Tuesday, June 27, 2006

ClearMesh Combines Wireless Optical + Mesh for Metro Nets

ClearMesh Networks, a start-up based in Pasadena, California, unveiled a wireless optical mesh networking solution capable of delivering business-class services at 5-100 Mbps without requiring licensed spectrum.

The ClearMesh Metro Grid technology aims to extend the reach of metro Ethernet networks, where lateral expansion of fiber would require significant up-front investment and months for deployment. The company is also positioning its technology as a complement to metro Wi-FI or WiMAX deployments.

ClearMesh Networks cites two major advancements since the early days of free-space optical (FSO) enthusiasm:

  • The use of LED technology rather than lasers for the wireless optical transmitters. LEDs are significantly lower cost than lasers and provide the added advantage of a greater target. This enables the link to tolerate vibration, and thus the LED transmitters can be pole mounted or roof-mounted. The LEDs have a specified range of 250m and are eye safe.

  • The use of mesh networking algorithms -- this provides a high level of resiliency compared to line-of-sight, point-to-point FSO links, especially in inclement weather.

The ClearMesh technology is able to distribute from 300 Mbps to 2Gbps of toll-quality service capacity throughout the mesh. Each of the nodes includes three optical transceivers and an integrated Ethernet switch.

ClearMesh said its wireless optical technology also provides inherent security, including signal scrambling between nodes and optional use of encryption.


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