Terabeam wires ballpark for Microsoft meeting

Thu, 09/06/2001 - 8:00pm
Anne Kerven

Terabeam took its free-space technology out to the ball game, sort of. The company landed a contract from Microsoft to connect Seattle's Safeco Field to the Internet during the software company's annual employee meeting.

During the Aug. 30 meeting, Microsoft showed its product demos on two 30-foot by 40-foot projection screens to 16,000 employees in the stadium.

The year-or-so-old ballpark had a T-1 already connected, but it was being used, says Terabeam spokesman Lou Gellos. Microsoft had seen Terabeam's technology during the Asia Pacific Summit in May in Seattle, and approached the company about connecting it in the stadium. And quick.

Terabeam has a hub "ironically" in Smith Tower, one of Seattle's oldest buildings in its SODO district in Pioneer square, he says. Its transceiver beamed to another tower the company set up in Safeco Field. A second beam from another spot in the tower went to Terabeam's temporary equipment on top of the exhibition center, "and provided connectivity to that facility, as well," he says. After the event, it packed up the portable equipment and left.

The event "went off without a hitch," despite a foggy 6 a.m. start, Gellos says, adding that fog tends to disrupt the beams, but didn't this time. He could not say what the contract was worth, but it would be in the "same ballpark" as temporary high-bandwidth connections.

The company says it uses a fiberless optic technology to create a network of invisible light over a metro area to connect LANs and WANs at gigabit speeds. Its beams are the same as those in fiber optic cables. The company has facilities up and running in Denver and Seattle, and will open in Dallas later this year, it says.



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