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'Virtual fiber' technology being tested in lower Manhaffan at 55 Broad Street. (Technology: Update).

Loea Corporation is demonstrating its new "virtual fiber" technology in lower Manhattan, using high-frequency "pencil beams" to send data at rapid speed between 55 Broad and 80 Pine St. Loea's "virtual fiber" network transmits data at 1.25 gigabits per second, the equivalent of 650 T1 lines or 1,000 DSL connections.

Loea's fiberless technology originally was developed for military use with passive millimeter wave cameras, which allow planes and helicopters to see through fog. In addition to unprecedented speed, the wireless point-to-point system provides nearly 100% weather reliability with little to no interference, costs one-third to one-tenth of a fiber network and can be installed in a day. The fiberless links offer a quick, reliable and cost-effective alternative for backup and redundancy of the network infrastructure in lower Manhattan, said Lou Slaughter, president and CEO of Loea Corporation.

"Loea's ultra broadband technology allows any building to have an incredibly high-speed network, without having to lay fiber or create a whole new infrastructure," Slaughter said.

A small transceiver dish now is positioned on the 27th floor at 55 Broad St., training its narrow pencil beam out the window to a similar unit inside 80 Pine. Two transceivers, which both transmit and receive the wireless beams at gigabit speed, form one fiberless "link," which in turn can be fully integrated with internal networks.

Slaughter said Loea's technology provides a quick and practical solution to the "first mile" problem -- what the telecom industry calls the "last mile" -- of linking fiber networks to business and residential users inside buildings. According to Dain Raucher Wessels, fiber connections currently reach just 2% of the 1.6 million commercial buildings in the U.S.

"The telecommunications industry has invested enormous capacity to lay fiber, but never solved this 'first mile' problem. As a result, the broadband revolution has not been realized," Slaughter said. "Our virtual fiber is bridging technology that delivers network capacity where and when it's needed. We can link locations in different areas, link within locations or provide connectivity to extend fiber networks -- quickly, cheaply and reliably."

Because it can transmit through windows, the Loea transceiver can be placed inside an office or conference room, or on a rooftop. The wireless beams communicate at very high frequency -- 71 to 76 gigahertz. By comparison, a cell phone operates in the range of 800 megahertz to 1.2 gigahertz. Each beam is only about half a degree wide and is very low power -- 30 milliwatts, about the same as an illuminated watch. The pencil beams allow many links to be deployed in a given area for business or residential use with little to no interference. The links work in fog and rain and are up and running more than 99.999% of the time, typically measured over a year, at link distances of a mile.

Loea's technology also is in place at the University of Hawaii, which is using a 2.7-mile fiberless high-speed link to connect students and researchers at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology on Coconut Island, the state's designed marine laboratory refuge, with the University's Windward Community College campus on the island of Oahu.

Loea's fiberless system presents a new spectrum frontier, Slaughter said. The technology can be deployed immediately for federal government applications. He said that in June, the U.S. Federal- Communications Commission (FCC) issued a Notice of Proposed Rule-Making, beginning the process to license use of the technology by the private sector.
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Title Annotation:New high-frequency data transmission product
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 16, 2002
Words:573
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