AirFiber unveils new system combining free space optics and 60-GHz millimeter wave technology

May 29, 2002--AirFiber today unveiled a new high-capacity unlicensed wireless system that provides greater reliability over longer distances than ever before, claim company representatives.

AirFiber today unveiled a new high-capacity unlicensed wireless system that provides greater reliability over longer distances than ever before, claim company representatives. Coupling carrier class free space optical (FSO) equipment with 60-GHz millimeter wave technology, the new solution provides continuous, error-free communications (up to 1.25 Gbits/sec) and 99.999% availability over 1 kilometer--a capability previously not possible with any other unlicensed wireless equipment, contends the company.

The new system, called HFR (Hybrid Free space optic/Radio), capitalizes on the complimentary nature of two respective technologies and extends their reach when coupled together. The reliability of an FSO link over long distances suffers during fog conditions, while 60 Ghz is limited in distance due to attenuation caused by heavy rain. However, the combination is virtually immune to the conditions that limit the distance of either technology alone, says AirFiber--heavy rain does not significantly impact an FSO transmission while fog does not inhibit a 60-GHz signal. When the two technologies are coupled using AirFiber's patent-pending Redundant Link Controller (RLC), error-free wireless communications is possible in all weather conditions.

AirFiber intends for the product to address the telecommunications last mile problem, a dilemma that stems from the time and cost required for fiber extension and renders the vast majority of buildings worldwide without high bandwidth capabilities. AirFiber's products have the ability to bridge this gap with a solution that is less expensive than fiber, requires no expensive frequency licensing or permitting, and can be installed in hours rather than months.

"Other than changing the laws of physics, we have designed the only way to extend the reach of unlicensed wireless systems operating at high capacity," contends Brett Helm, president and chief executive officer of AirFiber. "This is a breakthrough that will revolutionize the last mile in telecommunications and unleash the pent-up capacity of installed fiber systems. The reaction among carriers has been incredible."

AirFiber's HFR system is made possible by the company's proprietary Redundant Link Controller (RLC), a technology currently available in the recently released AirFiber 5800. The RLC monitors two simultaneous transmissions (in the case of HFR, millimeter wave RF and FSO transmission), and provides a "hitless," or error-free, capability to the system. If interference occurs on one of the wireless links, be it from weather attenuation or any link blockage, the RLC maintains error-free communications by using data supplied via the other wireless link. This patent-pending technology is completely transparent to the network and occurs with absolutely no loss of data and provides a fiber-like quality to a wireless transmission.

AirFiber's solution is significantly different than previous attempts of marrying FSO with radio, say company representatives. HFR utilizes links running at the same bandwidth to provide a consistent and guaranteed data rate at all times during all weather conditions. This method is different than a microwave backup that would result in loss of data during the switchover and a lower capacity during fog events.

The AirFiber HFR system currently operates from 155- to 622-Mbits/sec, with a 1.25- Gbit/sec product to be available later this year. For more information about AirFiber (San Diego), visit the company's Web site at

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