The type of communication method used for communicating with LED signs is another important component of a complete electronic messaging system. While cost is an important determinant in selecting the correct communication method, it should not be the only consideration. Convenience is another important factor as well as meeting business requirements. The following descriptions focus on hard wire communication methods and will provide you with a better understanding about each methods' benefits and considerations. Wireless communication options for LED signs are discussed separately as there are numerous options available.

DESCRIPTIONS:
The direct cable communications method uses a RS232 (9 pin connector) cable to connect the PC or laptop to the LED display. Recommended for indoor use. Multiple LED displays can be networked together in a daisy chain format using RS485 cables. RS485 cables are also supported for direct connection between PC and LED display.

BENEFITS:
• Simple and easy to install.
• Inexpensive. All indoor LED displays comes with 50 ft. of RS232 cables.

CONSIDERATIONS:
• RS232 cables recommended for distances up to 150 ft.
• RS485 cables recommended for distances up to 4,000 ft.

DESCRIPTIONS:
The direct cable communication method for outdoor electronic signs uses fiber optics to ensure protection from surges and improved data performance. Fiber optic's capability to handle large data transmission and provide great video quality makes it an ideal communication method for video boards, like Grandwell's VideoMax.

BENEFITS:
• Will not conduct ambient electrical surges1.
• Supports distances up to 2.5 miles.
• Can handle transmission of large data files and provide large bandwidth.

CONSIDERATIONS:
• Fiber optic cables are fragile and require delicate handling and may be expensive to install.
• Require ground conduit for fiber optic cable. Power conduit may be used.

DESCRIPTIONS:
Uses standard off the shelf phone modems and the public telephone networks to communicate with the LED sign. Recommended for either indoor or outdoor applications.

BENEFITS:
• Remote access.
• No distance/range restrictions.

CONSIDERATIONS:
• A dedicated phone line is required and needs to be installed by a local phone company.
• Phone line installation fee and a monthly recurring fee may apply.

DESCRIPTIONS:
Uses a Ethernet to communicate with the LED display. Works with either indoor or outdoor units. In outdoor applications, the TCP/IP converter box should be located inside a building with a RS232 cable running from it to the LED display.

BENEFITS:
• Uses existing TCP/IP network without running long cables.
• Rapid deployment of LED displays in a stand alone or multi unit configuration.

CONSIDERATIONS:
• Each display requires a converter box, unless daisy chained.
• IT assistance required to set the TCP/IP box with an IP address for the display.

DESCRIPTIONS:
Uses TCP/IP network and at least one computer running Grandwell's LAN Server software to communicate with the LED display. Works with either indoor or outdoor displays.

BENEFITS:
• Uses existing TCP/IP network without running long cables.
• Access available for multiple users.

CONSIDERATIONS:
• Dedicated computer connected to LED display is required.
• Requires Grandwell's LAN Server software.


Note:
1. Surges from lightning strikes can travel up to 3km away and much further if there are paths of least resistance, such as copper wires, phone lines, etc.