day in and day out, this may seem commonplace. Though, to those that are not immersed in the wireless industry, these concepts can seem foreign and complicated. One of these is the decibel (abbreviated dB).

The decibel is not unique to wireless, and is in fact simply a unit of measurement, just like a gram, or a kilometer. Unlike the gram or the kilometer however, a decibel does not measure a physical quantity like mass or distance. The decibel is a measurement of the ratio between two physical quantities, usually power or intensity. Also unlike the gram or the kilometer, the decibel is a logarithmic unit which means that value of the decibel goes up non-linearly. This has the advantage of being able to conveniently express very large or very small numbers. It also allows for the multiplication of ratios (of which the decibel is measuring) by simple addition and subtraction.


I mentioned before that the decibel is a logarithmic unit. What does that mean? To understand decibels you need a basic understanding of logarithms. In mathematics, the logarithm is the inverse operation to exponentiation, where exponentiation is raising a number to a power (giving it an exponent). So for example:

if  1000= 103 then log10(1000) = 3

We can take this a step further in the addition and subtraction of logarithms and say that, for example:

If  103+103= 106, because (10+10+10)+ (10+10+10)= 106  then log10(1000)+log10(1000)= log10(1000×1000)= 6


log10(1,000,000)- log10(1000)= log10(1,000,0001000)= log10(1000) = 3

Now, why is all that important? Well, a decibel is a logarithmic unit that expresses ratios, so by adding and subtracting decibels, we are multiplying and dividing ratios.

What is a Decibel?

The decibel was named after Alexander Graham Bell and is commonly used to provide a relative measure of sound intensity. Because of the prefix “deci”, 1 decibel = .1 Bels. But people rarely use the Bel, because 1 decibel is the just noticeable difference (JND) in sound intensity for the normal human ear. Because the decibel is measuring a ratio, to standardize the decibel you must be comparing a value or intensity to a standardized value or intensity. For example, if I0 represents the threshold of hearing (the sound intensity required to be heard by the human ear), and I is the intensity compared to the threshold of hearing, then:

I(dB)= 10log10[II0]

Using this formula you would find the intensity of the sound in decibels with respect to the threshold of hearing.

Decibels in Wireless: dBm, and dBi

So how does the decibel come into play when it comes to wireless? In the world of wireless, rather than intensity we use the decibel to measure a ratio of power. But just like sound, in order to standardize the decibel, the power you are measuring needs to be in relation to a standardized value of power. That is why there are multiple uses of  the decibel in wireless: dBm, dBi, and dBd all have a different value of power that is being compared to.

The first decibel, dBm, is often used to describe transmitters is power relative to 1 milliwatt. Therefore, a transmitter with a power level of 0 dBm corresponds to a power of 1 milliwat, because the ratio is a 1:1 ratio. But to find the power of a 1,000,000mW transmitter, you would use the following formula:

Power in dBm= 10log10[Power in mW1mW]

The result would be that a 1,000,000mW transmitter could be represented as 60dBm. The fact that large numbers can easily be translated into small and manageable numbers is one reason the dBm is used in wireless. Similar to dBm, dBW is also used (with reference to 1 Watt (W)) though not commonly. The dBW is used mainly to describe very large amounts of power.

The dBi is used to describe the forward gain of an antenna. The “i” in dBi stands for isotropic, because it comparing the forward gain of an antenna with a hypothetical isotropic antenna, which uniformly distributes energy in all directions. This antenna is the hypothetical perfect omnidirectional radiator, a point source that does not exist in nature. Knowing the dBi of an antenna is important in wireless, because the power put into the antenna by the transmitter (in dBm) plus the antenna gain (in dBi) is equal to the Effective Isotropic Radiated Power (EIRP) of the radio unit (transmitter plus antenna).

The great thing about the decibel in both of these cases, is that because it is simply a ratio of values, these ratio values can be added and subtracted. So the gain of the antenna can be added to the power of the transmitter, and the loss due to the inefficiencies of cables can be subtracted from that, and so on, to find the link budget. A link budget is an accounting of all the gains and losses between a transmitter and a receiver, and would be much more complicated without the decibel.

