SONAbeam® Competitive Differentiators
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Infra-Red Illuminators


fSONA's Engineering and Advanced Development staff includes many of the world's leading laser communications professionals. Our design team's extensive experience in military and space communications systems and hardware is evident in the highly-innovative SONAbeam product family.

Eye-Safety and Increased Power Margin
Most FSO systems on the market today use lasers in the near-visible infrared region around 800 nm. Laser "energy" at these wavelengths passes through the human cornea and lens, and is concentrated by a factor of 100,000 times when it is focused on the retina. If the power level is too high, permanent eye damage can be caused before the victim is aware of the hazard. As a result, 800 nm systems generally have low power transmitters, and correspondingly low fog penetration margins. fSONA's systems use infrared lasers operating in the 1550 nm region. At these wavelengths, the laser energy is absorbed by the cornea and lens, and does not focus onto the retina. As a result, the allowable eye-safe laser power is up to fifty times higher than at 800 nm. This ability to use fifty times more power allows fSONA's systems to operate over longer distances and/or through heavier fog attenuation, and to support higher data rates. fSONA's systems are completely "eye-safe", even directly in front of the laser transmitter windows.

Leveraging the Fiber Optics Infrastructure
Every year, the fiber optics industry invests billions of dollars developing new components and subsystems operating in the 1550 nm region. The ability to exploit the resulting vast array of competitively-priced components gives fSONA numerous advantages over competitors dependent on 800 nm lasers, and ensures that the capabilities of our 1550 nm-based optical wireless systems will always be able to grow along with the fiber-based networks. 1550 nm diode lasers that can operate at 2.5 Gbps are already widely available, with devices capable of 10 Gbps operation also beginning to appear. In contrast, the highest data rate possible with commercial 785 nm diode lasers is about 622 Mbps. Moreover, the wide availability of WDM (wavelength-division multiplexing) components for 1550 nm systems opens up a straightforward approach for scaling fSONA's products to higher data rates.

Carrier-Class Reliability and Quality
By incorporating advanced design features and proprietary technologies, we have developed a family of FSO products uniquely well-suited to the highly demanding carrier market. Our equipment reliability analysis is performed using the stringent Bellcore/Telcordia guidelines applicable to carrier equipment. This is further backed up by exhaustive testing in our in-house test facilities, where subsystems are severely stressed and operational performance is validated at extremes ranging from -50°C to 75°C. The combination of active laser cooling, high-reliability components, sealed housings and rugged mechanical design enables us to offer carriers superior products with outstanding communications performance and a rated service life of 15 years.

Carrier-Class Availability
The SONAbeam™ product family is engineered to meet carrier and user requirements for link availabilities of up to 99.999% over link ranges from 50 m to 4000 m. We are collecting and analyzing weather data and link performance for SONAbeam™ installations around the globe, in order to provide carriers and operators with the guidance and design tools needed to design and deploy metropolitan data networks and cellular/PCS backhaul with FSO links. For less critical applications that can tolerate occasional (rare) severe-weather outages, systems can be deployed at longer ranges, or lower-cost products can be used.

The SONAbeam™ products are designed for volume manufacturing. fSONA's factory can produce 20 links per day with a single shift at 50% capacity. Production can be scaled easily to meet increasing demand. In-house production, strict manufacturing discipline and rigorous component vendor qualification ensure that the highest quality standards will be met and maintained.

Key SONAbeam Differentiators

  • Cost competitive, carrier-class products suitable for high-performance, high-reliability worldwide deployment.

  • A modular design philosophy that provides cost effective solutions.

  • First-to-market, high performance, patented 1550 nm transceiver system provides the best cost per bit in the industry.

  • Protocol-independent interfaces for both enterprise and carrier class service providers (SONET/SDH, IP, ATM, IEEE 802.34, and 802.3Z, FC).