Labs Goes Up, Up and Away to Test Wireless Solution

 
 
By Andrew Garcia  |  Posted 2006-05-16 Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

For an upcoming review of LightPointe's new FlightExpress 100 wireless solution, eWEEK Labs partnered with the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics at the University of California, Berkeley, to provide network connectivity to the remotely located Levin

For an upcoming review of LightPointes new FlightExpress 100 wireless solution, eWEEK Labs partnered with the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics at the University of California, Berkeley, to provide network connectivity to the remotely located Levine-Fricke Field, home of Cals womens softball team.

LightPointe Communications offers a range of products that leverage Free Space Optics technology to provide wireless data connections—all of which require a clear line of sight between the devices at both ends of the connection.

With the field tucked high in the Berkeley hills, line of sight proved difficult to attain—trees, the outfield wall and unpredictable traffic patterns limited the number of possible installation points that offered proper visibility from a location with a wired Internet connection.

During the initial walkthrough, the university folks and I estimated that connecting a link head to one of the stadium light stanchions would easily provide enough height to clear the outfield wall while avoiding the many redwood and oak trees nearby.

After consulting with LightPointe technicians, however, we learned that such posts are far from an ideal mounting surface: Temperature fluctuations cause the metal to expand and contract slightly, which could alter the devices orientation, and wind could cause enough movement to disrupt the beam.

We eventually settled on a small spot on the roof of the cottage that houses the restrooms, which provided a great opportunity to take a ride in a lift.

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Andrew cut his teeth as a systems administrator at the University of California, learning the ins and outs of server migration, Windows desktop management, Unix and Novell administration. After a tour of duty as a team leader for PC Magazine's Labs, Andrew turned to system integration - providing network, server, and desktop consulting services for small businesses throughout the Bay Area. With eWEEK Labs since 2003, Andrew concentrates on wireless networking technologies while moonlighting with Microsoft Windows, mobile devices and management, and unified communications. He produces product reviews, technology analysis and opinion pieces for eWEEK.com, eWEEK magazine, and the Labs' Release Notes blog. Follow Andrew on Twitter at andrewrgarcia, or reach him by email at agarcia@eweek.com.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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