RFP Showdown: September 24, 2001

By eweek  |  Posted 2001-09-24

RFP Showdown: September 24, 2001

The Problem

A car dealership needs to connect its showroom (an Ethernet network) to its warehouse (a Token-Ring system). The two buildings are separated by railroad tracks so a wired solution could be problematic. Please recommend a secure wireless system that can link the two buildings, which reside about 200 yards from each other.

My Solution: Bill Ginis

Dir. of Sales Engineering

Expanets is a national network solutions provider. Ginis is based in Amityville, N.Y.

First, let me restate the objective to make sure were on the same page. The goal of this project is to expand and maintain a wireless data communications network between two buildings, which are approximately 200 yards apart and separated by railroad tracks.

After careful analysis of the car dealerships business needs, Expanets recommends the installation of a fixed wireless solution from Cisco Systems Inc.

The specific solution includes the following hardware and related fees: One Cisco 2612 router ($2,995); two Cisco Aironet 350 bridges ($1,258 total); two 5.2dBi antennas ($238 total); and two local power modules ($600 total). Factor in the consulting and installation fee ($2,800) and the complete solution costs $7,891.

The Cisco solution will deliver superior throughput for data-intensive, line of sight applications in a cost-effective way. The solution also will enable the dealerships two buildings to operate as one virtual location.

This wireless-bridge solution will connect the two discrete sites (one is an Ethernet system, the other is a Token-Ring network) into a single local area network (LAN).

Moreover, the high-speed links between the wireless bridges will deliver throughput several times faster than traditional E1/T1 lines at a fraction of the cost.

We will achieve this by mounting the high-powered radios on masts, so line-of-sight transmissions are maintained (even when trains are on the local railroad tracks).

The bridges can be configured for point-to-point or point-to-multipoint communications. The use of a point-to-multipoint configuration would allow the car dealership to add future sites within line-of-site parameters.

As an added benefit, this installation will eliminate any recurring charges for typical leased lines, and quickly pay for the initial hardware investment.

Skeptical? Eastern Bank, for one, recently embraced this option for two of its Boston-based locations. The solution provided a $40,000 return on investment during its first year because it eliminated the need for costly T1 lines.

In closing, let me assure you that Expanets is qualified to deliver this solution. All though our company is national in scope, we provide local services and solutions through more than 175 regional offices. Our team of 4,000 experts includes data and voice engineers, technicians, sales consultants and client-are representatives. We work closely with more than 140 vendors and service providers, including Avaya, Cable & Wireless, Cisco Systems, Hewlett-Packard and NEC.

My Solution

: Brandon Powell">

My Solution: Brandon Powell

The Medical Utility Co.

The Medical Utility Co. is a San Diego-based health care solutions provider

Lets assume the following. First, each building will remain hardwired. Second, there is a router of some kind with one vacant port in each building. And third, the car dealership network can get by for the next several years on 11-Mbps bandwidth between the buildings.

With these assumptions in mind, I would recommend two 2.4-GHz BreezeNet DS.11 outdoor wireless bridges from Breezecom (now merged with Floware to become "Alvarion"), and their antennas.

This solution would cost approximately $3,000 to $4,000 for hardware if purchased new, but there is a ton of this stuff (hardly used) available on eBay or other auction sites, which could bring the equipment costs below $1,000. Installation and network IT services to set it up should not exceed a half-day and $600.

If the dealership can make due with less bandwidth (say, 1.5 Mbps to 2 Mbps), I would instead recommend two 2.4-GHz BreezeLINK E1 wireless bridges and antennas from Alvarion.

The equipment (if purchased new) costs approximately $2,400 to $3,000, or less than $1,000 if bought used. Installation and integration would cost the same as above.

All of this gear is pretty much bulletproof once properly installed and set up, and provides ample data throughput and security for most small or midsize businesses. Also, future capacity expansion is easily accomplished by adding additional bridges; and they can accommodate voice, data, fax and video traffic in the event the dealership eventually opts to merge its voice and data networks.

As a backup, the easiest solution would be the same type of bridge on a different part of the building.

The redundant "backup" bridge could be configured to work in tandem with the main bridge during most periods (thereby supplying more throughput). And if one link goes down, all of the traffic can fail over to the other link.

If redundancy is really a vital concern, Id recommend a wireless link on a different frequency, such as 5.8 GHz. Two solutions come to mind: RadioLANs Campus BridgeLink 347 or Western Multiplexs 12-Mbps Tsunami 5.8 GHz 10BaseT.

Still, these devices are overkill for this solution because they can handle much greater distances and bandwidth than required here.

The 5.8-GHz solution would cost $4,000 to $6,000 new, with auction, bankruptcy or reconditioned gear costing about $1,500-$3,000. Costs for install and integration would be about the same as for the 2.4-GHz gear described above.

All of the 5.8-GHz and 2.4-GHz gear comes with easy-to-use Web-based management software.

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