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High-Speed Wireless Ethernet Bridge

High-Speed Wireless Ethernet Bridge

A new indoor/outdoor GhostBridge Wireless Ethernet Bridge from B&B Electronics Mfg. offers a line-of-sight range of up to 15km and 5 GHz performance. Used for cable replacements or extensions, it can create a transparent, secure, high-speed (up to 150 Mbps) point-to-point link between two remote devices or networks, eliminating up to 15 km of expensive and damage-prone wiring.

"We have a variety of customers that need to do cable replacements or extensions for Ethernet to link together remote sites, support mobile devices, overcome physical obstacles or address cabling reliability problems," says Mike Fahrion, director of engineering for B&B. "Historically, our only solution for these applications has been based on proprietary RF communications which can provide up to a 1 MBaud link but tends to be expensive and relies on low-volume, niche market radios."

High-Speed Wireless Ethernet Bridge

With the advent of the 802.11n version, backed by hundreds of millions of dollars of R&D invested in developing these chipsets, the performance of the system compared to 900 MHz solutions is considerable, along with increases in reliability and range by jumping to standards-based technology.

"With this new product we wanted to leverage the latest technology and focus on ease of use," Fahrion says. "We factory pre-configure the units into a secure bridge mode instead of having the user wade through dozens of access point/router network configuration fields required by most 802.11-based products."

Fahrion says that most customers either don't have the expertise or don't want to spend the time configuring, so the goal was to take the chipsets and pre-configure the system to create an out-of-the-box, point-and-play experience with no configuration required. "There is no disk, driver or Web server setup required. You take the unit out of the box, plug it in and you've got a link," he says.

Another place where users can get into trouble with wireless is on the antenna side. Even if a user takes an access point and goes through all of the settings to turn it into a bridge, the next problem is how to make the antennas work. With GhostBridge, the antenna is fully integrated and functions as a sector antenna since the unit isn't designed to be an access point. With the goal of providing a solution for cable replacement or extensions, the integrated sector antenna makes the unit user-friendly in terms of mounting and pointing. It can be easily attached to a pole and pointed at the other end until signal strength lights show a link. In less than 20 seconds, the units will automatically pair up and there is a working Ethernet link.

The 80-degree, 15dBi sector antenna is integrated into the housing of the unit. A 5 GHz radio built from the 802.11n 2x2 MIMO technology provides the long-range (up to 15km) connectivity between remote stations and a central office. Or users can bridge two networks or hard-to-reach nodes together. The operating frequency is 5,470 - 5,825 GHz, and the unit consumes 8W maximum power.

The package, available for $599, contains two GhostBridge wireless Ethernet bridges (a base station and a node), two ac PoE adapters with power cords, two dc PoE adapters with barrel plug adapters and four cable ties to secure the units.
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