Bridging connectivity gaps
Maturing wireless bridges are poised to challenge costly, slow-to-deploy WANsFollow @infoworld
On the management side, LightPointe provides its own Web-based configuration and monitoring utility. Although the management utility looked a little raw, it was way ahead of the other laser in the roundup, the Canobeam. The management tool is designed for administration security and managing multiple LightPointe products, so you can manage a chain of FlightLites or FlightStratas from a central console.
Since we completed our tests, LightPointe released a version of the FlightStrata based on a patent-pending dual-path system architecture. Dubbed the FlightStrata XA, it combines the optical power of the FlightStrata with an RF-based link the system uses for seamless fail-over in case of extreme weather conditions, for example. This provides physical layer redundancy in a single package for little additional cost.
LightPointe has manufactured two product lines capable of competing with a player such as Canon, which has worked the optical space for decades. Although LightPointe bridges are definitely more difficult to set up than is the Canobeam, and although the FlightStrata is slightly more expensive, both LightPointe bridges are as robust and far easier to manage once they’re configured. And LightPointe’s dual-path architecture should make subsequent versions of the FlightStrata even more competitive next to single-path products such as the Canobeam.
Orthogon OS-Gemini and OS-Spectra
Orthogon was a new name to us, and, indeed, the Waltham, Mass.-based company is only a few years old. Its executives, however, all have extensive background in manufacturing RF-based networking devices, and that’s precisely Orthogon’s focus.
Orthogon brought two products to our test, the OS-Gemini I and the OS-Spectra. Gemini is Orthogon’s slightly older, more mature product line, defined mainly by its bandwidth limitation of 33.6Mbps and need for a 10/100 copper interface back to the network. The Spectra is Orthogon’s newest release, capable of 10 times the throughput of the Gemini and able to run fiber uplinks back to the wired world.
The OS-Gemini runs in the 5.8GHz range and handles throughput of as much as 33.6Mbps. The product handled our short-haul jump just fine, but its latency numbers were the highest in the test. This could be attributed to the office glass in between the connection. The resulting multipath errors caused the unit to do a lot of retransmitting, giving it a higher latency score.
The initial Gemini configuration for the short-haul test came with the radio and antenna on one big flat panel. To go to a high-gain long-haul configuration, Orthogon replaced this configuration with one where the front flat antenna plate broke out the antenna leads. These leads could then be run to wave guides or higher-gain antenna systems for additional range and flexibility.
Mounting the Gemini is straightforward, but the product uses an older style of mounting hardware, including an easy-to-loose nut in the back. This increases the risk of dropping the whole rig while you’re precariously perched up a radio tower. The newer hardware used on the Spectra employs a hanger rather than a nut, making it less likely that you’ll drop the hardware during installation.