Has anyone got a FSO link in operation? and if so how reliable is it?
Since joining the school in 2008 I've been looking into various ways to connect our two sites reliably and the head has now agreed to fund it. At the moment I'm looking at Free Space Optics(FSO) at gig speeds, the cost isn't all that bad compared to every other method of connecting at reasonable speeds.
The main consideration of FSO is the area its installed in, i.e. the real killer of FSO is fog, which is apparent near the coast. We install FSO (although not in your area) and agree tha is is a really good technology, especially if you want gigabit. What we tend to also affer a radio backup, subject to required response times and how critical the link is. You shouldn't be looking at more than £2k for a decent throughput backup.
Some manufacturers incorporate the abaility to connect the backup link in to the FSO and automatically switch over, but you will pay a premium for this. Cheaper to get a couple of failover WAN routers, or just patch it in manually as and when required.
I know your specifically talking about FSO, but dependant on the distance of the sites would fibre be an option?
Thanks guys, sorry for not replying sooner - hadn't spotted the replies
Having done far too much research(including gathering visibility stats from a local airport's weather station) we've decided FSO with an RF backup is the way to go, as the distance is only around 220m in a suburban area fog shouldn't be too much of an issue, from what I can gather it wouldn't even be an issue at the airport with the exception of around 5-10 working hours each year. Its just a case of finding the right company for the install now.
We looked into wired options first including BT/NTL and Fibre via the sewers(H20 Networks). The best option availible was fibre via the railway line behind our sites, I went as far as asking Network Rail but found the price rising very quickly, especially as they'd need to close the line :( they also said that vandals often attack any cables they can get hold of and any repairs would need to be paid for by us again. I'd expect the initial cost to be £15k minimum with any repairs costing another £7k easily.