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Choosing "Air Fiber" or equivalent option - between two buildings

Posted on 2016-10-21
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Last Modified: 2016-10-29
I have a client who owns a 2 story building and leases another 2 story building that are about 250-300 feet apart of each other.
- We currently have Comcast as our ISP for both buildings (phone and internet).
- I would like to connect the two offices on the same subnet without having to setup a VPN

- Without getting too technical about phone systems, we are upgrading our entire phone system with a new Avaya system. In order communicate with the 2nd building via phone extensions, we have to install IP phones in the second building. Doing so, I need to create a VPN between the two building per the Avaya installation company) so the phone system can communicate the way the client needs them to comunicate.

- there's no cost effective or legal option to run a line under ground

- For now, I will setup a VPN between the two buildings

In the near future, I would like to setup a wireless connection between the two buildings. This is not my field but I believe I want to setup a wireless dish that allows a POE connection to a switch at both buildings. From what I read, the technology I should be researching is "Air Fiber". I know air fiber is used in areas where the two connection points have much greater distance then that what I need. Maybe there's a different and more cost effective technology.

- I do not want to install a "Wireless access point". It needs to support good bandwidth

Looking for feedback and recommendations
Thanks!
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Question by:agieryic
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Accepted Solution

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itengineer.mcse earned 400 total points
ID: 41854116
I have done this exact scenario using Ubiquiti Nano Stations.  It is pretty simple to set up too.  Requires two Nano Stations, and either injected POE on both stations or a POE switch.
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by:agieryic
ID: 41854180
I read about this and was going ask about it. can these mounted externally on a roof exposed to weather? - or to the side of the building. I saw pictures, wasn't sure. I can research further.
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Expert Comment

by:itengineer.mcse
ID: 41854192
Yes, the antenna is weatherproof, and there is cover to make the connection from the Cat5/6 cable weatherproof as well.  I have mounted them on a larger pole to give them more range.  In the above scenario, I used the M5, which had a range of 15km line of sight.
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by:agieryic
ID: 41854194
I could call the dealer to make sure I get the appropriate model for best signal strength. Curious as to the model you have and signal thru-put your unit has. I'm reading good feedback.
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Expert Comment

by:itengineer.mcse
ID: 41854229
This was about 6 years ago.  before that I had used a Motorola antenna system to push Internet WAN connectivity to the whole city.

You can adjust the signal strength for the distance you require.  In the scenario I mentioned above, the buildings were about 125 yards apart.  It worked fine, was less than $750 total cost, including the Layer 2 Cisco managed switch at the remote building.  I was in the exact same boat.  There was no budget for a 30K fiber buildout, leased fiber was not available, it would have taken months to get the necessary permits.

I did a QoS rule for VOIP on the Layer 3 HP switch in the datacenter for that segment, created the LAN bridge on the same workstation network as my main building workstation LAN/vLAN, and the throughput on that model then was 100Mbps.  I never hit max throughput and even used that office as a small DR site.  I placed the backup file server, proxy, DNS, and Domain Controller in that office.   During backups at night it would hit around 95Mbps, but during the day avg was around 30Mbps.  I never had an issue with it.  They are still using the set up today.  They recently called me and asked me for the password to it.

Scenario:

BLDG1- Main building with datacenter and core switch POE, Layer 3), router, and phone system.  Antenna 1
BLDG2- Satellite office - 15 users, secondary switch (POE, Layer 2).

Let me know if you have any other questions.
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Expert Comment

by:r math
ID: 41857403
Wireless is feasible, Cambium Networks builds wireless bridges that work in a line-of-sight or can work in a non-line-of site connection.  The devices act like a bridge.  There are a number of alternatives from a price perspective as well.
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Expert Comment

by:itengineer.mcse
ID: 41857884
You could also, compare Ubiquiti to Microtik.  Appears to be similar tech.
http://www.mikrotik.com/
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Expert Comment

by:masnrock
ID: 41858518
On the Ubiquiti side, an appropriate NanoBeam product would be the NBE-5AC-16 ... would far more than suit your purpose (it is supposed to work up to a distance of close to 7 miles, so 100 years is nonissue).

https://www.ubnt.com/airmax/nanobeam-ac/

I've seen other brands like Aruba and Cisco serving the same purpose as well, but you'd be coming in at far lower price point with Ubiquti's equipment.
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Assisted Solution

by:r math
r math earned 100 total points
ID: 41858668
It’s worth checking out a few options, you can find links similar in price to the nanobeam (based on Wi-fi) and some purpose built wireless links from Cambium Networks.   You will want a product that has high tolerance to mitigate interferers in these unlicensed frequency bands (2.4GHz or 5GHz) in case someone sets up another link nearby.  The Force 180 and Force 200 links are more economic, the PTP 450 is mid-tier, and the PTP 650 / PTP 820 are the high grade for links sometimes used to connect mission critical public safety systems so very robust – the company was spun out the motorola government and public safety business in 2011 and built some robust stuff.
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Author Comment

by:agieryic
ID: 41865348
Sorry for not getting back to this. I want issue points and close the system is not allowing me to issue points so that I can close this. I'll try a different browser
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Author Closing Comment

by:agieryic
ID: 41865351
Thanks for everyone's input
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