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Lucent pushes high-speed wireless technology

New equipment from Lucent aims to improve wireless networking technology, with transmission speeds comparable to those found in cutting-edge communications networks.

Wireless technology just got a bandwidth boost.

New equipment from Lucent Technologies aims to bring the latest in high-speed technology to the wireless networking world, with transmission speeds comparable to those found in cutting-edge communications networks.

The new technology, called the WaveStar OpticAir system, could bring high-speed communications capabilities into areas that previously couldn't take advantage of innovations in the wired networking world.

The new system will benefit firms like Qwest Communications International and Level 3 Communications that are building long distance fiber-optic networks. The wireless technology will facilitate connections in metropolitan areas and between campuses that lack extended deployments of high-speed bandwidth networks.

Communications newcomer Global Crossing plans to test the equipment by the end of the year. Lucent executives said the WaveStar OpticAir system will be released in March of next year.

The technology was developed by Lucent's Bell Labs research arm.

The WaveStar system will be able to carry data, voice, and video traffic at speeds of 2.5 gigabits-per-second (Gbps) on a single "wavelength." Using dense-division wave multiplexing technology, or DWDM, Lucent will be able to essentially split a wireless link into 2.5-Gbps strands.

Splitting boosts the capacity of a fiber-optic link by creating more beams of light upon which voice, video, or data traffic can be sent at high speeds. Lucent plans to build a four-wavelength system next summer.

Many fiber-optic-based communications carriers are using DWDM to expand the capacity of their underground networks.

The wireless technology will allow corporations and carriers to extend the capacity of their network at the peripheries, where fiber-optics have yet to be installed or where network infrastructure is aging, according to Lucent executives.

It also could allow for rapid installation of wireless high-speed links, according to Lucent.

The cost is expected to be similar to land-based DWDM systems, according to Lucent. Those systems on average can cost more than $100,000.