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Free-Space Optics

What is FSO?
Free-Space Optics (also known as "FSO", or "Optical Wireless") is an optical data, voice and video transmission system. Like fiber optic cable, FSO communications systems use laser light to transmit a digital signal between two transceivers. However, unlike fiber, the laser like is transtmited through the air (free-space) instead of through a glass strand. In order for the digital signal to be transmitted and received, there must be clear line of site between each FSO unit. In other words, there should be no obstructions such as trees or buildings between the transceiver units.
FSO is primarily deployed where performance, security, rapid deployment, and cost-savings are critical issues.  The TereScopeT line of FSO products from MRV, ranging from 1.5Mbps to 2.5Gbps in bandwidth, provides a solution for any protocol in common use both in Carrier and Enterprise networks.

Who Uses FSO?
Ranging from hospitals, banks and telecommunications companies to municipal and military installations, FSO systems are filling a variety of wireless data communication needs the world over. For private corporate networks, FSO systems provide a very high bandwidth link between sites without the recurring costs of leased lines. For high bandwidth applications such as videoconferencing, FSO provides new alternatives to installing fiber optic cable between sites where it is very expensive or impossible to lay. For temporary network connectivity needs, such as at exhibitions, conventions, sporting events, or disaster recovery, high bandwidth links can be easily and quickly provided using portable FSO systems. In addition, FSO systems are also used as high-speed wireless backup for fiber optic cable and as "Last Mile" solutions, connecting customer sites to fiber backbones.

How is FSO Deployed?
FSO systems are typically mounted on the sturdiest areas of buildings or other structures, where there is minimal exposure to vibration, wind sway, and thermal expansion. Usually the corner of a building's roof is the best location, or as close as possible to an outside wall. Mounting to masonry is preferred, as wood is very susceptible to moisture expansion. FSO units can also be installed indoors behind a window.
FSO systems typically interface with your network switch, hub, bridge or router via multimode fiber (850nm or 1310nm) and standard ST or SC connectors. Some TereScope products also connect directly to copper interfaces. The network configuration is designed as if the FSO link was a fiber optic cable running between multiple sites. FSO systems can be protocol transparent or locked to a particular protocol depending on the user's needs. A variety of SNMP and proprietary management options are also available for FSO systems.

FSO Links

TereScope Product Pages

TereScope Product Matrix

Free Space Optics Case Studies - see left side of this page

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