Geekspeak: December 10, 2001

By Peter Coffee  |  Posted 2001-12-10 Print this article Print

Laser node keeps connections on the beam.

If radio-frequency wireless links are too insecure for your taste, why not move up the electromagnetic spectrum to nearly intercept-proof point-to-point laser? This Freespace Lite laser node, shown at Comdex by British vendor Akhter Computers (, is ready to keep you connected at Ethernet speed across distances of up to 1,000 feet; high-end Freespace Turbo nodes carry up to 155M-bps ATM or 100M-bps FDDI or Fast Ethernet traffic for as far as 2,500 feet.

For rapid deployment, claimed as only 2 hours from box to connection, each node includes a telescopic sight and electronic alignment aids; an automatic lens defroster kicks in below 37 degrees Fahrenheit. The system is built by SilCom Manufacturing Technology, of Mississauga, Ontario (

Peter Coffee is Director of Platform Research at, where he serves as a liaison with the developer community to define the opportunity and clarify developers' technical requirements on the company's evolving Apex Platform. Peter previously spent 18 years with eWEEK (formerly PC Week), the national news magazine of enterprise technology practice, where he reviewed software development tools and methods and wrote regular columns on emerging technologies and professional community issues.Before he began writing full-time in 1989, Peter spent eleven years in technical and management positions at Exxon and The Aerospace Corporation, including management of the latter company's first desktop computing planning team and applied research in applications of artificial intelligence techniques. He holds an engineering degree from MIT and an MBA from Pepperdine University, he has held teaching appointments in computer science, business analytics and information systems management at Pepperdine, UCLA, and Chapman College.

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