Announced this past summer at the SuperComm tradeshow, ADC Telecommunications’ LoopStar is a “span-powered” Wi-Fi system — meaning, access points on the network edge (at the hotspot) receive the electrical power they need over the digital subscriber line (DSL)
ADC hopes to make its LoopStar Wi-Fi even easier, by building Wi-Fi hardware and software from Colubris Networks into LoopStar products. The 802.11b technology they’ll get is based that found in Colubris’s “intelligent” CN300 and CN3000 Wi-Fi access devices.
This original equipment manufacturer (OEM)
Barry Fougere, president and CEO of Colubris, calls this agreement a “real estate play” for his company. With the financial contributions made by payphones having dropped over the years as cell phones gained in popularity, he says the question has long been how to turn those locations back into money makers. He feels ADC’s LoopStar with Wi-Fi is the answer.
ADC doesn’t own any phone booths, they make the equipment that goes into the phone systems, like competitor Alcatel (which is also a Colubris partner). ADC, however, concentrates in the area of DSL access equipment.
Fougere says there a couple of Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs) planning on testing the equipment in their labs soon. He expects more to be evaluating it soon.
Payphones and phone booths are fast becoming one of the hip new places for companies to install access points. Bell Canada and inCode Telecomm were one of the first in North America, and Verizon made big news by turning a number of Manhattan payphones into hotspots. Last week, major PSP Intera Communications said that it was starting to experiment with turning its tens-of-thousands of payphones into hotspots as well.
All of those previous announcements, says Fougere, are “early efforts… [at] kludging together some piece parts to rapidly get something out there. This is generation two. There’s nobody that’s announced anything that touches what we’re doing.”