OptimERA is applying for USDA funding for the ChainLINK project. If you live in Southwest Alaska and would like to see better, faster, and less expensive internet we need your help. To help support this project visit the ChainLINK Support page.
ChainLINK is a project that was conceived in 2009, to bring a microwave link down the Aleutian Chain, delivering high capacity, high quality bandwidth to the region. Over the years the plan has evolved and changed with knowledge gained.
The project will serve 13,000 residents and an additional 10,000 people who come to the region for seasonal work, with 27 mountain sites and links into each town.
The project includes 10 ft microwave antennas, 100% renewable solar power, radome covered towers, and modular equipment. Every aspect is geared for reliability and longevity. We designed the system to last a minimum of 25 years with the only scheduled maintenance being battery swaps every 5 to 7 years. The cost to operate this installation will be significantly lower than any other microwave site.
Fully enclosed towers give us the ability to use larger antennas with ease. In most microwave installations, especially in high wind areas, larger dishes cause the signal to easily be lost due to misalignment, reducing stability. In addition to this, installation of electronics outside on mountain tops in Alaska has proven a problem. This causes most current installations to consist of wave guide from electronics safely stored in a shelter. Because everything is in the shelter we can attach the radio head directly to the antenna. How we do this is proprietary.
Solar installation is by far the single most important aspect of our unique design. Our solar installations operate in even the lowest of light conditions. We tested this concept on a remote site in the Aleutians from 2011 through 2016; the only needed maintenance was a battery swap after 3 years. We used car batteries because they where inexpensive and readily available. Solar is around 3 times the cost to install but is 1/50th the cost to maintain.