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Free space optic installations require line of sight availability between laser units and are referred to as link heads. Preinstallation site evaluation is performed to ensure that paths between free space optic units are clear. The vendors of free space optic systems provide products operating in the physical, data link or network layers of the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) Model. These products allow protocols running on fiber-based installations to run on free space optic systems, including the ability to map T1 onto links. Systems including network layer operability use routers to segment the free space optic links.
Applications of free space optics include LAN to LAN connections on campuses and cities, crossing public roads or barriers not owned by the sender and receiver, speedy service delivery of high bandwidth access to optical fiber networks, converged voice data connection, inter and intra chip communication and communication between spacecrafts.