Deliberant was founded back in 2003 as a wireless ISP in rural Georgia. According to Jim Campbell, the company’s director of business and product development, the founders realized relatively early in the WISP’s initial deployment process that they could be building their own wireless equipment instead of buying it from manufacturers—and that they could be saving money in the process.
The resulting wireless equipment business, Campbell says, quickly became much larger than the WISP. “We just focused all our efforts into developing our hardware…we started really small, picking up a few small customers around Georgia and Alabama, and we’ve since grown to over 2,000 different customers and resellers in various countries throughout the world,” he says.
The key selling points for Deliberant’s product line, Campbell says, are low prices and good support, including phone and e-mail support, as well as online discussion forums.
“[WISPs] really need a solution that works, that’s easy to set up, and that, when they call somebody, they’ll pick up the phone and answer their questions directly and quickly to help them get set up,” he says. “And that’s really how we’ve built our rapport in the wireless community.”
Deliberant’s focus on price, Campbell says, makes it a particularly attractive solution for hotspots, smaller WISPs and hotel installations. Two years ago, the company partnered with the Lithuanian software provider Wilibox to create a new company, jointly owned by both Deliberant and Wilibox, called LigoWave. LigoWave’s higher-performance products are targeted at providers of all sizes, up to and including the carrier market—while Deliberant remains specifically focused on smaller, more price-sensitive deployments.
The product line
Deliberant offers both indoor and outdoor 2.4 GHz Realtek-based 802.11b/g solutions. The company’s indoor AP/bridge, the DLB2150, is designed for everything from hotspots to hotel installations.
The company’s outdoor CPEs are available in gains from 12dBi to 19dBi, and Deliberant offers two outdoor APs: the standard (50 to 200 mW) DLB2100 and the higher-power 500 mW DLB2701. “With greater memory on the board, the 2701 enables more users to connect, and more range, as well, with the higher output power,” Campbell says.
The company also offers a wide range of accessories, including lightning protectors and power supplies, as well as boards for people who want to build their own solutions. Campbell says that while Deliberant once sold antennas, they stopped doing so because of the high shipping costs, and now refer those sales to their distributors. “Pacific Wireless is a really good equipment provider that couples nicely with ours, so that’s a big one we like to recommend—but there’s plenty of others,” he says.
Resellers and reliability
Deliberant isn’t just about low prices—Campbell says product reliability is also a point of pride for the company. “We have a very low percentage of RMAs,” he says. “This is electronics, so we get stuff from manufacturers overseas—and even in the country—and a lot of times, it shows up at our door already faulty. We don’t want that to get to the customer, so we do some pretty extensive testing before our product gets shipped out the door to make sure that our quality is held as high as possible.”
About half of the company’s customers, Campbell says, purchase equipment directly from Deliberant. The other half buy through one of the company’s resellers. The best reason to go through a distributor rather than buying direct, he says, is to take advantage of a leasing opportunity. “If they’re looking to make a big stock purchase, that’s a hard capital investment—especially for a startup WISP—and we encourage them to go to our distributors to work those kinds of things out,” he says.
Looking ahead, Campbell says, the company will never stop searching for new ways to lower the cost of its products, in order to stay competitive with manufacturers like Ubiquiti. “We will continue to look for ways to either maintain or improve the reliability and performance of the equipment—and to reduce the price at the same time,” he says. “It’s a fine balance, but it’s one that we will continue to work on.”
Jeff Goldman is a frequent contributor to Wi-Fi Planet. Article courtesy of ISP-Planet.