25
Tue, Jun
3 New Articles

Don't Hang from the Rafters

Typography
  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

One of my first jobs in this industry had me doing pretty much anything my boss could think of. Sometimes that was a good thing, sometimes not. For example, there’s the time I found myself hanging upside down by my knees from the rafters in the attic of our building, stretching to reach a length of twinax that my boss was attempting to shove up to me through a wiring tunnel. This was part of our larger effort to rewire a couple of buildings and two huge warehouses. It’s not an experience I ever want to have again! If you’ve ever had a similar experience, you’ll appreciate some of the new wireless networking technologies that will be available in the very near future.

WaveStar OpticAir OLS

One of those new developments, designed by Bell Labs and marketed by Lucent Technologies, is called the WaveStar OpticAir Optical Line System (OLS). This new form of wireless technology could have you building your networks in ways you never thought possible. WaveStar OpticAir OLS (what a mouthful!) consists of a mailbox-sized unit that houses a diode laser, an amplifier, and a receiver that, potentially, can operate at speeds of up to 10 GB per second. That’s about 65 times more bandwidth than any other wireless technology currently on the market! Using a dense wave division multiplexing (DWDM) technology, WaveStar OpticAir OLS is able to transmit multiple streams of traffic (e.g., voice, video, and data) from each unit using unique waves of light. In fact, the product, which is expected in , can transmit up to 2.5 GB of data in both directions simultaneously—all on a single channel! Plans are in the works for an eight-channel unit to be available by late summer of 2000.

Of course, there are some caveats to this technology. You knew there might be, huh? WaveStar OpticAir uses what’s known as a line-of-sight system, meaning that the sending unit and the receiving unit must both be able to see one another. This means that things such as atmospheric disturbances (e.g., heavy fog) and the curvature of the earth can affect the quality and success of a transmission. At the time of this writing, field tests have taken place that have proven the technology to be effective at a distance of 2 kilometers. Plans are in the works to have a system by September 2000 that can achieve an effective distance of 5 kilometers. Don’t expect that kind of performance, though, if you happen to be one of the early users of this technology. Initially, the WaveStar OpticAir units will be limited to distances of around 1 kilometer or less.


Lucent has come up with some ways to overcome some of the line-of-sight obstacles that have presented themselves. To avoid problems with birds breaking the beam—a very real possibility in a light-beam-transmission network—Lucent uses a special laser lens to spread the beam transmission over a wider area. To compensate for high winds, which can cause the units to shake and bounce the beam out of alignment, Lucent has added a special tracking laser that feeds data back to alignment motors inside the unit. This keeps the beam on track even in uncommonly high winds.

What It Means for You

So what does this mean for your business? For one thing, the cost of implementing a wireless network that supports this level of bandwidth using the WaveStar OpticAir OLS technology should be considerably less than the cost of stringing fiber optic wire to achieve comparable performance. Simply install a couple of these units at opposite ends of the compound, and you’re all set.

Here’s another possibility. Say that you have the need to temporarily relocate some of your users. Perhaps you are on a university, and you’ve set up some semipermanent classrooms in buildings that are not part of the main campus. Using this new wireless technology, you purchase a WaveStar OpticAir OLS transmitter/receiver for the new, temporary facility. You attach it to the building’s existing internal wiring, and you’re immediately connected to the network half a mile across campus! There’s no need to call in the electricians or go before the board to get approval to spend millions of dollars for a temporary setup.

Or consider this: What would you do if your existing wired network went down? You could use a couple of WaveStar OpticAir OLS units to effect temporary repairs and have your users connected to your server again in no time.

Think About It

There are many wireless technologies available for your existing AS/400 and Microsoft Windows NT networks. However, none of them (that I’m aware of anyway) can match the bandwidth or flexibility available to you with WaveStar OpticAir OLS. Of course, if I’m wrong, I’m sure I’ll be deluged with email from irate vendors demanding that I write about their nifty product, too! If you’re thinking about replacing all that old Category-5 wire in your office buildings with fiber optics, consider going wireless for at least part of your operation, instead. It may keep you from having to hang upside down from the rafters!


SHANNON ODONNELL
Shannon O'Donnell has held a variety of positions, most of them as a consultant, in dozens of industries. This breadth of experience gives him insight into multiple aspects of how the AS/400 is used in the real world. Shannon continues to work as a consultant. He is an IBM Certified Professional--AS/400 RPG Programmer and the author of an industry-leading certification test for RPG IV programmers available from ReviewNet.net.
 
BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS

LATEST COMMENTS

Support MC Press Online

$0.00 Raised:
$

Book Reviews

Resource Center

  • SB Profound WC 5536 Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application. You can find Part 1 here. In Part 2 of our free Node.js Webinar Series, Brian May teaches you the different tooling options available for writing code, debugging, and using Git for version control. Brian will briefly discuss the different tools available, and demonstrate his preferred setup for Node development on IBM i or any platform. Attend this webinar to learn:

  • SB Profound WP 5539More than ever, there is a demand for IT to deliver innovation. Your IBM i has been an essential part of your business operations for years. However, your organization may struggle to maintain the current system and implement new projects. The thousands of customers we've worked with and surveyed state that expectations regarding the digital footprint and vision of the company are not aligned with the current IT environment.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT Generic IBM announced the E1080 servers using the latest Power10 processor in September 2021. The most powerful processor from IBM to date, Power10 is designed to handle the demands of doing business in today’s high-tech atmosphere, including running cloud applications, supporting big data, and managing AI workloads. But what does Power10 mean for your data center? In this recorded webinar, IBMers Dan Sundt and Dylan Boday join IBM Power Champion Tom Huntington for a discussion on why Power10 technology is the right strategic investment if you run IBM i, AIX, or Linux. In this action-packed hour, Tom will share trends from the IBM i and AIX user communities while Dan and Dylan dive into the tech specs for key hardware, including:

  • Magic MarkTRY the one package that solves all your document design and printing challenges on all your platforms. Produce bar code labels, electronic forms, ad hoc reports, and RFID tags – without programming! MarkMagic is the only document design and print solution that combines report writing, WYSIWYG label and forms design, and conditional printing in one integrated product. Make sure your data survives when catastrophe hits. Request your trial now!  Request Now.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericForms of ransomware has been around for over 30 years, and with more and more organizations suffering attacks each year, it continues to endure. What has made ransomware such a durable threat and what is the best way to combat it? In order to prevent ransomware, organizations must first understand how it works.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericIT security is a top priority for businesses around the world, but most IBM i pros don’t know where to begin—and most cybersecurity experts don’t know IBM i. In this session, Robin Tatam explores the business impact of lax IBM i security, the top vulnerabilities putting IBM i at risk, and the steps you can take to protect your organization. If you’re looking to avoid unexpected downtime or corrupted data, you don’t want to miss this session.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericCan you trust all of your users all of the time? A typical end user receives 16 malicious emails each month, but only 17 percent of these phishing campaigns are reported to IT. Once an attack is underway, most organizations won’t discover the breach until six months later. A staggering amount of damage can occur in that time. Despite these risks, 93 percent of organizations are leaving their IBM i systems vulnerable to cybercrime. In this on-demand webinar, IBM i security experts Robin Tatam and Sandi Moore will reveal:

  • FORTRA Disaster protection is vital to every business. Yet, it often consists of patched together procedures that are prone to error. From automatic backups to data encryption to media management, Robot automates the routine (yet often complex) tasks of iSeries backup and recovery, saving you time and money and making the process safer and more reliable. Automate your backups with the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAManaging messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. Messages need a response and resources must be monitored—often over multiple systems and across platforms. How can you be sure you won’t miss important system events? Automate your message center with the Robot Message Management Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAThe thought of printing, distributing, and storing iSeries reports manually may reduce you to tears. Paper and labor costs associated with report generation can spiral out of control. Mountains of paper threaten to swamp your files. Robot automates report bursting, distribution, bundling, and archiving, and offers secure, selective online report viewing. Manage your reports with the Robot Report Management Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAFor over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i. With batch job creation and scheduling at its core, the Robot Job Scheduling Solution reduces the opportunity for human error and helps you maintain service levels, automating even the biggest, most complex runbooks. Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. Key features include:

  • LANSA Business users want new applications now. Market and regulatory pressures require faster application updates and delivery into production. Your IBM i developers may be approaching retirement, and you see no sure way to fill their positions with experienced developers. In addition, you may be caught between maintaining your existing applications and the uncertainty of moving to something new.

  • LANSAWhen it comes to creating your business applications, there are hundreds of coding platforms and programming languages to choose from. These options range from very complex traditional programming languages to Low-Code platforms where sometimes no traditional coding experience is needed. Download our whitepaper, The Power of Writing Code in a Low-Code Solution, and:

  • LANSASupply Chain is becoming increasingly complex and unpredictable. From raw materials for manufacturing to food supply chains, the journey from source to production to delivery to consumers is marred with inefficiencies, manual processes, shortages, recalls, counterfeits, and scandals. In this webinar, we discuss how:

  • The MC Resource Centers bring you the widest selection of white papers, trial software, and on-demand webcasts for you to choose from. >> Review the list of White Papers, Trial Software or On-Demand Webcast at the MC Press Resource Center. >> Add the items to yru Cart and complet he checkout process and submit

  • Profound Logic Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application.

  • SB Profound WC 5536Join us for this hour-long webcast that will explore:

  • Fortra IT managers hoping to find new IBM i talent are discovering that the pool of experienced RPG programmers and operators or administrators with intimate knowledge of the operating system and the applications that run on it is small. This begs the question: How will you manage the platform that supports such a big part of your business? This guide offers strategies and software suggestions to help you plan IT staffing and resources and smooth the transition after your AS/400 talent retires. Read on to learn: