November 29, 2000

UC San Diego's HPWREN Backbone Nears Completion

Significant progress has been made within the past few weeks toward the NSF-funded High Performance Wireless Research and Education Network backbone installation in remote San Diego county. Specifically, a 45Mbps full-duplex wireless backbone is being established between the San Diego coastline and the county's eastern mountains, which exceed 6000 feet in height.

The initial high-speed application will be the Mount Laguna Observatory, which is operated jointly by San Diego State University Astronomy Department and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Another immediate application includes earthquake sensors deployed by UCSD's Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

The HPWREN backbone consists of four nodes: SDSC, Mount Woodson, Cuyamaca Mountains, and Stephenson Peak.

Each of the HPWREN backbone nodes uses Western Multiplex Tsunami 5.8 GHz radios. Meanwhile, most of the access lines will use 2.4GHz off-the-shelf radios; however, the Mount Laguna Observatory (due to its high-speed requirements) will utilize the same technology for its access link as the backbone itself.

Eventually, the backbone nodes will use the radios while surrounding an IP router, using the radio's point-to-point or point-to-multipoint capabilities to connect to other backbone or access links (user sites).

User sites already connected include UCSD, the Pala Native American Indian reservation's Learning Center, and two researcher's homes.

In addition to the imminent observatory and earthquake sensor sites, the HPWREN team plans to connect at least two additional Native American Indian reservations (Rincon and La Jolla) and two ecological field station sites (SDSU's Santa Margarita Ecological Reserve and Sky Oaks Field Station).

Additional collaboration opportunities are also being explored. For instance, the HPWREN team is currently discussing network and technology opportunities with several external education sites, as well as an additional field research station.

HPWREN Backbone Installation Highlights

An eight-foot antenna was installed atop SDSC on November 17; the SDSC antenna points toward Mount Woodson microwave tower installations that serve as a relay to Cuyamaca Mountains.

In collaboration with the San Diego County Sheriff's Department, the Cuyamaca Mountains antennas pointing to Mount Woodson and Stephenson Peak were installed on November 20. The following day the HPWREN team undertook more cleanup work at Cuyamaca Mountains as well as a visit to the Warner Springs Unified School District.

On November 23, the eight-foot antenna on the SDSC roof provided for a real face-lift for the center and subsequently the HPWREN team also configured the high-speed radios located at Mount Laguna Observatory and Stephenson Peak.

Preparation of the two eight-foot antennas for Mount Woodson commenced for a November 28 installation; this activity marked the completion of all antenna installations for the high-speed backbone.

Now the HPWREN team is concentrating on additional cabling and equipment installation for a fully operational backbone to be in place by mid-December.

For additional photographs regarding the HPWREN backbone nodes, please refer to /Photos/techno.html#Backbone.


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