Solectek Corp. of San Diego offers a high-speed wireless bridge system that can link local area networks up to 25 miles apart in an ideal setting, or 7 miles apart in an urban area, using spread spectrum radio technology at 2.4 GHz.
Airlan/Bridge Ultra eliminates the need for costly telephone lines and allows a company to own its networking equipment, said James DeBello, chairman of Solectek.
The company designs, develops and markets wireless LAN products to provide computer users with high-speed, wireless links to their data networks. Principal investors in the 6-year-old, privately held company include AT&T Ventures, Menlo Ventures and Hancock Venture Partners.
The Bridge Ultra solution using the Token Ring standard was jointly developed with Cisco Systems Inc., and offers either single, intra-building solutions or multiple, inter-building LAN links. Bridging using the Ethernet standard also is available.
No license is needed to operate the system because Airlan/Bridge Ultra operates on the 2.4 GHz unlicensed Industrial, Science and Medical band. It is ideal for campus buildings where the installation of cable is difficult or not possible, the company said.
Airlan/Bridge Ultra uses a high-gain directional antenna and a long-range transverter. Data can be transmitted up to 25 miles in point to point configurations under ideal conditions, 17 miles in typical rural environments and 7 miles in typical urban environments.
One bridge unit is installed at each building to be linked, generally mounted on the roof or in an area with an unobstructed view of the reciprocal antenna. Alignment is done with a monitor and keyboard, using menu-driven software.
LAN administrators can select from four user communication channels, which allow more bridge links per geographical unit, without interference or a reduction in throughput.
“It is an ideal solution for connecting Token Ring networks in a campus environment since there are no leased lines or outside services involved,” said David Gudmundson, director of marketing for Cisco’s Access business unit.
Unlike leased lines, Airlan/Bridge Ultra becomes a permanent part of the network like other purchased LAN equipment, such as hubs and adapters, the company claims.
“Key applications include health care, manufacturing and other campus environments where bridging and routing capabilities are required for a total wireless computing solution,” DeBello said.
Other Airlan products include Airlan/Access, which serves as a wireless access point to a wired LAN. It creates a 50,000-square-foot cell area of connectivity in a typical office environment. It allows mobile users equipped with Airlan/PCMCIA or Airlan/Parallel to seamlessly roam from Access cell to Access cell.
Airlan/PCMCIA (the Personal Computer Memory Card International Association device) is a wireless adapter that connects to any Type II PCMCIA slot.