For Carnegie Mellon University, expanding its campus with additional buildings across the street was a promising venture. While extension and growth were natural steps, the task of widening the school's network to the new buildings did not seem as simple until administrators discovered LightPointe's free-space optics (FSO) technology.
Located in Pittsburgh, Pa., Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) prides itself on being a pragmatic institution that adapts rapidly to change. Building on a tradition of setting the standard for education technology, CMU pioneered the "Andrew" computing network (named after industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie) in the 1980s to link all of its computers and workstations on campus.
When the task of linking a remote building to the metropolitan campus came about, administrators knew that they needed to search for an alternative solution. They also were aware that the private network connectivity that the university had been deploying would not work across the congested city streets that separated the main campus from the satellite building. Upon researching their dilemma, CMU administrators found that they had a few alternative options that provided additional benefits over traditional fiber-optic cabling.
"We now have other options for connecting off-campus locations that save both time and money over traditional fiber installations," says Larry Gallagher, manager of data communications and computing services at CMU.
One of those options was Corning Cable System's FreeLink product line--free-space optics (FSO) equipment powered by LightPointe technology--which delivers voice and data connectivity up to 2.5 Gbps at distances up to 4,000 meters through air via line of sight. This means that CMU administrators were able to add a wireless component to their current wired network in order to serve the …