Media Release

County Using Free Space Optics for Guardian ad Litem

Friday, March 11, 2011 12:00 PM

ALACHUA COUNTY, FL - The Alachua County Information and Telecommunication Services (ITS) announced that as of February 22, 2011, the County's Guardian ad Litem program has been utilizing Free Space Optics (FSO) technology to connect its new office, in the newly renovated Department of Corrections building (105 SE 1st Street, Suite 7, Gainesville) to the existing Alachua County network.

The County ITS Department found three possible solutions to fix the Guardian ad Litem's networking problem. They could either install new County owned fiber optic cable 9at a cost of approximately $35,000), lease GRU fiber (for approximately $22,000, with additional ongoing monthly costs), or implement new technology using an optical wireless solution (the FSO option). The cost for the final FSO solution was $5,460.

The FSO technology solves the problem of allowing the Guardian ad Litem program to use the County network for both phone and network services without the ability to connect the new location through the standard County used fiber-optic cable.

With assistance from the County Facilities Management Department, FSO units were mounted on the new Guardian ad Litem building and the nearby Growth Management Building. ITS staff installed the transmitter/receiver assemblies and configured them to pass network and phone traffic.

According to Chad Young, Network Security Analyst, FSO technology answered the question, "How do we connect the Guardian ad Litem's phone and network services back to the County's infrastructure in a cost effective way?" He continued, "Conventional radio-frequency based solutions (such as 802.11 wireless) were too slow and were not well suited to carrying voice-over-IP phone traffic."

For more information, contact Chad Young at 352-384-3139 or



If you have a disability and need an accommodation in order to participate in a County program, service or public meeting, please contact the Alachua County Equal Opportunity Office at 352-374-5275 at least 2 business days prior to the event. TTY users please call 711 (Florida Relay Service).