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Application Notes

Product Family
The SONAbeam™ product family comprises several models, differentiated by bit rate and rated operational range. SONAbeam™ links can be engineered to provide link availabilities up to 99.999% over rated ranges from 50 m to 5000 m. We have collected and analysed weather data and link performance from 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. Contact our Sales team for a custom Link Analysis based on your microclimate. 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™ family of products offer bit rates from 1.5 Mbps up to 2.5 Gbps spanning Ethernet, Fast Ethernet to Gigabit Ethernet and beyond. The latest series, the 1250, is rate adaptive from 34 Mbps up to 1.5 Gbps. The entire SONAbeam™ product line is protocol independent for seamless integration into any network and offers fiber-like connectivity at distances up to 7 km.

Technology Advantages
Characterized by its outstanding design and manufacturing quality, the SONAbeam™ product line is built on a foundation of superior technology, conferring numerous advantages over competing products:

  • Eye-Safe 1550 nm Wavelength: SONAbeam™ systems are completely eye-safe even if viewed directly in front of the laser transmitter windows, because they use 1550 nm laser technology. Light at this near-infrared wavelength is absorbed by the cornea and lens and does not focus onto the retina. This simple fact allows our 1550 nm based lasers to be classified as truly eye-safe (Class 1M) while transmitting intensities that up to 50 times greater than would be permitted for wavelengths near 800 nm. For example, our medium-range OC-3 product (155-M) generates a total peak laser power of 640 mW, compared with about 20 mW for most other FSO products, using the 800 nm wavelength region.

  • Higher Laser Power: The transmit power advantages conferred by the 1550 nm wavelength translates into much higher performance - SONAbeam™ systems can be engineered to operate over longer distances, penetrate denser fog for higher availability, support higher data rates - or any combination of these benefits.

  • Scalability: Since 1550 nm is the wavelength range most commonly specified for terrestrial fiber-based optical communications, the supporting technical infrastructure for this spectral range is vast and growing rapidly due to the multi-billion dollar investment being made every year in component and sub-system development. The intense cost competition that characterizes the fiber optics communications industry guarantees that new cost-effective technologies will continue to offer improved performance, ensuring that 1550 nm-based FSO systems can grow along with the fiber-based networks of which they are a critical element.

  • High Reliability: Building on our extensive experience in laser communications systems for military and space applications, fSONA design engineers have ensured that critical subsystems are manufactured using high-reliability components. Reliability is further ensured by rigorous vendor qualification and incoming inspection procedures, backed by exhaustive testing in our in-house test facilities, where subsystems are severely stressed and operational performance is validated at extremes ranging from -50C to 75C.

  • Proprietary Technologies: The fSONA engineering team has incorporated a number of significant advances in FSO technology into the SONAbeam™ transmitter and receiver subsystems, enabling them to deliver improved performance relative to competing systems. One example is our much higher laser power, and the corresponding drivers and cooling systems that provide both high power and high reliability. Other major enhancements have also been realized, but cannot be openly discussed for proprietary reasons.




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