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LAN bridge augurs well; radio is a winner for California database giant Oracle.

LAN BRIDGE AUGURS WELL

Short-haul microwave, now firmly established as a viable, low-cost alternative to fiber and conventional telco links for remote applications, can also provide lower-cost LAN bridge solutions.

Oracle, the relational-database giant, went microwave to facilitate a high-speed LAN link between old headquarters in Belmont, Calif., and a massive new 12-story facility three miles away.

Communications Director Tony Chance had decided to install T1s from Pacific Bell but worried about bandwidth restrictions. Most remote bridges support no more than two T1 circuits per unit.

Chance was satisfied with the performance and subnetting capabilities of Oracle's Vitalink bridges, but he knew there would be occasions when the new link would have to operate at max Ethernet speed of 10 Mb/s.

"We needed higher bandwidth than we could get with T1 bridges alone," Chance says, "because we were concerned that we would have users in our new building with workstations that may need to boot up from computer systems here. And to do that with the typical Ethernet system you need a link operating at the full 10-Mb/s speed."

Chance opted for DEC's Metrowave Bridge--DEC-supplied Ethernet hardware with a 23-GHz mocrowave radio system from M/A-COM Inc., Chelmsford, Mass.

Chance linked Ethernet LANs up to 4.5 miles apart. The bridge assures network availability by providing a telco-independent transmission path and improves quality of data transmission.

A preliminary path study showed the installation team unobstructed line of sight between the two buildings. No need for repeaters.

Political Hurdle

The old headquarters sat right in the middle of a residential neighborhood. Installation would require a small tower and 2-foot antennae atop this building. Local politicians had to give their OK.

DEC subcontracted the microwave installation to Pacific Communications, a value-added reseller (VAR) of M/A-COM products. This was the first time Rick Nelson, president, would use M/A-COM's new VX radio.

For Oracle, with its three-mile line of site, Nelson installed the 2-foot antenna version of the MA-23VX radio.

From the first floor of Oracle's old headquarters building, the Ethernet signal travels through a DEC LAN Bridge 100 to the DEC microwave interface which feeds the signal into the M/A-COM baseband unit. It then travels via coax link to the RF unit, which is linked by a standard wave-guide to the system's antennae sitting atop a 15-foot tripod tower on the roof of the building. A mirror unit receives the signal and transmits its own signal from the 12th floor of the Oracle Parkway building several miles away.

Lease rates are not a factor, Oracle owns the system. The inherent speed limitations of T1 lines have been surmounted. The 10-Mb/s LAN throughput was achieved without having to tear up streets to lay fiber cable. Full payback is expected to take a little over a year.
COPYRIGHT 1990 Nelson Publishing
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Communications News
Date:Apr 1, 1990
Words:468
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