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  • Jim Bloomquist

60 Ghz for Short Range Point to Point Links

Location Connect has been using short range point to point links for almost two decades. We primarily use these links to bridge networks between two buildings, feed connectivity to wireless (Wi-Fi) access points at larger events, festivals, or concerts where running cabling is impracticable, and to bring internet to remote sites. We have used gear that operate in a wide range of frequency bands. Most of these bands are unlicensed and the level of interference has been growing rapidly. This has especially been the case with film and television production as some of the equipment used for video assist can wreak havoc to Wi-Fi and point to point links in the 5Ghz band.

While licensed equipment offers protection from interference, the need to spend significant time and money to obtain a license from FCC or other regional regulator can be challenging and there is no guarantee that spectrum will be available. In 2001, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) set aside a continuous block of 7 gigahertz (GHz) of spectrum between 57 and 64 GHz for unlicensed wireless communications. The advantage in this frequency band stems from a phenomenon of nature: the oxygen molecule (O2) absorbs electromagnetic energy at 60 GHz at a much higher degree than at lower frequencies typically used for wireless communications. Additionally, the antennas used in this band are highly directional and are very resistant to signals received off axis from the antennas. These characteristics allow for a high level of frequency re-use, allowing the communication needs of multiple customers within a small geographic region to be satisfied.

There are a few limitations for this band that should be part of any link planning. It is a short-range system, links of over 500 meters will require specialized equipment, though we have been able to operate systems of several miles with the proper equipment. Rain will significantly attenuate a 60 Ghz signal. Be aware that a link that may be marginal on a clear day will be unusable while it is raining. Some radios offer a 5 Ghz radio as a backup but if you are operating in a hostile RF environment, that backup radio may not be functional or offer significant lower data rates. Additionally, 60GHz frequency cannot penetrate through the walls or foliage, it is strictly a line of site system only. Finally, there are only four channels in this band in the United States. With careful planning, it is possible to have significant frequency reuse at a particular site, however you would never want to reuse a channel along a similar axis.

We offer 60 Ghz point to point radio systems from Ubiquity Wireless and BridgeWave in our rental and event production inventory. Setting up for a film / television production, a large public event or festival, or you need connectivity anywhere? Give our customer success team a call. Location Connect will work with your production and technical staff to design and implement an advanced, resilient, and secure network for your event, meeting, or production. We take care of all the details of networking, Internet, Wi-Fi, wiring, power, nationwide LTE or local 2-way radios, and telephony & handle all the logistics with your hotel, facility, stage, office, or remote location so you don't have to. We also provide on-site IT support services so your staff won’t need to worry about technology.

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