Posts Tagged ‘Point-to-point’

Case Studies: Point-to-point wireless bridge – Campus

Friday, December 6th, 2013


Gyver Networks recently completed a point-to-point (PTP) bridge installation to provide wireless backhaul for a Boston college

Challenge:  The only connectivity to local network or Internet resources from this school’s otherwise modern athletic center was via a T1 line topping out at 1.5 Mbps bandwidth.  This was unacceptable not only to the faculty onsite attempting to connect to the school’s network, but to the attendees, faculty, and media outlets attempting to connect to the Internet during the high-profile events and press conferences routinely held inside.

Another vendor’s design for a 150 Mbps unlicensed wireless backhaul link failed during a VIP visit, necessitating a redesign by Gyver Networks.  After performing a spectrum analysis of the surrounding environment, Gyver Networks determined that the wireless solution originally proposed to the school was not viable due to RF spectrum interference.

For a price point close to the unlicensed, failed design, Gyver Networks engineered a secure, 700 Mbps point-to-point wireless bridge in the licensed 80GHz band to link the main campus with the athletic center, providing adequate bandwidth for both local network and Internet connectivity at the remote site.  Faculty are now able to work without restriction, and event attendees can blog, post to social media, and upload photos and videos without constraint.

Microwave vies with fiber for high-frequency trading

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

Stock traders turning to legacy microwave technologies for faster communications

In the world of high-frequency trading, where being ahead of the competition by a few milliseconds can mean profits worth millions of dollars, finance firms are increasingly looking to decades-old microwave technologies for a competitive edge.

Such firms are finding that wireless microwave technology, despite being in use for more than half a century, can deliver data a few milliseconds faster than fiber-optic cable. As a result, the once-stagnant industry of microwave communications is finding itself in an “arms race” among vendors of new competitive offerings, said Mike Persico, CEO of financial exchange service provider Anova Technologies.

“If you want to transport a little bit of data very fast, physics tells you that you have to go through air. Fiber is just not a good idea. It will slow you down,” explained StA(c)phane Ty , co-founder of Quincy Data, which provides microwave services to financial firms.

Ty was one of a number of speakers who discussed the increasing use of microwave technologies at the Quant Invest conference last week in New York.

For financial services firms, getting some piece of competitive intelligence a few milliseconds faster than their competitors can be worth the cost of securing a faster link. Stock trades can take less than a millisecond to execute.

Microwave technologies have been in use for point-to-point connections for decades by the military and by broadcast television stations. Point-to-point wireless microwave transmissions, which operate in the 1.0GHz to 30GHz part of the spectrum, require line of site, though signals can be repeated along the route. A good signal — such as between two mountaintops — can travel as much as 300 kilometers, or around 186 miles.

Microwave use has declined in the past few decades as fiber-optics communications has been able to offer greater bandwidth. These days, the largest microwave link can offer only 150Mbps, though work is being done to develop gigabit microwave technologies.

One advantage microwave still possesses, however, is speed of transmission. Electromagnetic waves travel faster through air than through glass. Light, an electromagnetic wave, can travel at 300,000 kilometers (186,000 miles) per second in a vacuum, and nearly that quickly through air. Light, however, can only travel at about 200,000 kilometers per second in even the clearest glass.

Another speed advantage microwave technologies offer is that their paths tend to be shorter, because signals can be beamed across the most direct path between two points. The length of fiber-optic routes tend to be elongated due to the inability to get right-of-way along the most optimum routes.

One new hot market for microwave providers is between New York and Chicago, both cities with many financial services firms. In 2010, Quincy Data had applied with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to secure a pathway between Chicago and New York. It found only one other provider that had also submitted a similar request. Since then dozens of other carriers have submitted requests to the agency. Quincy Data has been operational since July selling throughput between the two cities.

Based on the speed of light, the theoretical limit for sending information between New York and Chicago is 7.96 milliseconds. Right now, the state-of-the-art among microwave service providers is about 8.5 milliseconds, Persico said, noting how different providers are trying to secure the fastest rights-of-way and are developing technologies with the lowest latencies, all in an effort to offer the fastest sub-millisecond services for financial firms.

“We’ve been looking at [microwave technologies] for about a year now, in both Europe and the U.S.,” said Ian Jack, head of the U.S. infrastructure business for the New York Stock Exchange, during a panel discussion on the topic. “We’re looking at what the vendor community is doing and trying to leverage that as much as possible.”

Performance is still a big factor, Jack said. Performance “is one of our big challenges as a potential buyer. If you look at the actual uptime for services, it’s not brilliant. Every vendor has a new change, a revelation just around the corner, but we have yet to see that.”

Rain can hamper performance with microwave technologies. So can low-lying clouds. “Interference can bring an entire network down, and you don’t have that with fiber-optic networks,” Persico said. He noted that, eventually, microwave technology vendors will compete more on how robust their networks are, once they offer approximately the same latency times.


FCC “white space” spectrum release elicits visions of “super Wi-Fi”

Friday, September 24th, 2010

The following is an excerpt from the FCC regarding the release of airwaves formerly used for analog television signals, now made available for unlicensed use in the public sector:


Washington, D.C. -- The Federal Communications Commission today took steps to free up vacant
airwaves between TV channels -- called “white spaces” -- to unleash a host of new technologies, such as
“super Wi-Fi,” and myriad other diverse applications. This is the first significant block of spectrum made
available for unlicensed use in more than 20 years.

TV white space spectrum is considered prime real estate because its signals travel well, making it ideally
suited for mobile wireless devices. Unlocking this valuable spectrum will open the doors for new
industries to arise, create American jobs, and fuel new investment and innovation. The National
Broadband Plan noted the importance of unlicensed spectrum in creating opportunities for new
technologies to blossom and recommended that the Commission complete the TV white spaces
proceeding as expeditiously as possible.

The Second Memorandum Opinion and Order (Second MO&O) adopted today resolves numerous legal
and technical issues. Notably, the Order eliminates the requirement that TV bands devices that
incorporate geo-location and database access must also include sensing technology to detect the signals of
TV stations and low-power auxiliary service stations (wireless microphones). It also requires wireless
microphone users who seek to register in the TV bands databases to certify that they will use all available
channels from 7 through 51 prior to requesting registration. Requests to register in the database will be
public, thus allowing interested parties to weigh in on any given request.

The Commission is also taking steps to ensure that incumbent services are protected from interference
from the use of white spaces in various ways. In particular, today’s Order reserves two vacant UHF
channels for wireless microphones and other low power auxiliary service devices in all areas of the
country. It also maintains a reasonable separation distance between TV White Space device and wireless
microphone usage permitted to be registered in the database

Action by the Commission September 23, 2010, by Second Memorandum Opinion and Order (FCC 10-
174). Chairman Genachowski, Commissioners Copps, McDowell, Clyburn, and Baker. Separate
Statements issued by Chairman Genachowski, and Commissioners Copps, McDowell, Clyburn and

ET Docket Nos. 03-280 and 04-186.

So what does this mean for us?  The phrase “super Wi-Fi” is certain to get people excited, as well it should.  The release of the unlicensed spectrum means the potential is now there for exponentially enhanced wireless network capabilities (some long-range experimental networks were already licensed by the FCC in anticipation of this spectrum release), but could give birth to other applications not even envisioned yet.

The last time the FCC released spectrum space, we were the beneficiaries of the baby monitor, cordless phones, today’s Wi-Fi, and a host of other conveniences.  Who knows where this will lead?  Mobile users are certainly poised to benefit the most from this development, but just how much and how soon remains to be seen.