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Topics: dB, decibels, tech support

How To Protect Your Device From Lightning

Posted by Courtney Hamby on Thu, Jul 14, 2016 @ 01:22 PM

Most antenna manufacturers have been asked at one time or another whether their product is lightning proof. Unfortunately, this question is a bit simpler than its answer. In this article you will be able to see some ideas regarding the protection of your installation as well as some widely used protection products.

lightning-1194425-640x480.jpgTo start the break down of lightning protection, you first want to look at your antenna mountings. Statistics show that lightning tends to strike at the highest electrical conductor and flows through the lowest resistance to the ground. You will find that most antennas have something called a “boom”, or a metallic rod attached to the antenna, which inevitably creates a strong target for a lightning strike. These days, devices such as static dischargers, wicks, and spine balls are added to the antennas and to the tops of towers. This provides the constant discharge, which in turn, decreases any potential for a direct strike.

As we all know, surge events are not just caught by towers or antennas. The BTS sites or Base Transceiver Station sites are vulnerable as well. If lightning strikes within a BTS, it can prompt high-energy electromagnetic fields onto the feeder lines. To set up a properly grounded transmission system, you will always want a minimum of 3 cable grouping points. The first one will need to be placed at the top of the main feeder line. The second grounding point should be placed at the bottom of the tower-mounted section. This point needs to be within three feet of the lateral bend away from any cable trays or towers. To finish your grounding transmission system, place the third point within three feet of your equipment building or the radio cabinet. Keep in mind, additional points must be placed on the main vertical run of transmission line, usually one grounding point for each 200 feet of additional feeder cable.

Do not forget to set up your input protection as well. This type of protection involves a surge or lightning protector at the input of a radio, or the antenna side. You will find that there are several types of surge protection devices out there, the three major types are the spark gap, the quarter-wavelength shorted stub, and the gas discharge tube.

The oldest of the three is the spark gap, consisting of two points spaced closely together and directly across from the transmission line. Once lightning strikes, the voltage present will jump across each point and travel do the ground. The downfall of this option is that spark gaps may not protect against weaker voltage. The second option is a newer development called the gas tube. The gas tube works similarly to the spark gap, one advantage to the gas tube is that it has the possibility to be designed to dependably operate at significantly lower voltages. The gas tube can operate down to 100 Volts for the low power circuits, and can be devised to operate an extreme broadband frequency range with low VSWR up to 2 gHz. Like the spark gap, if the gas tube does get struck by lightning, it will need to be replaced, although it may not warn the user by initiating a short circuit. Preventative maintenance is required.

Thirdly, the quarter wavelength shorting stub, which has become very popular through out that last several years, specifically above 800 MHz where bandwidth is usually narrow. This device involves a tuned ¼ wavelength shorted coaxial type transmission line that is then placed directly across the transmission line. 

Although lightning strikes are inevitable, there are plenty of options available that will give you the protection your equipment requires. With the combination of thorough design, appropriate protection devices, good tooling, and of course proper installation you will minimize the risks. Preventative actions must be taken to make sure there is as little loss as possible. Surge protection and proper grounding is a small price to pay compared to the investment of a complete system replacement due to a lightning strike.

Contact AvaLAN Today for more information

Topics: lighting

Is Wireless Ethernet a good choice for upgrading your fuel pump to EMV?

Posted by Brook Svoboda on Wed, Jun 29, 2016 @ 02:36 PM

Many fuel center professionals are evaluating options for how to best comply with the October 2017 deadline of upgrading their fuel pump payment systems to EMV.

95% of all fuel pumps in existence use legacy “2 wire” connectivity from the fuel pump to the master server, which is typically located inside the store. 2 wire (or RS-485/Serial) communication is an old technology that worked well for typical pump data and mag strip card readers, however the new EMV payment terminals have many characteristics that require the more robust communications medium of Ethernet.

The most natural migration for many fuel centers facing the EMV upgrade deadline of 2017 is to simply “bite the bullet” and begin planning around huge costs and the business interruption reality of tearing up concrete to install Ethernet cable runs out to the fuel pumps.

However some major retailers are considering a much lower cost alternative for upgrading their pumps to Ethernet. That alternative is called Wireless Ethernet. Not to be confused with Wi-Fi, Wireless Ethernet has built a reputation for range, reliability and most importantly, security.

With the Internet of Things (IoT) revolution, companies such as AvaLAN Wireless are building and deploying high speed extremely secure and reliable Wireless Ethernet solutions for Machine (Fuel Pump) to Machine (Master Server) communications. Employing highly advanced encryption standards such as FIPS197 and FIPS140-2 along with the advanced range and penetration capabilities of 900 MHz, company’s like AvaLAN offer an extremely compelling alternative to the costly burden of rewiring the fuel center for EMV.

