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Mitsubishi's Relay (Mesh) Network is MOTERAN

Mobile Telecommunications Radio and Relay Network (MOTERAN) is what Mitsubishi Corporation calls it's "relay-type mobile communications technology, a form of a mesh network that lets each network node become a relay point with all other nodes within reach, whether using 802.11, 2G, or 3G networks.

Mitsubishi, teaming with Detecon, the engineering affiliate of Deutsche Telecom, built a prototype MOTERAN network on top of of an 802.11b-based WLAN late last year. The technology has been in development since 1996, where it is expected to be the bases for a mobile communications network using car-based transmitters, taking advantage of Germany's high density of vehicles.

A Bonn, Germany-based joint venture (currently called MOTERAN Networks GmbH) between Mitsubishi and Detecon will market WLAN software products using MOTERAN technology by the Fall of this year. On a WLAN using MOTERAN, no access points or servers are needed, reducing costs and maintenance, according to Mitsubishi. They'll start by targeting small offices and enterprise networks, and move eventually to public access.

Patents for MOTERAN technology have already been granted in Japan and Europe, and applied for elsewhere.

MOTERAN, on the surface, is a "mesh" network but Rick Rotondo, Director, Disruptive Technologies at the stateside MeshNetworks that works on similar networking says there are differences between his company and MOTERAN's technology: "The devil is in the details... Just because you have a mesh doesn't make it self forming or self healing" like the technology MeshNetworks has.

The basic idea behind MOTERAN is the same, however, and Rotondo says a big name like Mitsubishi getting behind it is "a ringing endorsement of the whole idea."

Eric Griffith is the managing editor of 802.11 Planet.

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