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This study presents the design of high-speed inter-building connectivity in medical services by free-space optical (FSO) link with wireless backup, which will operate at gigabit rates. The two buildings in medical campus are ~500~m apart. The FSO link normally uses 1550~nm wavelength but has a radio frequency (RF) link operating at 2.4~GHz as the back-up. In this, 99.999~ availability is achieved by combining the optical laser beam with an alternate path RF solution. The laser beam of 1550~nm provides high-bandwidth connectivity in majority of the time, whereas the RF path maintains critical network connectivity during extreme weather events that are detrimental to the FSO link, such as thick fog. Optical wireless links suffer from atmospheric loss mainly because of fog, scintillation and precipitation. The authors investigate here the impact of fog, rain and snow effects and evaluate their performances for the optical propagation through the atmosphere. The wireless back-up link is used only in very dense fog conditions. Hybrid FSO/RF systems have also been examined as a means to provide high-bandwidth point-to-point links in the access network over larger distances.
Date of Publication: November 6 2012