From WiMAX to Wi-Fi, Andrew’s Wireless Offerings Run the Gamut

Andrew’s long history goes all the way back to 1937, when it was started as a sole proprietorship by engineer Victor J. Andrew. As the company grew over the years, it expanded from offering basic communications products and services to providing everything from coaxial cable to microwave antennas.

In December of 2007, Andrew was acquired by CommScope for $2.65 billion. It’s now a wholly-owned subsidiary of CommScope, which offers everything from cables and connectivity to software and network design services to customers in more than 130 countries worldwide.

The acquisition has proved to be of great benefit to both companies, says vice president of technical marketing John Baker. “We’re just past month six of the acquisitions, but in all respects, the companies are working very well together, and integration plans are under way… I think everybody’s very excited,” he says.

More recently, Andrew announced a collaboration with Siemens in deploying a wireless communications system for the new CRH3 high-speed trains between Beijing and Tianjin in China, in time for the 2008 Summer Olympics. The company used its MIR-T in-train repeaters in the deployment to ensure mobile connectivity for passengers while en route.

A complete offering

Andrew aims to be a one-stop shop for all of its customers’ wireless network needs. To that end, the company is divided into two key groups: Antenna, Cable and Cabinet, and Wireless Network Solutions. While most of the company’s leading products are targeted specifically at cellular carriers, Baker says, a number of its solutions are also appropriate for wireless ISPs.

In general, Baker says, “We’ve got enterprise systems which provide end-to-end cabling, we provide products for data centers, and on the wireless side, obviously, antennas—and we’ll do complete in-building distribution systems that support Wi-Fi and other carrier technologies. So obviously, depending on what the wireless ISP needs, then we have a complete product set to support that.”

That product set includes the company’s Mag Grid, Microceptor and PD Series antennas at various frequencies, as well as a broad range of backhaul antennas for unlicensed bands—along with Andrew’s Invex3G wireless measurement solutions, which provide in-depth QoS measurements and performance reports. Still, Baker says most WISPs turn to Andrew for more basic items like cabinets and cables.

The company markets its solutions to WISPs through a network of distributors, such as Last Mile Gear and TESSCO, which sell the company’s 2.4 GHz and 5.2-5.8 GHz antennas, as well as a wide range of cabinets, brackets, mounts and cables.

Focused on reliability

More recently, the company has released a full range of WiMAX antennas, as well as wireless location software—”platforms for providing location information off of mobile networks and fixed networks,” Baker says. “Those products are starting to come through in the wireless ISP area, where you want IP location for things like E911… that’s a fairly hot subject at the moment.”

In the larger picture, Baker says, what really makes Andrew stand out is its long history in the wireless market. “It comes back to the years of longevity of the company, and the stability there,” he says. “Essentially, we talk to every wireless carrier in the world, I think it’s fair to say… we’re competitive on price—and it’s just then reliability, quality, and the Andrew name.”

And while the company strives to be competitive on price, Baker says that’s never the focus for its products. “Reliability and quality is really the message that we put out there,” he says. “We compete openly with the competitors out there, but people obviously come back to reliability, quality—and the trust that you can put wireless performance in place.”

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