An instrumentation prototype for acquiring high-speed transient data from an array of high bandwidth antennas is presented. Multi-kilometer cable runs complicate acquisition of such large bandwidth radio signals from an extensive antenna array. Solutions using analog fiber optic links are being explored though are very expensive. We propose an inexpensive solution that allows for individual operation of each antenna element, operating at potentially high local self-trigger rates. Digitized data packets are transmitted to the surface via commercially available Giga-bit Ethernet hardware. Events are then reconstructed on a computer farm by sorting the received packets using standard networking gear, eliminating the need for custom, very high speed trigger hardware. Such a system is completely scalable and leverages the enormous capital investment made by the telecommunications industry. Test results from a demonstration prototype are presented. © 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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