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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