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60 GHz technology comparison to free-space optics (FSO), 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, and other lower frequency licensed microwave point-to-point (PTP) wireless bridges for LAN extensions, and other wireless backhaul applications:

License-free (in many countries including the US and Canada) 60 GHz radios have unique characteristics that make them significantly different from traditional 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz license-free radios and from licensed-band millimeter-wave radios. These characteristics give 60 GHz radios operational advantages not found in other wireless systems.


License-Free Spectrum

The FCC allocated an unprecedented 7 GHz of un-channelized spectrum for license-free operation between 57-64 GHz. This compares to less than 0.5 GHz of spectrum allocated between 2-6 GHz for WiFi and other license-free applications. For the first time, sufficient spectrum has been allocated to make possible multi-gigabit Radio Frequency (RF) links.


Narrow Beam Antennas

The very narrow beam associated with 60 GHz radios enables multiple 60 GHz radios to be installed on the same rooftop or mast, even if they are all operating at the same transmit and receive frequencies. Co-located radios operating in the same transmit and receive frequency ranges can easily be isolated from one another based on small lateral or angular separations and the use of cross-polarized antennas.


Easy to Install and Align

While the beam width is much narrower than for other license-free and licensed-band radios, it is still wide enough to be accurately aligned by a non-expert installer. Note that these beam widths are much wider than those of free space optic systems, and are not affected by building sway from wind nor tilt from sun heating.


Oxygen Absorption and Security

Oxygen attenuates 60 GHz signals, a property that is unique to the 60 GHz spectrum. While this limits the distances that 60 GHz links can cover, it also offers interference and security advantages when compared to other wireless technologies. Small beam sizes coupled with oxygen absorption makes these links highly immune to interference from other 60 GHz radios. Another link in the immediate vicinity will not interfere if its path is just slightly different from that of the first link, while oxygen absorption ensures that the signal does not extend far beyond the intended target, even with radios along the exact same trajectory.

These same two factors make the signal highly secure. In order to intercept the signal, one would have to locate a receiver lined up on the exact same trajectory, and in the immediate locale of the targeted transmitter. The intercepting receiver would have to be tuned to the carrier signal of the transmitting radio and be in the main beam in order to ensure reception, and the presence of this radio would block/degrade the transmit path of the transmitting radio and jam its receive path. The net result is that the interceptor would be unlikely to actually obtain data from the link and would likely be detected by network administrators. It would typically be easier to dig into conduit and tap into a fiber-optic cable than to find a way to install a rogue receiver to intercept a 60 GHz transmission without being detected.

BridgeWave Communications is the leading supplier of 60 GHz gigabit wireless links. BridgeWave's products are the highest performing and the first and only 60 GHz gigabit products below $20,000 for a full link. BridgeWave provides all required mount and installation accessories with the link - all that must be added is the user site fiber and power cabling. The BridgeWave GE60 Wireless Gigabit Ethernet Link is available through leading VARs and wireless distributors worldwide.