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July 27, 2006

Save with Solar Powered Wireless

By Erik Linask, Associate Editor,
Internet Telephony magazine

IR Data Corporation has introduced its SWAP900 solar wireless Access Point, masking it possible to deploy large wireless networks with total independence from external power sources and data cables.  The SWAP900 provides secure Internet access and interoperability with WiFi (News - Alert) enabled computers.  Data is relayed between access points utilizing a mesh network with a 913MHz broadband radio and omni directional antenna. The fully self contained, system makes it possible to deploy networks of hot spots over large areas on a permanent or temporary basis.
The system features a 2.4GHz, 802.11/g access point and a 913MHz radio mesh network — the 913MHz broadband radio provides the long range mesh network connectivity, while the 2.4GHz radio provides the local network access for WiFi enabled computer users. The 913MHz radio enhanced by the use of dynamic channel coding, and modulation optimizations rapidly adapts to varying radio propagation conditions. This advanced radio technology greatly increases the network resiliency compared to other WiFi radio network systems.
The mesh network utilizes a Radio Optimized Routing Protocol (RORP) to interconnect each unit.  The SWAP900 system controller automatically configures the system before securely joining an existing network of other units.  Each unit also boasts integrated storage capacity that can be utilized to remotely and securely store local data files. WPA2 security, as well as the Web based authentication, ensures users are authorized to join the network while AES encryption secures the system.
The rugged aluminum weatherproof enclosure, solar module, and batteries are capable of 24-hour operation mounted on poles, towers, or rooftops that face the sun. Where there are trees and dense foliage, the 913MHz signals will provide much longer range connections compared to traditional WiFi-based systems.  In fact, they will provide connectivity where higher frequency systems would fail. Naturally, this longer range also reduces the total number of units required per installation and, therefore, the total deployment costs. Of course, the very nature of a solar powered device also saves on energy costs, increasing the overall savings over the lifetime of the network. It also makes it possible to deploy networks where power is difficult to obtain.
Erik Linask is Associate Editor of INTERNET TELEPHONY. Most recently, he was Managing Editor at Global Custodian, an international securities services publication. To see more of his articles, please visit Erik Linask’s columnist page.

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