New firm enters free-space optics arena

November 8, 2002--Digital Atlantic, Inc. has joined the free-space optics fray with the launch of its Wireless Optical Ethernet (WOE) product line.

November 8, 2002--Digital Atlantic, Inc. ( of Northern Virginia has joined the free-space optics fray with the launch of its Wireless Optical Ethernet (WOE) product line. The laser-based system is designed to provide network designers and operators with an economic and flexible complement to fiber or copper in the construction of indoor or outdoor Gigabit Ethernet links. Digital Atlantic's WOE system components became available October 1, 2002.

Digital Atlantic's newly patented "Cascaded Line-of-Sight" technology allows "many" 50- to 300-foot links to be cascaded together. For example, a "demo" found on the company's website describes an application where transceivers are used to send and receive signals, while repeaters are used in between to route the signal around obstacles that would normally prevent line-of-sight transmission. This strategy overcomes the environmental and line-of-sight limitations of other optical systems, says the firm.

Digital Atlantic says its WOE system allows companies to design and build networks faster and cheaper than via wired alternatives. With its Gigabit data carrying capacity, WOE also provides higher throughput than RF-based alternatives.

"A system integrator who needs to extend a network on the other side of a river, highway, or other physical barrier now has a viable, affordable option," says Alton G. Keel, Jr., Ph.D., Digital Atlantic's CEO. "If fiber optics, Cat 5, or RF are out of the question for engineering, financial, or other reasons, our system can easily create the link without the hassle or expense of these systems. Digital Atlantic's technology now provides broadband service providers economical, high-capacity backhaul solutions."

The initial components of Digital Atlantic's product line include Ethernet Optical Transceivers, Repeater Modules, and Ethernet Switch/Routers. A full system deploys in days, rather than months, is easy to install, and requires no licenses or approval by local authorities, says the company.

The transceiver module is priced at $1,695. A Development Kit, which includes all the components needed for two complete links, (four transceivers, one repeater, and two Gigabit switches) is available for $9,995.

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