• United States

WLANs and fiber optics meet

Apr 20, 20042 mins

* BelAir Networks links fiber-optic Fast Ethernet with WLAN access points

BelAir Networks last week linked fiber optics with wireless LANs, via an option for its WLAN access point equipment.

BelAir makes an access point for service providers and enterprises that want to offer wireless network access. The BelAir200 is designed to be deployed outdoors, and it beams its signals into office buildings. It can be mounted on light poles in parking lots or city streets in a metro setting.

The new optical interface module would allow an organization to directly connect those access points to a fiber-optic network. This could be useful both for enterprises that use fiber and for service providers looking to hook wireless LAN hotspots directly into a metro fiber-optic ring.

Such an option is a rarity among wireless LAN access points, which for the most part use a copper-wire connection back to a wired network. Fiber optics could offer the option of higher speeds for transporting data back to the wired net.

The BelAir interface will conform to the IEEE 802.3u 100Base-FX standard, and will be available with either dual or single LC connectors. Since the devices are targeted at outdoor use, the connectors will be sealed to prevent water and dust from getting in, BelAir says.

BelAir takes a slightly different approach than others in providing WLAN access, creating a wireless mesh of point-to-point links to make a high-capacity WLAN.

Also last week, the company joined the Wi-Fi Alliance, a group formed several years ago to certify that WLAN products interoperate.