Strix Introduces Outdoor Mesh Networking System

The Access/One Network Outdoor Wireless System (OWS) is aimed at providing Wi-Fi access for large outdoor network deployments, such as metropolitan or rural areas, said Doug Huemme, associate vice president, strategic and channel marketing for Strix, Calabasas, Calif. Strix already offers an Access/One Network product best suited for indoor mesh network deployments.

The outdoor system supports 802.11a, b or g, and features six radios per node vs. the indoor systems' three radios, Huemme said. It also has a weather-proof enclosure that is rust-resistant and corrosion-proof, and can be exposed to a temperature range of minus 30 degrees Celsius to 55 degrees Celsius, which makes it well-suited for outdoor environments, he said. The Access/One Network OWS will be available in the first quarter of 2005. Strix did not release pricing information.

Like mesh networking infrastructure competitors Firetide and BelAir Networks, Strix's mesh networking nodes are self-configuring and include basic secure authentication, network monitoring support and rogue detection. A network administrator can manage a Strix wireless mesh network from a single Web-based console. But configuration and management of the nodes is not centralized on a single access point, so there is never a single point of failure on the network, Huemme said.

Startup Strix sells its products exclusively through the channel, Huemme said.

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Mesh networks are different from typical WLANs in that access points or nodes use a wireless Ethernet backhaul for connections, so each node does not require a direct connection to the LAN. Because of the unwired nature of the network, mesh is becoming a popular option for citywide Wi-Fi deployments. Cities currently leveraging Strix technology to build out their metropolitan networks include Hermosa Beach, Calif., and Jersey Village, Texas.