Datacentre infrastructure firm RiT Technologies is readying an optical network technology that it claims will save companies money on the cost of cabling up offices in order to deploy high-speed network infrastructure.
Set for launch later this year, the Indoor Wireless Optical Network (IWON) technology is still in the final stages of development, but is expected to offer speeds of up to 100Gbit/s using point-to-point infrared laser beams.
"IWON can reduce the amount of cabling or the requirement for cabling to be installed in the walls, but will cope with the same bandwidth you have today with copper and fibre, and it also offers the same level of security you would expect for a cabled network," RiT's chief technology officer Dr Erez Ben-Eshay told V3.
An IWON deployment requires a central station (CS) (pictured) typically fitted to the ceiling that can serve 8 to 16 user stations via a line-of-sight optical connection, and which is connected back to the corporate backbone LAN via fibre.
The user station, typically mounted on top of a cubicle or workstation, can serve multiple endpoints and means that a single CS can provide the network infrastructure for an area covering about 100m2.
Because the CS units can be daisy-chained together, "you need only one fibre-optic connection to cover an entire floor", Ben-Eshay claimed.
RiT is also developing a further US unit that includes 802.11ac Wi-Fi as well as Ethernet, in order to support users with mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones.
The firm claims that IWON is actually more secure than a cabled LAN connection because it is protected by multiple layers of security. Each PC must be registered with a CS before it will be allowed to communicate, and all data traffic is encrypted.
"There is just no way to connect an unauthorised node to the network, so it's more secure than Wi-Fi or even a copper cable in the wall that can be passively tapped," Ben-Eshay claimed.
IWON is currently deployed in a number of beta test sites now, and the firm is looking at general availability in the first quarter of 2013, initially in the UK and US.
"The first generation that we are going to release will have 10Gbit/s capability for the user, but the technology is not limited to that speed and we can transfer 100Gbit/s without any problems," Ben-Eshay claimed.
Beta testers include a number of well-known corporations, he said, and there is also a lot of interest from enterprise switch vendors with a view to using the technology in datacentres.
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