BridgeLINK General FAQ

  1. What is BridgeLINK ?
  2. What are some ideal applications for a wireless bridge ?
  3. Is BridgeLINK easy to install ?
  4. What different products are available ?
  5. What if new software versions come out ?
  6. How about point-to-multipoint operation ?
  7. What is 'Rain Fade' ?
  8. What about lightning ?
  9. Why do I get failures in the afternoon/summer ?

What is BridgeLINK ?

BridgeLINK is a family of wireless bridges that allow you to connect two facilities together at a distance.  Used instead of leased T1 lines or trenching permanent cable, BridgeLINKs links LANs, a LAN and a 'device', or a LAN and a WAN wirelessly at Ethernet Speed.   BridgeLINKs can connect buildings up to 32 miles apart and operate in the license-free radio frequencies at 5 GHz.

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What are some ideal applications for a wireless bridge ??

A perfect solution for connecting buildings together, BridgeLINKs can be found in industrial or commercial complexes, ISP backhaul applications, connecting portable classrooms to schools, and much more.  Operating at 10 Mbps, the BridgeLINK-II, BridgeLINK-Lite, and BridgeLINK-Pro deliver real throughput of 8.1 Mbps, making them ideal for video, voice, and multimedia-rich data content.  The BridgeLINK-11a offers Fast Ethernet (10BaseT) performance, so is ideal for extending Corporate and Educational LAN connections.

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Is a BridgeLINK easy to install ? ?

Absolutely. While installing a wireless link is not a task for the unprepared, BridgeLINKs are designed with easy-installation in mind. First, each unit comes with just about everything you need to install a link.  Secondly, most BridgeLINKs use Power-over-Ethernet technology which simplifies installation by reducing the size and number of cable interconnects and allows greater flexibility in choosing a mounting location.  Furthermore, every BridgeLINK product runs the renowned RadioNET Manager Software which has robust management tools and a simple aiming utility.

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What different products are available ?

The BridgeLINK family consists of the following products:

  • BridgeLINK-Lite - a completely self-contained wireless bridge for sub 1 mile applications
  • BridgeLINK-Pro - a self-contained wireless bridge with external antenna for applications over 1 mile
  • Campus BridgeLINK-II - a modular wireless bridge where indoor mounting of the electronics is desired
  • Campus BridgeLINK - our original Wireless Ethernet Bridge
  • BridgeLINK-11a - a self-contained wireless bridge for Fast Ethernet (100BaseT) performance

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What if new software versions come out ?

All BridgeLINK Products are flash programmable from any management interface, so if RadioLAN releases new software, it will be available on the web site and can be installed by the network or system administrator.

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How about point-to-multipoint operation ?

The BridgeLINK is a Point-to-point link.  In certain circumstances, it is possible to have two or more BridgeLINKs operate in a multipoint mode.  To obtain an Application Note about configuring such a link, click here

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What is 'Rain Fade' ?

Water attenuates RF signals.  Although the effect is less pronounced at 5 GHz compared to other unlicensed frequencies, it will cause link-quality to suffer in the rain.  System designers usually reserve about 5.5 dB for rain-fade in a Pulse Modulated system.  For this reason, some links outside of the specified range will work, but will slow or stop in rainy conditions.

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What about lightning ?

You should use lightning protection whenever there is a chance that lightning will damage your equipment.  A lightning arrestor will work well, but a lightning rod is often the best bet. The purpose of a lightning rod is to give the lightning strike a good ground target, a very low impedance path to ground. The lightning strike will take this path rather than through all your expensive equipment.

To accomplish this begin with a lightning rod point that is approximately 18" long.  There is some discussion whether this be aluminum or copper or whether it is blunt or with a point. It can be purchase for less than $30.  Then use a mast clamp that holds the lightning rod point to the mast. The rod should be the highest thing on your mast without interfering with your antenna.  A clamp that fits up to a 2" diameter mast can be purchased for under $30. Next you'll need #4 x 19 strand, bare copper wire.  A 50' roll is about $40.  This wire should attach directly to the lightning rod point or you can use a brass ground rod clamp for around $6.  The other end of the copper wire attaches to a 8' by 5/8" copper ground rod (~$25) via ground wire terminal lug clamp (~$3).  Drive the 8' rod into the ground.  Make the entire run as short as possible.  We are looking for an overall impedance of less than 25 ohm.  It is always advisable to consult with a professional installer.

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Why do I get failures in the afternoon/summer ?

Often, intermittent failures in link-quality can be traced back to environmental characteristics.  The noonday sun can cause antenna masts to warp just enough to cause the antenna to come out of alignment.  Wind can cause much the same effect.  The solution is re-mounting the CBL antenna on a more rigid structure.  Contact your professional installer for more details.

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We would like to hear your suggestions for more FAQ's. Please email us at the following address: support@radiolan.com .
Revised: January 5, 2004.