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Cisco Unveils Its Wireless POP

Sagging digital subscriber line faith is good news for Cisco System's fixed wireless division, which unveiled its carrier-grade solution Tuesday.

Fixed wireless, considered the third pipe of broadband data transportation with cable and DSL, is gaining momentum, as companies look for a technology able to deliver consistent, high-speed Internet access to run its online operations.

The Cisco WT-2750 Multipoint Broadband Wireless System is singular in its ability to deliver carrier-grade data traffic in line-of-sight and non-line-of-sight environments. The knock on fixed wireless since its inception has been its inability to deliver a reliable signal if a physical object or inclement weather gets in the way of the dish transmitting and the dish receiving the data.

It's a technology only recently adopted by the Broadband Wireless Internet Forum, and has the potential to reach customers who normally wouldn't have the means to use high-speed Internet services.

DSL is available only to people within 18,000 feet of the telephone company's central office, while the nationwide cable network is still in the process of its digital upgrade and has a reputation for delivering inconsistent bandwidth because of its shared-network architecture. T-1 lines from the telephone company, on the other hand, remain prohibitively expensive for small businesses unwilling to shell out the nearly $1,000 monthly fee.

Carson Chen, Cisco wireless access business unit vice president and general manager, said the WT-2750 is sure to become the product of choice for fixed wireless providers.

"The WT-2750 system extends Cisco's family of broadband solutions to include (multi-channel, multipoint distribution service) and UNII point-to-multipoint wireless products that specifically address the high-performance requirements of small- and medium-sized businesses, as well as residential customers," Chen said. "VOFDM technology -- paired with (Data Over Cable Systems Interface Specifications) (Media Access Control) layer -- is quickly becoming the solution of choice for microwave broadband wireless access, and delivers uncompromised performance, wireline-grade link availability, end-to-end quality of service, security, provisioning and management support."

Cisco's new product comes at an important time, when many network equipment makers hit by the current Internet "recession" are looking for ways to spur revenues and regain investor confidence.

Corporations could be the source of Cisco's windfall in the coming months. According to Cahner's In-Stat, an Internet analysis company, small- to large-enterprise companies will spend nearly $200 billion on Internet technology by 2004.

Kneko Burney, In-Stat director of e-business infrastructure and services, said many companies around the U.S. are just now realizing the importance of the Internet and will spend more to realize that potential.

"U.S. businesses of all sizes began seriously considering the Web to enhance their business models about 18 months ago," Burney said. "Moving into 2001, the majority of firms are just now likely to realize some of the potential the Internet can offer them. How this happens will depend on the market."