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Research - Case Study

LMDS and the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research

WavTrace LMDS multipoint hub deployed at Virginia Tech

An example of how broadband connectivity can facilitate research centers located in rural communities is the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) located in the Danville, Virginia area.  This Institute is focused on polymers, performance engineering and motorsports, high-value crops in horticulture and forestry, and unmanned systems and robotics.   As a part of Virginia Tech, IALR research plays an integral role in the economic revitalization of Southside Virginia.
Local Multipoint Distribution Systems (LMDS) point-to-point links are planned for IALR.  This link will use a new version of LMDS wireless equipment made by Ceragon Networks called FibeAir IP-Max2.  The equipment supports gigabit Ethernet links and up to 8 T1 channels, with full-duplex throughput, up to 400 Mbps with one radio module and up to 800 Mbps with two radio modules.
This link will connect to Virginia Tech and allow IALR to leverage the research infrastructure at Virginia Tech.   LMDS will be used to provide broadband distribution to the companies that develop around the research center.  A map of the license areas is provided below:
Map of LMDS License Areas
Although the equipment for this link is relatively expensive, approximately $30,000, the cost of this equipment is expected to drop quickly and dramatically.  Furthermore, much of the LMDS spectrum in Virginia is owned by the Virginia Tech Foundation, and was purchased with the idea of providing low-cost connectivity (spectrum access) to rural communities.  Thus the overall life-time operating cost for this new technology may be very reasonable for rural communities.