Motorola Looks To Mesh With Channel

networking Wi-Fi

Rick Rotondo, director of marketing Motorola's Mesh Networks Product Group, said Motomesh solution was designed to address the needs of different types of users. "The solution starts with municipal Wi-Fi and goes way beyond it," he said.

Motorola is putting the finishing touches on a channel program to help drive the MotoMesh solution into the mesh networking mainstream and expects to launch through beta partners early in the second quarter, according to Paul Mueller, vice president of sales for Motorola's Mesh Networks Product Group. For a recent citywide deployment in Ripon, Calif., Motorola brought in Lockheed-Martin in a VAR role to install the system, he said.

Prior to acquiring Mesh Networks in 2004, Motorola already had a program in place with the Maitland, Fla-based company that consisted of 15 domestic partners, according to Mueller. Mobile broadband VARs will be targeted in Motorola's channel efforts. "We'll be looking to add partners who are tech-savvy and who have the delivery capabilities as well, in terms of system integration and installation," Mueller said.

The channel program will include two levels Gold and Silverdepending on volume commitment, and there will be co-marketing and co-branding elements, Mueller said.

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Each Motomesh access point has two Wi-Fi radios and two of Motorola's proprietary Mesh Enabled Architecture (MEA) radios. One set of each radio operates in the unlicensed 2.4 GHz band and the other in 4.9 GHz licensed public safety band, the use of which is restricted to emergency personnel.

The MEA radios are designed for higher performance than normal Wi-Fi radios and include features such as the ability to stay connected at speeds up to 250 miles per hour, Rotondo said. Wi-Fi signal tends to break up around 30 mph to 40 mph, he said.

Another feature of MEA radios with particular relevance to public safety is a position location capability that doesn't use GPS. The system can track the location of all users on the network, which is especially useful for police and firefighters because GPS doesn't work well inside buildings, Rotondo said.

The MEA radios also allow the MotoMesh system to incorporate a different type of routing architecture than traditional mesh networks. Most mesh networks consist of clients connecting directly to access points, but in the MotoMesh network, each user acts as a router/repeater for other network users, Rotondo said. "Every user makes the network stronger, extends network coverage and increases throughput," he said.