New Tropos Tools Aim To make Mesh Easy For Partners


Tropos last week introduced new hardware and software designed to facilitate every step of the mesh network building process, said Bert Williams, vice president of marketing at the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based vendor. "These tools are like having a network engineer in a box," he said.

SignalMX is network planning software specifically for use with Tropos' equipment, developed by EDX Wireless, a Eugene, Ore., partner. Tropos Drive is a hardware appliance that's used to "test-drive" the network after it has been installed, to determine coverage needs. Tropos Insight is network analysis software that administrators use to measure performance, said Williams.

In a wireless mesh network, all nodes are linked with each other, which improves reliability and performance because there is no single point of failure.

Terry Brown, marketing manager at Viasys, a wireless VAR in Lakeland, Fla., said there is no substitute for physically surveying and testing the proposed coverage area for critical issues such as RF interference.

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However, Brown does see the Tropos products as a step in the right direction. "As systems integrators seek more efficient ways to plan for and fine-tune networks, these types of hardware and software offerings can benefit in the design and optimization of the network," he said.

Carlo MacDonald, president of Camsoft Data Systems, a Tropos partner in Baton Rouge, La., said although he hasn't used the new tools, Tropos' existing diagnostic software does a good job of accounting for bandwidth in the mesh network. He expects solution providers will use the new tools to enter parameters for network topology and calculate where the mesh nodes need to go for optimal network performance. "The tools bring the added benefit of giving you a sense of what speeds the user will have in a given location," he said. The products are expected to be available in the first quarter of 2006. No pricing has been set.

NEW TROPOS MESH NETWORKING TOOLS>> SIGNALMX: Third-party mesh network planning software tool developed by EDX Wireless using Tropos-specific models.
>> TROPOS DRIVE: Hardware appliance used by administrators to 'test-drive' the mesh network after installation to ensure proper operation.
>> TROPOS INSIGHT: Advanced network analyzing software designed to measure networkwide backhaul, mesh and client performance.