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Terabeam Corporation, Kirkland, Wash., and the United States government's National Communications System (NCS) have constructed the first free space optics link in the NCS's project to enhance government communications infrastructure.

Terabeam was selected after a thorough review of wireless technologies by the NCS for its "Backup Dial Tone Network Project." The project's goal is to ensure critical Washington, D.C.-area federal facilities maintain communications services in emergencies. By enhancing already existing wired systems with wireless systems, federal agencies can sustain effectiveness in times of crisis.

Terabeam has been selected to create the wireless metro area network (MAN) and provide connectivity for a wireless voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) network. In both cases, Terabeam's technology allows the communications infrastructure to operate independently of the wired local exchange carrier, the local telephone company. Terabeam's metro area network is a data/voice network of free space optic connections that link a certain geographical region without wires or cables.

Terabeam's first deployment as part of the project is a 400 meter free space optics link connecting two Department of Energy sites in Washington, D.C., a link that is now operating. The 100 megabits per second Terabeam connection, using Terabeam's Elliptica(TM) transceivers, is the equivalent of 66 T-1 lines.

"This is the type of capability that can play a vital national security and emergency preparedness role following a disaster, such as the September 11th attacks in New York and Washington," said NCS Deputy Manager Brenton C. Greene. "The success of this pilot program with Terabeam is impressive and offers a promising option for Backup Dial Tone services."

Terabeam's free space optics (FSO) metro area network in Seattle provides a model for the effort being pursued in Washington, DC. The Seattle network contains 11 hub sites, which transmit free space optics wireless signals throughout the downtown area, in effect, providing fiber optic speeds to nearly all of the downtown area. Free space optics is a technology whereby voice and data signals are sent via an invisible beam of light through the air, rather than through underground fiber optic cables. The light, using the same wavelength of a fiber optic cable light, is beamed directly through office windows or to building rooftops, allows high capacity for tremendous amounts of data. It's fiber optics without the fiber.

About Terabeam

Terabeam provides telecommunications carriers and enterprise customers with broadband wireless equipment and professional services to extend their existing networks. Terabeam has developed free space optics (sending invisible light primarily through office windows) and millimeter wave (60 Gigahertz radio) technologies to deliver the speed, capacity and connectivity of fiber optics and the delivery times of a wireless technology. Terabeam is ISO 9001 registered and certified. Terabeam is a registered trademark of Terabeam Corporation.

About National Communications System (NCS)

The NCS consists of 23 Federal member departments and agencies and is responsible for ensuring the availability of a viable national security and emergency preparedness (NS/EP) communications infrastructure. The NCS, which moved to the Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003, oversees vital programs such as the Government Emergency Telecommunications Service (GETS), Wireless Priority Service (WPS) and Telecommunications Service Priority (TSP).

For more information, call 425/460-6546 or visit
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Title Annotation:National Communications System
Publication:Computer Protocols
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2003

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