Cornell Hardens Campus Network with Gigabit Wireless Radio Links

Cornell University has deployed several gigabit wireless radio links from BridgeWave Communications as part of its network hardening strategy.

After many nearby universities suffered massive network blackouts owing to Hurricane Katrina in 2006, the Ithaca, NY-based institution went through a network hardening exercise to strengthen its data network and ensure network reliability. The university's network consists of several miles of inlaid fiber, and the team located a possible point of failure in the fiber network. In order to minimize potential connection problems, the group initially researched a fiber solution, but the $2 million price tag was more than budgeted.

The team researched other point-to-point wireless technologies; however, most products provided insufficient bandwidth for data transfer. Team members finally identified three technologies, including BridgeWave's, and set up a "bake-off" to determine the product that best supported Cornell's network. Ultimately, the university selected BridgeWave's 60 GHz products over another millimeter-wave manufacturer and a Free Space Optics (FSO) competitor.

BridgeWave's AdaptRate (AR) 60 and 60X products were used to augment the fiber link as well as to serve as backup for the campus' other network links.

"As an Ivy League institution, Cornell's network must run 24 hours a day, seven days a week in order to provide the ability to perform research at all times. Additionally, we wanted to develop a network system that would allow access to critical applications during emergency situations," said Ed Kiefer, manager of data networking. "Security features are paramount in order to protect transmitted data. BridgeWave's AdaptRate links not only provide a solution to our previous network vulnerabilities, but also satisfy our disaster recovery initiatives. Our staff and students have gained access to a reliable and secure network connection, regardless of inclement weather."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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