October 14, 2004 San Diego, CA -- LightPointe, manufacturer of optical wireless products based on free-space optics (FSO) technology, today announced that Austin Radiological Association (ARA), a premier specialty health-care organization and one of the nation's largest radiology companies, has deployed four LightPointe optical wireless bridges to connect Texas clinics, hospitals, and physicians sharing medical digital images.
ARA has installed LightPointe's entry-level FlightLite 100 and high-end FlightStrata optical wireless bridges to leverage and extend the reach of an existing wired Metro Ethernet network. The FSO technology enables ARA to deliver X-rays to desktops in less than three seconds, while also meeting strict federal regulations for confidentiality of patient information.
Austin-based ARA maintains 14 imaging centers throughout central Texas and performs more than 650,000 imaging services per year. ARA relies on an all-digital imaging system known as Picture Archiving Communications System (PACS), which has increased radiologists' productivity and lowered operational costs. After installing wired-based Metro Ethernet for the high-speed connectivity required for PACS, the ARA sought wireless solutions to leverage its network hub and to aggregate traffic from several locations. Compliance with federal HIPAA regulations demanded a wireless connectivity option with the highest levels of security.
After rejecting fiber-optic cable as an option because of rights-of-way issues and time delays, and eliminating radio frequency (RF) solutions due to security concerns and bandwidth limitations, ARA installed four LightPointe optical wireless bridges.
According to R. Todd Thomas, chief information officer for ARA, the organization has achieved connectivity speeds of 100 Mbits/sec at all LightPointe-connected sites, while reducing infrastructure costs and eliminating recurring monthly access charges to the local telecommunications service provider. According to Lightpointe representatives, ARA will see a return on investment (ROI) ranging from 6 months to 18 months.
"Whenever we consider bringing up a new site, we start looking for an opportunity to put in another LightPointe system rather than buying another (service provider) circuit," notes Thomas. "The technology has proven itself several times over as the most economical and fastest way to extend Metro Ethernet while delivering high-speed bandwidth."
The ARA plans to install two more LightPointe wireless bridges by the end of December. When ARA transitions to a Voice-over-IP (VoIP) network later this year, the company will take advantage of its LightPointe wireless bridges to carry voice traffic as well.
With bandwidth speeds of up to 2.5 Gbits/sec, LightPointe's Flight optical wireless bridges use beams of light to transmit voice, data, and video through the air over any network protocol--without the need for fiber-optic cable or RF spectrum licenses. In enterprise applications, LightPointe link heads connect campus networks to fiber backbones or bridge two or more buildings in classic LAN-to-LAN topologies historically addressed by T1 links or 802.11 solutions--but at significantly lower price-per-bit, contends Lightpointe.
Bob Preston, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for LightPointe, believes ARA's move to optical wireless solutions reinforces a growing enterprise trend. "The challenge for many corporations is finding a straightforward, secure way to extend the reach of their high-powered networks to an otherwise inaccessible campus LAN location," he explains. "For enterprises such as ARA, LightPointe optical wireless solutions are gaining traction as the ideal bridging option, offering high-speed physical transport for bandwidth-intensive applications without the time and cost constraints of laying fiber."
Shipping since August 2004, FlightLite 100 features Power over Ethernet technology and delivers what Lightpointe claims is a new standard for price-per-bit wireless Fast Ethernet connectivity of 100 Mbits/sec, delivering up to four times the bandwidth of competing 802.11a and 802.11g solutions for the comparable costs. LightPointe's FlightStrata, with Multi-Beam Array Tracking, Automatic Power Control, and Optical Beam Shaping, provides connectivity speeds up to 1.25 Gbits/sec.