Proxim Wireless on Tuesday added to its portfolio of broadband service products with an eye toward faster, more robust performance for carriers and wireless internet service providers (WISP). The hope, said Proxim executives, is to harness the continued buzz around 4G technology but also leverage Proxim's significant gains in the wireless broadband channel made over the past year.
New as of Tuesday is Proxim's Tsunami 8150-CPE (Customer Premise Equipment) subscriber units, which use the same 4G technology as previous Proxim releases offer 100 Mbps of performance. The new Tsunamis add 2x2 Multiple-Input and Multiple-Outpout (MIMO), offer indoor and outdoor form factors, support 256 AES encryption and can be deployed in non-line-of-sight situations.
According to Proxim, the 8150-CPEs support 2.3 to 2.5 Ghz and 4.9 to 6.1 Ghz bands, and both licensed and license-free frequency bands, as well as eight quality-of-service classes and as many as eight service flows per class.
The 8150-CPE units themselves are priced at $399 for the outdoor versions, which are available immediately, and $299 for the indoor versions, which will be available in August. At those price points and specs, contended Geoff Smith, senior vice president of product management at Proxim, service providers can complete broadband wireless deployments using equipment that exceeds what cable and DSL can provide, but more affordably.
Smith admitted the push toward 4G broadband technologies like Long Term Evolution (LTE) and WiMax has been top of mind for many channel partners, but he urged them to consider the structural needs 4G deployments will require as they place their bets on the technology.
"LTE has the same limitations as every technology: it's physics," said Smith. "It's claiming higher capacity, but the further away you get, the lower the data rate becomes. That data congestion issue is not just going to go away, which is one of the reasons people continue to invest in Wi-Fi offload."
Should partners throw in their lot with one 4G technology versus another?
"LTE and WiMax are both going to have a future," Smith said. "There are going to be places like major metros where both networks exist in harmony. For us, it's not an either/or proposition. We're providing the backhaul for whatever the technical people decide to roll out, and we have the ability to be flexible."
Proxim's channel has been growing apace with its technology gains. The company redesigned the Proxim Partner Program in August 2009, offering adjusted revenue attainment levels so that partners could receive program benefits without changing their status.
"We didn't have to go through and downgrade a bunch of partners, and it's worked out well for us," said Robb Henshaw, director of marketing and communications.
Last August, Henshaw said, Proxim had 1,500 active partners around the world, and since then, it's been adding new partners at a rate of about 85 per month, globally.
Proxim's channel priorities will continue to be around co-marketing opportunities with channel partners, as well as what Henshaw called a WISP incentive program: a free, 30-day "try and buy" through which customers can test Proxim gear.
"The product speaks for itself," Henshaw said.