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Universal Coin & Bullion Solves Connectivity Problem with a Laser

Universal Coin & Bullion Solves Connectivity Problem with a Laser

In the summer of 2005, Universal Coin & Bullion found it had outgrown its offices and had to find new space if it was to sustain its tremendous growth. Fortunately, they were able to find vacant office space in a near by complex. The location seemed perfect in most respects, accept for the required network connectivity between the two places. With around-the-clock network availability needed for its fast-growing business as well as the potential of using Voice over IP (VoIP) services, the company placed a high priority on identifying a reliable, high-speed method for linking the two facilities. The solution also had to be cost-effective, and highly secure, in connecting the two spaces.

After contracting with for a viable solution to extend the reach of the 100 Mbps company network to the new location 120 yards away, various options were explored. The first was with the local phone company about leasing fiber-optic cable between the locations but the high monthly fee and lengthy six-month installation process made it an untenable solution.

According to Jannie Venter, associate director of IT at Universal Coin & Bullion’s their company’s first idea was to lay their own fiber optic cable, but it quickly became apparent that trenching across a busy Beaumont street was not a feasible option due to easement and licensing concerns. "We didn't fully understand the problem of digging up the streets and parking lots, or the time delays that fiber entailed," he says. "With an immediate need for the added space, we knew we had to act fast." The IT team also considered microwave technology, but didn't want to deal with complex spectrum licensing concerns or the liability issues surrounding public perceptions about harmful emissions. T1 lines offered a simpler answer, but at 1.5 Mbps, they simply wouldn't offer the enterprise-class bandwidth that Universal Coin & Bullion's staff demanded. Finally, FPSoftware’s representative recommended Light Pointe, a provider of optical wireless bridging solutions based on free space optics (FSO) technology. LightPointe's high-capacity, license-free products use beams of light to transmit voice, data and video through the air, without any of the installation challenges of fiber or microwave. Combining the speed of fiber with the flexibility of wireless, optical wireless bridges deliver physical-layer transport that works seamlessly with any network protocol. Already convinced of LightPointe's technology advantages, FPSoftware reps and Jannie Venter from Universal Coin & Bullion’s evaluated the cost and deployment requirements of the FlightLite G, which offers Gigabit Ethernet bandwidth. Since the system can be installed in hours, not the weeks or months required for T1 lines, it addressed Universal Coin & Bullion's sense of urgency. From a cost standpoint, FPSoftware concluded that Light Pointe provided a very economical solution, with pricing similar to an initial T1 investment, but without the recurring monthly fees.

"I hadn't been technically experienced in optical wireless before, but I'm very glad that it was brought to my attention," says Jannie Venter. "Evaluating the technology in comparison to the other bridging alternatives made it easy for us to decide in favor of Light Pointe."

Light Pointe Solution:
Universal Coin & Bullion’s selection of the FlightLite G was made without hesitation by their owners and hired Crystal Communications, from Houston TX to install the system. Even though the two Universal Coin & Bullion buildings are not located directly across the street from one another, but more of a diagonal angle, a clear line of sight still exists. This simplified the installation process and assured optimum communication across the Light Pointe bridge. Universal Coin & Bullion opted to have FlightLite units installed on the roof of the two buildings.

According to FPSoftware, the FlightLite had plenty of power to transmit between the two locations. "In fact," their Representative said, "The signal was so strong that the installers advised us to attenuate the power somewhat." (LightPointe's manual power control adjustment capability was used for the fine-tuning.) Overall, deployment went without a hitch and the network was up and running between the two buildings within 24 hours.

Sound Byte:
"Without Light Pointe, I don't know how we'd be able to provide Ethernet-class connectivity to our staff at the new facility. We now have the bandwidth we need, which is an important part of fulfilling our goals at Universal Coin & Bullion."

— Jannie Venter, Associate Director of IT, Universal Coin & Bullion

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