Skyfiber Completes Successful Philadelphia Port Biometric Trial With ePortation

Share Article

SKYFIBER ( and ePortation used infrared laser-based Optical Wireless Broadband connectivity to backhaul an iris-scanning biometric security system trial for the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority, part of a pilot project to implement new and innovative technologies in support of Homeland Security at America’s ports.

SKYFIBER’s Optical Wireless Broadband (OWB) technology brought unique advantages to the seaport environment that competing technologies just couldn’t match.

SKYFIBER (, a global leader in Optical Wireless Broadband technology, has concluded a successful trial with ePortation and The Philadelphia Regional Port Authority (PRPA). ePortation was appointed by the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority to improve port-wide access controls by integrating new biometric technology into the ePortation rules and validations system to authenticate the identities of people entering the Port of Philadelphia, an important strategic military seaport. The Philadelphia Regional Port Authority is responsible for strategic planning at multiple port facilities along the Delaware River, including the Port of Philadelphia, and has been a leader in utilizing modern technologies to address the Department of Homeland Security directive to better secure the nations’ seaports.

ePortation, with the support of SKYFIBER’s Optical Wireless Broadband, executed the pilot program that called for increasing the security at the port and integrating a biometric measure. To successfully deploy their system, ePortation needed a way to transmit the vast amounts of data collected by the iris readers and the video cameras from the guard station back to the main data center. A technology was needed to backhaul the large data stream that was low-cost, reliable, highly secure, and did not require any disruption to the Port’s daily activities to implement.

“SKYFIBER’s Optical Wireless Broadband (OWB) technology brought unique advantages to the seaport environment that competing technologies just couldn’t match,” said Paul Labow, CEO of ePortation. Both Fiber Optic cable and Microwave RF technologies were considered by ePortation but using in-ground Fiber Optic cable was immediately discarded as a non-viable option. Not only was the cost and length of time required to dig trenches for fiber conduit unacceptably high for the project, the key area to be traversed went right through a very busy section of the port. The Port of Philadelphia is a 24-7-365 operation, and the amount of downtime that would have been needed to dig the trenches, lay conduit, and pull fiber would have resulted in an unacceptable disruption in daily port operations.

SKYFIBER on the other hand was able to demonstrate a high bandwidth connection capable of transmitting data well over a mile, and it only took two men, with just a ladder and a toolbox, to install the entire solution in a single day. Microwave RF was also a non-starter as well, due to the high level of signal interference. John Hoffman, VP of Telecommunications Sales for SKYFIBER noted that “In a port environment, barges and ships are constantly coming in and out of port, and all of them are using different RF frequencies for communication. This makes establishing an RF system that will work consistently just not feasible.”

SKYFIBER’s Optical Wireless Broadband (OWB) technology uses infrared light to provide over 1Gbps of Broadband connectivity at a fraction of the cost of Microwave, Millimeter wave, or In-Ground Fiber. The technology is ideal for relieving mobility backhaul bottlenecks, channeling highly secure data transactions, connecting business/medical/educational campuses, and a host of other key applications. SKYFIBER’s Optical Wireless Broadband is highly secure, compact, and easily deployable, and takes as little as a day to get a 1Gig link up and running.

SKYFIBER (, an Optical Wireless Broadband company, was founded in 1996. It is a privately held corporation of 60 plus employees, headquartered in Bryan, Texas, with additional offices in Dallas, TX, Philadelphia, PA, San Jose, CA, and a partner network that spans the globe. SKYFIBER’s solutions can economically augment or replace traditional fiber optic and microwave technologies to meet customer needs for wireless backhaul, enterprise and campus area networks, last-mile extension, private data networks, emergency response networks, and a variety of revenue generating opportunities for municipalities. SKYFIBER markets their solutions in the Enterprise and Telecommunications global markets, and are expanding market penetration by developing strategic partnerships to identify referral opportunities and to provide implementation services.

About ePortation
ePortation Inc., ( a Philadelphia based company, is a leader in the field of real time information logistics and builds and deploys real-time systems for managing challenging and complex environments and yet the tools are simple and easy to use. The company has developed technology that is adaptable, flexible and secure to reflect today's changing business requirements and circumstances. The company’s maritime domain experience is key to providing the insight to address all maritime issues. ePortation is different in that it moves technology to the event where other products wait for the event to come to the technology. ePortation systems are made entirely in America and are in use by the US Navy; US Army; and private sector clients.

About The Philadelphia Regional Port Authority
The Philadelphia Regional Port Authority is an independent agency of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania charged with the management, maintenance, marketing, and promotion of publicly owned port facilities along the Delaware River in Philadelphia, as well as strategic planning in the port district. PRPA works with its terminal operators to modernize, expand, and improve its facilities, and to market those facilities to prospective port users. Port cargoes and the activities they generate are responsible for thousands of direct and indirect jobs in the Philadelphia area and throughout Pennsylvania, as well as numerous other economic benefits.

Contact SKYFIBER: christina(dot)richards(at)skyfiber(dot)com
Contact ePortation: rlipschutz(at)eportation(dot)com

# # #

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Christina Richards

Email >
Visit website