With successful wireless POS deployments to Fortune 20 retailers AvaLAN is poised to become the premier EMV wireless upgrade option in 2017.

What is wireless Ethernet? Wireless Ethernet is the use of unlicensed or licensed spectrum radios uniquely designed with Ethernet interfaces, for reliable industrial M2M Ethernet cable replacement.

Here are 10 questions to consider when planning your next Wireless Ethernet System:

  1. Security.Commercial_Gas.jpg
  2. How do the radios handle real world interference?
  3. Are the radios optimized to handle Ethernet packets?
  4. What’s the best way to design the project? PTP, PTMP, or Mesh?
  5. Is latency an important factor for the device(s) I am connecting?
  6. What are the trade offs between power consumption, frequencies, and throughput?
  7. What is the variance in wireless reliability with different types of obstructions?
  8. What are the pros and cons of wireless Cellular Ethernet vs. Wireless ISM or licensed band Ethernet?
  9. Is this an outdoor installation? If so, what type of radio enclosure will perform best year over year in harsh environments?
  10. What is the total cost of ownership and value of the solution I will be deploying?

At AvaLAN Wireless Systems, our team of engineers have over 20 years of experience developing and implementing Wireless Ethernet solutions for a wide variety of M2M applications including, Retail POS, IP Surveillance Cameras, IP Access Control, SCADA IP PLC, VOIP, IP Digital Billboards, and many others.  Please contact us for all your industrial wireless needs. We look forward to working with you.

Contact AvaLAN Today for more information

Topics: Wireless Ethernet, EMV, Fuel Pump

Top Five Wireless Considerations for Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)

Posted by Matt Nelson on Mon, Jun 13, 2016 @ 09:00 AM

By: Matt Nelson, CEO and President of AvaLAN Wireless Systems, Inc.

1. Connection Reliability

Reliable industrial device connectivity can be the difference between success and failure.  There are many different wireless technologies and standards.  One of the biggest differences between different wireless technologies is their reliability.  Wireless technology can be designed for “industrial” reliability. Most consumer wireless technologies are not build for the reliability demands of the industrial device market and can result in very poor operating results.  From the hardware components operating at wide temperature ranges to wireless communications protocols that manage RF interference, packet error correction and guaranteed Ethernet packet delivery, choosing a reliable wireless connectivity platform or technology is critical.  

IIoT_Image.jpg2. Data Throughput

Data throughput is the speed or rate at which data needs to be traveling to and from and industrial device. Connecting industrial devices to the internet is simple in concept but, to insure success of any project it is important to know home much data and how often data needs to be obtained from your device.  There is a wide variety of industrial devices today that are being connected to the internet for data collection and device interactivity.  Sensor devices typically need only small amounts of data throughput but the interval at which the data is collected ranges from milliseconds to days.  Other industrial devices may require higher data throughput because of the quantity of data being transferred to and from the device, like a large database of information being used the device.  Most IIoT devices are being wirelessly connected for cloud based monitoring and control of the device.  Command and control of IIoT devices typically does not require a large amount of data throughput.

3. Wireless Range

Industrial wireless device connectivity range can make a big difference in what technology is chosen.  Range is the distance from the device to the network access point.  IIoT devices connection to the internet or private networks fall into the same wide-area (WLAN) and local-area(LAN) network categories that most IT professionals are accustomed.  Many remote IIoT devices can be serviced by a wireless cellular LTE gateway.  Devices that are within 5 miles of a network access point or internet gateway can be connected with other local wireless network connectivity devices and technology.

4. Network Cyber Security

Data security is never important until the data is taken or a device is tampered with unexpectedly.  IIoT device security isn’t simply a good practice, it is critical to the integrity of your system and the long term operation of the devices and their system.  While some system architects approach network security from an insurance standpoint, it is a much better practice to build security into an IIoT system from the beginning with a focus on reliability.  The better the security the more reliable your IIoT system will be.  Because so much of the industrial IoT market is about device command and control or automation, the security of the system is very important.  Simple firewalls help to take out a large portion of potential intrusions but insuring that high quality data encryption and device network verification and validation at each individual device on the end points of any IIoT system works best.

