RealTime IT News

LigoWave Well-Suited for Stimulus Funds

LigoWave was founded in 2007 as a joint venture between the U.S.-based wireless equipment manufacturer Deliberant and the Lithuanian software developer Wilibox, with the aim of developing a new line of high-performance wireless equipment for wireless ISP and carrier customers.

According to Jim Campbell, Deliberant's director of business and product development, what initially attracted his company to Wilibox was the simple idea of having greater control over firmware. With Deliberant's products, he says, "We don't own the software—we get boards that are pre-loaded with a software image, with firmware that we can't really update and configure and customize."

Working with Wilibox on the LigoWave line, Campbell says, gave them the ability to add key features like Wilibox's RCMS (Remote Configuration Management System). "It's a server-based solution where you can monitor and upload firmware to your devices—remotely control and manage your devices," he says. "This was something that we've seen was a big need on the market: people want to be able to management everything remotely."

Campbell says Wilibox's software also vastly improves the products' ease of use. "We want a product that you don't have to spend hours and hours trying to configure," he says. "Wilibox offered the flexibility to develop interfaces on these radios that are ready to go and ready to use for their application without a whole lot of tweaking."

The product line

The company offers single radio, dual-radio, and quad-radio APs. It offers radios in 900 MHz, 2.4 GHz, and 5 GHz versions.

The company's LigoCPE products are available in 5 GHz connectorized and integrated versions; and 900 MHz connectorized and integrated versions. 2.4 GHz connectorized and integrated versions are coming soon.

The integrated products, Campbell says, are designed "at the maximum gain allowed by FCC regulations—so, for instance, in our 2.4 lineup, we have a 15 dBi panel antenna that maximizes the allowable EIRP, so you get the maximum 500 mW transmit power."

For the LigoPTP point-to-point products, Campbell says, the company "developed a proprietary software mechanism that enables us to kill off a lot of the overhead that 802.11 has associated with it--we've actually been able to, with our proprietary software mechanism in the point-to-point devices, enable up to 70 Mbps actual TCP throughput on a 40 MHz channel."

The point-to-point products are available in 5 GHz connectorized and integrated versions; and 900 MHz connectorized and integrated versions. A 3.65 GHz version is in the works.

Finally, there are two LigoMesh products currently available—the LigoMesh Duo 2.4/5GHz gateway and the LigoMesh Quad 2.4/5GHz node.

"What differentiates our mesh products from others on the market is that we are a layer 2 based mesh solution," Campbell says. "Layer 2 minimizes the throughput loss per hop you have on the traditional layer 3 solutions that some of our competitors have."

The mesh gateway has two physical radios, and the node has three—which Campbell says is another key differentiator. "That allows you to have separate uplink, downlink and service set interfaces," he says. "A lot of our competitors use only one radio, and then all three of those actions are shared--and that's when you lose your throughput per hop. Mesh is a self-healing, self-forming network architecture by design, so you don't want to compromise any of that capability by combining those in one interface. The more you can separate them, the more efficiently your radio is operating."

Looking ahead

Campbell says the company plans to add a point-to-multipoint solution to its lineup. "It's going to be based on the same proprietary mechanism that we're using for point-to-point--so you'll get the same high throughput that you see on our point-to-point product in a point-to-multipoint solution," he says.

The company is also developing a MIMO Mini PCI card. "We've already received our first production samples of these, and the initial testing results are awesome," Campbell says. "So we're going to be integrating them into access points, CPEs and point-to-point based off of MIMO technology, with which we should be able to see in the neighborhood of 100 Mbps on those point-to-point links."

LigoWave has stayed away from WiMAX, Campbell says, because they're not yet convinced of its viability. "We see fixed WiMAX deployments as a poor business case for our customers," he says. "The node density you need for WiMAX to be successful is so large that it requires much more capital investment to get to all your end users, so we're kind of staying on the back burner with WiMAX right now."

And while LigoWave's price point is higher than Deliberant's, Campbell says the improved performance can easily make up the difference. "The LigoWave products are priced pretty competitively with the Deliberant products—they're not actually too much more expensive—but it is a performance enhancement, and we're intending this to reach the customers that either need that extra mile of coverage, or they need to reach a much broader customer base," he says. "For instance, our [$270] AP Solo product, if you were to compare that to the [$165] Deliberant 2701 product, you're going to get a whole lot more users on the AP Solo."

Still, Campbell insists that LigoWave is not in any way intended to replace Deliberant. "These products are just geared towards the enterprise customer, the ones that are really growing their networks to the point where their user base is increasing and they need to have that extra flexibility and bandwidth available," he says.

At this point, Campbell says, LigoWave's biggest challenge simply lies in name recognition. "We're teaming up with some of our distributors and some of our big customers that have the capability to do some really robust testing and put our product through the wringer--people want products that are proven, so we're just trying to get people to put them up on a link and test them," he says. "We stand behind our product: we know it works—and we know it performs up to really robust specifications."

Jeff Goldman is a frequent contributor to Wi-Fi Planet. Story courtesy of ISP-Planet.