Wireless Laser Data Link

Subject: UFTO Note – Wireless Laser Data Link
Date: Wed, 07 Jan 1998

fSONA Wireless Laser Data Link

(The founder of this company is a personal friend. Though it’s not directly related to utilities, I pass this summary along to you in the chance that it may mesh with your company’s strategic directions. This is a rare instance where the market need was identified first, and the technology identified later. A complete business plan is available. Feel free to contact the company directly, or call me first. For your information, I have a finders fee agreement with the company.)


fSONA Corporation, Vancouver, B.C., has a unique laser communications technology developed by the British Telecom (BT) Laboratories in the UK. fSONA has licensed from BT the exclusive, world-wide rights to line of sight transmission technology that provides optical wireless links at speeds up to 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps) for distances up to 4 kilometers. The Company’s goal is to market high speed data transmission or bandwidth products for use in the Telecommunications and Internet services industry.

The data rates attainable with lasercom make it arguably the most cost-effective solution for today’s short haul high speed telecommunications market. Laser links are ideally suited for campus environments and metropolitan locations where interactive, multimedia-based applications, such as video conferencing and telemedicine require significant bandwidth.

Using a combination of optics and photonics technology, fSONA’s laser or optical wireless communications products offer the following advantages over radio-based (RF) products in the access and Local Area Network (LAN) interconnect marketplace:

– Fiber-optic speed.
– Deployable in 24 hours.
– No requirement for radio licensing.
– Secure point to point link between networks.
– Freedom from electro-magnetic (EM) interference

fSONA’s advantage over other laser communication products include:

– Eye safety,
– Lower cost for similar bandwidth and distance capacity,
– Automatic beam alignment to compensate for movement and
building sway,
– Proprietary BT receiver technology that provides vastly improved
performance during periods of atmospheric turbulence.

fSONA’s first commercially available system, the SONAbeam™155, is scheduled for launch in 1998. The SONAbeam™ units consist of off-the-shelf, readily available components from a wide variety of optical and electronics manufacturers in the US and Canada. This system will be capable of transmitting and receiving data at speeds up to 155 megabits per second (Mbps) allowing compatibility with SONET OC-3 format and ATM. fSONA products allow fiber optic network developers the ability to offer fiber optic speed to existing customers and to extend their networks to “off-fiber” high bandwidth customers.

Manufacturing of the first 50 units with product specifications, sourced components, resources and facilities are all ready to commence as soon as financing is in place. Manufacturing of >50 units will be outsourced to one of a short list of suitable manufacturers identified by fSONA.

Sales and Marketing
fSONA is pursuing a two pronged marketing strategy. One, direct sales to Competitive Access Providers (CAPs), Internet Service Providers (ISPs), and large Corporate networks. Two, establishing distribution agreements with Network Equipment Manufacturers (NEMs), System Integrators, and Access Providers. Plans to install the SONAbeam™155 optical wireless transmission products are currently underway at two customer sites in downtown Vancouver. One of these customers has been using laser links successfully for the past year, and is keen to trial the longer distance SONAbeam™ units.

In addition to its two trial customers in Vancouver, fSONA has initiated discussions with a number of potential customers in the Vancouver/Seattle area, who are interested in the results from the trial. Ascend Communications Corp has given fSONA an expression of interest in the trial; one of the benefits that a network OEM would achieve with a product like the SONAbeam155 is the ability to offer customers up to 4km LAN or WAN extensions from their existing equipment and by-pass leased lines for inter LAN connectivity.

fSONA will introduce the SONAbeam™622 and the SONAbeam™1G in its second and third year of operations. These products offer higher bandwidth at the OC-12 (622Mbps) and OC-24 (1.2Gbps) network standards which are currently used only by major trunk carriers such as AT&T and MCI. The introduction of these products will coincide with expanded bandwidth demand anticipated by corporate clients.

Theresa Carbonneau, CEO
fSONA Corporation Tel 604 531 2735
13086 Summerhill Crescent, Fax 604 531 2742
White Rock e-mail fsona@syntagma.com
BC V4A 7Y1

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