MobileAccess Platform Merges WLAN, Cellular, Pagers


A venture-funded Virginia company hopes to capitalize on the proliferation of wireless devices and technologies with a "wire it once" solution for enterprise customers.

MobileAccess Networks, formerly Foxcom Wireless, this week launched its MobileAccess product family, a wireless transport platform that carries cellular, paging and wireless LAN signals throughout a building or corporate campus.

The MobileAccess solution consolidates base units from one or more wireless carriers and transports the signals over optical fiber to remote buildings of a corporate campus. From there, MobileAccess remote units transport the signals over coaxial cable to passive antennas.

The system also supports wireless LAN signals, providing more coverage with fewer access points because the APs are centralized in the wiring closet.

Founded in 1998, MobileAccess, based here, originally targeted its solution at wireless service providers, which would deploy the system for customers, said Cathy Zatloukal, president. But enterprise clients wanted control of the transport platform to be able to run more than one service or service provider over it, Zatloukal said.

While the company deals directly with wireless service providers, it plans to use solution providers to attack the enterprise market, she said.

Randy Duffield, managing partner for Minnetonka, Minn. integrator Norstan, said the MobileAccess platform is exciting because it supports multiple wireless technologies.

"You can leverage the same infrastructure to run your pager, cellular and wireless LAN," Duffield said. "You deploy a common passive cable plant with antennas that you never have to change."

On the wireless LAN side, one access point supports four antennas, broadening the coverage area, Zatloukal said. "Customers can now buy access points based on capacity instead of coverage," she added.

Plus, moving the access points to the wiring closet saves customers in the long run, Duffield said. With all of the hardware in the wiring closet, future upgrades become much simpler, and cheaper, he said.

The product line comprises three models. MobileAccess 2000 is a modular system that supports up to 20 voice and data services. MobileAccess 1000 is a stackable solution that supports up to four services. The WLAN-only MobileAccess 800 supports 802.11a, b and g and is compatible with all third party access points, the company said.