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Fire The Laser

Friday, January 11, 2013
Over the past couple of weeks, IT Resource Co-Owner Leo Reap and I performed a network upgrade for one of our Chicago customers. Currently they have two locations that are within a few hundred feet of each other and they previously relied on a system of antennas and receivers to beam internet and network access to the “remote” location. In an effort to increase bandwidth and speed to the new location, a new Lightpointe Laser System was purchased. This new system uses two lasers placed high upon both buildings and point to each other. After some careful alignment, the beams will be able to transfer data between the two buildings at greatly increased speeds.

Leo (right) and the IT Director attaching the mount to the tower

Our first step was to get the mount set up on top of the main building. In the box beneath the mount, Leo and I ran wires to power the laser, provide management, and data access to the remote location.

The red circle indicates the location of the laser on the remote building

At this point, the mount was attached to the other building and the laser was secured. However, it was neither powered nor managed due to insufficient wiring. We made a return trip to finish our work the following week. After the conduit was run for us, we installed two additional CAT-6 cables from the switches to each location. After testing and routing, we powered the lasers and began the alignment process. On each laser was a small meter that showed how accurate the alignment was. While Leo was hanging out a window shown above and I was up on a ladder. We communicated via cell phone and carefully moved each laser until they were at optimum position. After cleaning up, I made my way over to the other building to check out the setup.

Each laser has a telescope viewer to ensure correct alignment and positioning

Using my eye, I was not able to see the lasers emitted from the devices. However, using my camera, I could easily see both lasers (one for each way) through the view finder. After tightening down the devices to ensure they wouldn’t move, we got them configured as much as we could and let our project lead know they were ready to go. With a few adjustments on the networking side, the users in the remote building had full (faster) network access via laser! Although it was a tad cold at times, we got this solution up and working for our customer so they could enjoy a significant upgrade in performance. As always, if you have any questions or want to know more, let us know and IT Resource would be happy to help!

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