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
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.