DragonWave Inc., a supplier of high capacity, wireless native Ethernet backhaul solutions for mobile and access networks, announced that the South Georgia Regional Information Technology Authority (SGRITA) has deployed DragonWave’s Horizon Compact radios in a state-of-the-art broadband network throughout Baker, Calhoun, Early, Miller and Mitchell counties in South Georgia.

Phase I of the network is now complete using DragonWave’s Horizon Compact radios on 25 towers, stretching across five counties and covering 2,000 sq miles, providing 190 Mbps of capacity to the region. SGRITA is now able to provide high speed internet service to area industry, government offices, schools, public safety professionals and other interests. The network is designed to attract industry to the region as well. Applications include VOIP, content filtering and distance learning. Previously, the region was underserved in broadband capacity or had no broadband access at all.

SGRITA founders recognize that technology is increasingly important for education, health, safety, communication and economic competitiveness. “We believe in wireless solutions for rural broadband deployments,” said Lee Conner, director of SGRITA. “Wireless backhaul presents an affordable and what we believe to be a more reliable solution. Before deploying this network, our schools were in the bottom 8 percent in terms of access capability in comparison to the rest of the country. We're now in the top 1 percent in the world in terms of speed and level of access".

A greenfield deployment, the SGRITA project posed unique challenges to network design in terms of climate. Southern Georgia’s sub-tropical climate offers days where 100 percent humidity is normal and the Gulf of Mexico brings daily thunderstorms or even hurricanes with the potential for lightning and rainfall of two inches or more per hour. “DragonWave's products have the ability to reliably cut through the humid sub-tropic climate of South Georgia,” said Dustin Springman, SGRITA’s Network Operations Manager. “With the product’s adaptive modulation, to date we have had 100 percent uptime through some of the most severe South Georgia lightning storms. The performance can be considered nothing less than carrier class and the reliability speaks for itself.”

“The mechanical aspects of the Horizon Compact radio configuration show careful design and thought not only from an engineer’s point of view, but also from an integrator and operator perspective,” said Springman. “The product’s design makes the cost of maintenance much lower.”