RealTime IT News

QuickBridge to the Great Outdoors

The general rule of thumb when connecting the networks of remote buildings is that it's going to be a pain, whether you're going coax, fiber, or even wireless. Proxim hopes the new Tsunami QuickBridge product it's unveiling this month will restore the ease-of-use factor.

Maureen Smith, Product Marketing Manager for Tsunami QuickBridge calls them "a hop-in-a-box. You don't need wireless experience, there's no antennas to source, no cables to source. It's got Power over Ethernet, [and includes] all the cable. It plugs directly into the switch."

Each Tsunami QuickBridge includes two ruggedized outdoor bridge units with integrated 20 dBi antenna that meet outdoor temperature specifications. Proxim includes all the mounting hardware to put the devices on a pole (mounting hardware for other surfaces is available separate), two Power over Ethernet (PoE) adapters, two 50-meter long Category-5 Ethernet cables, and manuals. Optionally, there are T1 and E1 (overseas) voice multiplexers with one model (see below). Once installed, you bring the line down to the switch in the network closet of each location and the two networks should be able to communicate.

Installation is eased with a built in antenna alignment tool -- it will beep faster and faster until the two units are properly lined up.

The models include the $3499 Tsunami QuickBridge 20 with a speed of 18Mbps at up to 6 miles; the $7499 Tsunami QuickBridge 20 +T1/E1 with a speed of 12Mbps at up to 6 miles, plus 1.5/2Mbps for dedicated T1 or E1; and the $5499 Tsunami QuickBridge 60 with a speed of 56Mbps at up to 2.5 miles.

Because wireless Tsunami QuickBridges do not use 802.11b (they use the unlicensed 5.8GHz band), the signals won't degrade at longer distances. "It will go at 18Mbps for up to six miles. Past that range, it drops off completely," says Smith.

The QuickBridge line is meant for campus installations where line of sight is possible. "It's classified as "near line of site" [so] it doesn't have to be perfect," says Smith. "A sparse tree in the middle maybe, but not a building."

The regular, higher-end Tsunami products are considered carrier-class by Proxim and don't share the same ease of installation. Smith says "We've had Beta sites install [QuickBridge] in less than = hour."

For those who need a lower cost solution and don't mind the 802.11b drop off, Proxim has the $2100 ORiNOCO 560 Point-to-Point Radio Backbone kit. The range is 6 miles, but tops out at 11Mbps, though will be lower due to 802.11b's network overhead.

Those seeking a point-to-multipoint option, the company has the Tsunami Multipoint, a product that looks similar to the QuickBridge with 20 or 60Mbps data rates going to multiple points up to 6 miles away.

Eric Griffith is the managing editor of 802.11 Planet.