Nebraska city extends wired municipal network

The city of Lincoln, Neb., is extending its optical-fiber backbone to remote buildings with a wide area wireless system.

The city has installed five BelAir200 WiFi access devices integrated with backhaul transmitters that provide links up to 54 Mbps between buildings. The devices, from BelAir Networks Inc. of Kanata, Ontario, have ranges of up to 3.5 miles on the 5-GHz backhaul links.

In the first phase of the city's program, the devices connect the Health Department, a wastewater treatment facility, two Parks Department buildings and a parking garage. The city plans to add a fifth unit to complete a wireless network ring. The wireless network also provides redundant links for wired segments.

Each BelAir200 has a WiFi access radio that operates in the 802.11b mode at up to 11 Mbps, or the 802.11g mode at 54 Mbps. It has three backhaul radios operating on separate frequencies that provide up to 54-Mbps links. Each device has layer 2 switching and layer 3 routing to create a wireless mesh network, and Fast Ethernet connections for copper and fiber to link to the wired network.

For the Lincoln deployment, the backhaul links are used to connect remote buildings in addition to the mesh backhaul.

The devices are environmentally hardened and designed for outdoor mounting. An integrated antenna array allows signals to be projected into buildings.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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