5. Industry Proven Technology

Most IIoT applications are dependent on the devices operation to be working 24x7.  There are many different wireless connectivity technologies and innovation continues year after year.  Industrial applications do not support high failure rates that are typical with newer technologies so, having a proven solution that has been used and deployed in multiple installations is more important than insuring you have the “latest and greatest”.  Choose robust technologies that have a track record for success in IIoT wireless connectivity.

Contact AvaLAN Today for more information

Topics: internet of things, industrial internet of things

Using AvaLAN 900 MHz

Posted by Courtney Hamby on Wed, May 11, 2016 @ 09:14 AM

AW900xTR-PAIR.jpgDo you need to create a long-range wireless connection that isn’t line-of-sight and handles interference? 900 MHz radios and antennas are a lower frequency, meaning that they are more able to penetrate obstacles in their way.

We carry a wide variety of 900 MHz wireless equipment based on the RJ45 Ethernet interface, with both indoor and outdoor components such as wireless Ethernet radios and wireless Ethernet bridges to allow for a greater number of physical configurations. With these versatile 900 MHz antennas and radios, you can create a far-reaching wireless network that can easily include such devices as digital signage, IP access control readers, VoIP phones, point-of-sale systems and more.

Our 900 MHz antennas and radios have greater ability to penetrate obstacles, making them ideal for creating strong and reliable non-line-of-sight wireless connections — especially in areas where there is too much interference or too large of a range for 802.11 systems to perform well.

Contact AvaLAN Today for more information

Topics: 900 MHZ, 900MHz

Top 5 Blogs of 2015

Posted by Courtney Hamby on Thu, Dec 31, 2015 @ 08:28 AM

I thought it would be fun to see which blog posts were the most viewed in 2015 and here they are:

the-best-2015.png1. Advantages of Network Security | The need for having Network Security cannot be denied. With a Network Security System, all the files, data & personal information are kept safe and protected from unauthorized access from people present on the network and people outside it. View Blog Post Here >>

2. Importance of Network Security for Business Organization | Any organization should monitor its system for potential unauthorized access and other kind of attacks. In order to safeguard sensitive information, it is important to perform routine checks and create a reliable and safe network. Every year, many organizations, corporations and governments dedicate a substantial chunk of their investment on their computer and network security. It is crucial to establish a safe and secure network for the following reasons. View Blog Post Here >>

 3. What is the difference in point-to-point and point-to-multipoint radios? Point-to-Point (PTP) communication and Point-to-Multipoint (PTMP) communication may be lesser known terms to common users, but they hold great significance in the field of telecommunications. Two-way radio is a classic example of PTP communication. On the other hand, radio and television broadcasting are examples of PTMP communication. Both the communication systems have their distinct capabilities and a few limitations as well. The following section introduces you with the two and their applications. View Blog Post Here >>

 4. What are the Top Benefits and Top Disadvantages of Using a 900 MHz Frequency? When it comes to understanding wireless connectivity, you first need to understand that not all types of wireless applications are equal. Without a good working knowledge of wireless technology, it sometimes gets difficult to understand which type of wireless band radio should be employed to maximize connectivity in a particular situation. Since each wireless network behaves differently and is capable of emitting different strengths and weaknesses, it is always a good idea to calculate the requirement prior to choosing the most reliable connection. View Blog Post Here>>

 5. Top 10 Advantages of Proprietary Wireless Technologies | Proprietary industrial wireless technologies offer a number of very compelling advantages over other standardized wireless technologies. If you ever wanted to have a more reliable Ethernet connection that could guarantee every single data packet getting through your network then proprietary networking could be your answer. This “top 10” list shows a number of the advantages proprietary wireless technologies has over more common standards based technologies. View Blog Post Here>>


Topics: best of 2015

Importance of Long Range Wireless Ethernet connectivity

Posted by Courtney Hamby on Thu, Oct 08, 2015 @ 08:38 AM

In the industrial world, personnel often have to work in some remote areas where they may not be connected with any internet services. This is particularly true in regions like forests, high sea, mountains, etc. In such cases, the industries normally prefer to establish industrial wireless radio service whereby it would be possible to establish connectivity with its workforce by making use of radio frequencies. You can find many agencies specialized in providing such long range wireless Ethernet services that are known to secure very efficient connectivity with the staff working in the field station.


