Broadband Wireless On Tap


Cisco Systems, Colubris Networks and Orthogon Systems also are working with early market wireless broadband solutions based on draft IEEE standards including 802.16, dubbed WiMax, and 802.20.

Both standards are based on orthogonal frequency division multiplexing and specify capabilities for mobile wireless broadband. But WiMax adds mobility to what is essentially a fixed wireless standard, while 802.20 defines a new standard to support mobility from the ground up.

Proxim's software release 2.0 for its Tsunami MP.11 family of point-to-multipoint broadband wireless solutions includes a roaming feature targeted at wireless ISPs as well as the public safety and transportation markets.

The new roaming feature, for instance, would allow cameras in trains, subways and other vehicles to transfer online video streams at 25 frames per second. For now, the Tsunami MP.11 subscriber units would be placed on moving vehicles and would work where they can roam between other Tsunami base station units.

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Nelson Ludlow, CEO of Mobilisa, a Port Townsend, Wash.-based solution provider, said he's used Proxim's Tsunami MP.11 radios for dozens of projects but has found a niche specializing in wireless broadband over water. In fact, Ludlow said, Mobilisa is using Proxim's broadband wireless access solutions to provide wireless Internet access to passengers using ferry systems in Washington and British Columbia.

"We're using 802.11 now in ways people haven't done before or in places where you just couldn't lay cable," Ludlow said. "And it isn't just cost-effective--in the case of [the ferry systems], there just isn't any other way to do it."

Intel, Santa Clara, Calif., is also working with Proxim to develop base station and subscriber unit access points that deliver even faster wireless access for data, voice and video services.

Benjamin Gibson, vice president of marketing at Proxim, Sunnyvale, Calif., said plans include a fixed WiMax-certified broadband wireless solution by early next year and portable WiMax-certified solutions by late next year.

"Our roaming work with Tsunami on MP.11 is proprietary initially to our product offerings and allows us to enter the public safety and transportation applications," Gibson said. "We'll use that and our partnership with Intel to help define an industry standard upon which all systems will be developed."

The Tsunami MP.11, with the 2.0 software, is available in 2.4GHz and 5GHz radio bands through resellers. Pricing starts at $395 and $695 for residential subscriber units, respectively.

Cisco, for its part, this week is expected to introduce a solution aimed at providing broadband wireless access to the public sector. Sources close to the San Jose, Calif.-based networking vendor said the end-to-end solution is designed to allow roaming between Wi-Fi, cellular and satellite communication networks.

Waltham, Mass.-based Colubris, meanwhile, is partnering with distributor Arris TeleWire Supply, Suwanee, Ga., to offer wireless broadband solutions through resellers based on Colubris' WLAN access equipment and management systems.

And Waltham-based Orthogon's OS-Gemini Wireless Ethernet Bridge is being used for broadband wireless connections in the 5.8GHz band--many times in instances where obstacles prevent a direct line-of-sight connection.