Feature Article

November 26, 2014

Getting on the Beam with AOptix

We had a great discussion at the Fog Computing conference about the use of millimeter technology, and agreed that 60 MHz in particular is catching people’s attention. Mark Kelley of OpenRan and Gabriel Desjardins of Broadcom (News  - Alert) led the discussion, pointing out the issues we are facing in deploying the necessary backhaul to support all of the data requirements. While some customers expect to be serviced by cellular operators, the same technology for backhaul beam-forming can be used by municipalities and multi-location companies to support their requirements. Millimeter technology is lightly regulated by the government because candidly, the chance for interference is limited. What is problematic is keeping the beam on track as heat, wind and other environmental issues distort the location of the signal.

The use of AOptix Intellimax is an interesting solution since it used both optic laser line of sight and millimeter microwave to transmit at 2GB over 10 Km. The use of both optics and millimeter beam-forming means that adjustments to weather can be properly accounted for on the system. Beam Forming needs to be dynamic since the tower can have a two percent deviation, but fortunately, combining the optics with the wireless gives the system the opportunity to point and adjust. Once the adjustment is done the system tracks the impact of the deviation and adjusts appropriately.

As the use of small cells outside the office continues to grow, the use of backhaul will increase, and as per OpenRan’s Mark Kelley will start to require backhaul mesh networks. This fits in nicely to the ideas associated with Network Functions Virtualization [NFV].

However, right now the marketplace is more direct (meaning point to point). One of the customers using the system is Anova Technologies, which is supporting financial traders. High-speed trading is the application that has caught the early attention, but like so much of communication, Anova's CEO Michael Persico points out that we all want to benefit from higher speeds and in effect, that speed is the need we all have.

Edited by Rory J. Thompson

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