Here is some brief insight into the unique characteristics of long range wireless Ethernet services provided by these agencies:

Customized service: These agencies provide customized services like for those working in remote areas or for those working on public safety works during floods, earthquake, etc. For the benefit of the client, the agencies would help establish which Ethernet services is the best fit for their application, 900 MHz, 5.8 GHz or 4.9Ghz.

Security of data:  This is one of the very important elements that need a careful analysis. To achieve security of data, the products are encrypted which permit only authorized persons to beam or retrieve data in the prescribed range.

Interference avoidance: Any other devices working in the same frequency may interfere with the data of the clients. To avoid such a situation, the agencies take an appropriate action which prevents such interference.

Affordable price: The service charges of the agencies are known to be quite reasonable. The service charges normally depend on the type of Ethernet service.

  Contact AvaLAN Today for more information

Topics: ethernet, interference, long range, connectivity, Wireless Ethernet

Outdoor Wireless Ethernet Bridge

Posted by Courtney Hamby on Mon, Sep 14, 2015 @ 09:14 AM

AW58100HTA_S-NE-PairAccording to experts, the use of outdoor wireless Ethernet bridge has increased due to its reliability and its ability to provide quick access and data retrieval. The Ethernet Bridge is normally used to connect two Local Area Network (LAN) segments and can extend internet services even in the remote locations. These bridged pairs are available for both indoor and outdoor applications. The access points are used for transmitting wireless radio signals.

An outdoor wireless Ethernet bridge is simply bridging the network without wires. Of course, this also applies to an indoor wireless network. This is a software bridge that connects two LANs and thereby enables the persons to access the internet. Some wireless bridges enable the user to connect and transmit data 30 miles away.

The wireless outdoor Ethernet bridge has been gaining popularity because of its versatile applications and various frequencies. Ethernet bridges often come pre-configured and are available in 800 Mpbs, 5.8 Ghz, 900 MHz and 2.4 Ghz. These bridges are designed to connect fringe IP devices including IP access, remote printers and control readers and more. The protocol is compatible with operating systems like the Windows GNU/Linux making it easy for everyone to use.

These Ethernet devices can also provide multipoint access as well as the point-to-point access making it very customizable. Many industries prefer using a wireless Ethernet connection because is a very quick way to transmit data and it is cost effective. If you want to learn more about these Wireless Ethernet bridges, AvaLAN would be happy to help! 

Contact AvaLAN Today for more information

Topics: wireless, ethernet, 900 MHZ, outdoor ethernet, 5.8 GHz, access point, 2.4Ghz, 800 Mbps, outdoor wireless, 5.8GHz, bridged pair, outdoor wireless Ethernet bridge

Why Use Industrial Ethernet Products?

Posted by Courtney Hamby on Mon, Aug 31, 2015 @ 03:08 PM

Industrial Ethernet Products are used in the Ethernet wiring of an industrialized area. These Ethernet devices are primarily used for process control and automation and a wide range of techniques are made use of to adapt these products.

AW2400xTR-PAIRUses for Ethernet Products

Some of the useful Ethernet products that are made use in industries include unmanaged Ethernet industrial switches, compact industrial switches, workgroup switches, serial to Ethernet converters, as well as modular industrial switches. These cost-effective products are used to a great extent in industrial sectors, and are designed specifically for use even in harsh environments. Installation of these efficiently designed products of Ethernet technology is not very difficult, and can be used in particular for power network devices.

The Ethernet products are used specifically for computer interconnections, and with its use it is trouble-free to achieve connectivity even in locations that are hard to reach. The connection made obtainable with the Ethernet products is very reliable, and obtainable with bandwidth necessities. The most imperative applications where it is used include accessing gate controls, gas flow measurement in industries, and statistics aggregation in particular for rock quarries.

Noteworthy Advantages of Ethernet Products

Use of this technology is very safe, as the network acquaintances offered by these products are consistent and of good speed. It is even possible to manage the network properly with software intuitive that is used for monitoring and efficient planning.

The use of Ethernet products for automation is very flexible and reliable and it is with these products that it is possible to design the infrastructure with total freedom. They are used to a great level for video surveillance applications and to connect IP fringe devices. The products are robust in their construction, and designed to meet the requirements of the surroundings which make them a great choice for applications that require extreme weather proof solutions.

Contact AvaLAN Today for more information

Topics: Industrial Ethernet, ethernet, industrial automation, Automation, Process Control