A Bit About Wireless Bridges

I’ve installed and consulted on a few dozen wireless bridge links, and find this part of wireless to be tremendously interesting.

I’ve laid hands on Cisco’s 1300 and 1400 models, and had a good run with using 1200 APs in bridge mode (although 2.4 GHz in the Syracuse area for bridging is a losing crapshoot anymore). Dissatisfied with the relatively piddly speeds of .11g and .11a bridges, I found the Exalt r5005 to be a nice, easily-installed performer at 80/80, configurable somewhat if you wanna do the asymmetrical up/down thing. Exalt has a whole line, but the r5005 is one that Cisco sells to customers not digging the older stuff.

A trip to Haiti (long story for another day) got me going on licensed, high-speed bridges. Right now, I have a Bridgewave 80 GHz 100 Mbps link running at about a mile, and a licensed Exalt 18 GHz Gig link at about 1/3 of a mile (I love the Exalt interface and ease of config).

Have also spec’d (and helped the unfortunate tech who had to align it) a Bridgewave 60 GHz unit- such a tight beam that you can screw it up by breathing on it.

I have a Ubiquiti AirFiber sitting in the box, waiting for a place to try it, and so far I hear good and not-so-good about this one. But the price is right… Have also dorked around a bit with EZbridge (the sub-$500 complete kit) built on Ubiquity. Interesting stuff, Ubiquity.

Finally, at the recent Field Day 4 event, my new British pal Mark Julier of Digital Air turned me on to Ligowave which he described as something akin to the Exalt r5005 quality (and it has been fantastic) but at a much more appealing price point. I’ll definitely be looking into it.Image

Update- a reader from Mexico passed along an endorsement for Trango- a company I had not yet heard of. Jesus considers them of better build than Ubiquity’s AirFiber at similiar performance and only slightly higher price. I can’t speak first-hand about them, but they have a lot of information on their site. -LB

2 thoughts on “A Bit About Wireless Bridges

  1. Jon Sevier

    I have nothing but good things to say about Ubiquiti. <$200 hardware cost to build a simple 100mbps+ link up to a number of miles is pretty incredible. The hardware itself is not the greatest stuff, but at those prices, you buy spares. If I had to mount gear on a 100' mountain-top tower, Exalt would definitely be my choice.

  2. wirednot Post author

    Thanks for the note, Jon. I do agree that Ubiquiti is pretty impressive for the cost, although sometimes the hardware it’s found in feels toy-like. But then again, not the case across the board. Case in point: the Bullet wireless products used in police cars. I just put one in a few weeks back and it is a solid unit. And even with the EZbridges that certainly feel cheapish, they have someone on the other end that actually answers technical questions which adds to the value.


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