What’s the Point of a Point to Point?

Besides having a really pointy title, hopefully this article about a recent customer project can spotlight what wireless point to point links are, how they’re designed, and what they can do for you!

Wireless point to points are simply a term used to describe using wireless radios, one as an access point (AP, broadcasting a network to connect to) and one or more radios in station mode, connecting and relaying traffic from remote locales. They come in many shapes, sizes, and with varying throughput capabilities. They’re used when running cables to extend a LAN is impractical or cost prohibitive, or for short durations when mobility is necessary. In this customer use case, fiber internet was delivered to one building on site, but there was another 300’ away that needed network access and it made financial sense to share the network instead of purchasing a new connection.

Now that we know what they’re for, how do you decide what type of radio system to use, and how are links designed? The main things to consider are distance, the speed needed, and possible interference. For short distances quarter mile or less with little interference, links with a single omnidirectional (pole style) antenna as the AP and one or more panel antenna stations can be all that’s needed. In areas where there’s more radio interference or a longer distance to cover, dish style antennas help focus the signal for reliability and increased speed. Throughput is also an important factor. While some operate on 900MHz or 2.4GHz, those spectrums are inherently susceptible to interference so most wireless bridges operate on 5GHz. The fastest links operate on 60GHz where an absolutely clear line of sight and short distance is necessary, but speeds up to 1Gbps is possible.

Point to point links can be useful for your business to extend network infrastructure at reduced cost. They can also be deployed much faster than running network cabling or fiber, but in most cases won’t be able to deliver the same speeds as a physical connection would. That said, they remain an often-overlooked choice that can fill a wide range of applications.

If you’re expanding your network, or just want to assess whether a wireless or wired link would be the best fit for your situation, let CJC Solutions put our experience to work for you! Contact us today and we’ll help you design the best solution for your use case for an optimal balance of efficiency and cost.

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