RealTime IT News

802.11-Planet News Briefs

A sign of the times?

In a move that signals the rising demand for scarce wireless networking skills, Speedcom Wireless Corp., a Sarasota, Florida-based wireless broadband solutions provider, has converted its InstallGuys services division into a wholly-owned subsidiary.

The company says the change is intended to put the company in a better position to capitalize on a rapidly growing broadband wireless services market. Pioneer Consulting predicts the market will grow from $.09 billion in 2001 to $12.6 billion in 2006.

"As the worldwide demand for mobile computing and remote Internet access increases, the corresponding requirement for site surveys, network design and integration services will also accelerate," says Richard Dean, program manager at IDC, the Framingham, Mass. market research firm.

"Driving much of the demand for network consulting services are the ISPs who are scrambling to become established in certain markets ahead of the competitive field. This aggressive expansion should provide a window of opportunity for consulting organizations with the skills and experience to implement solutions for their clients quickly and efficiently."

Now in its sixth year of operation, InstallGuys is a vendor-independent wireless broadband services organization dedicated to the Service Provider (ISP, CLEC, LEC, and Telco) and Enterprise (corporations, schools and universities, military) markets.

The company provides wireless turnkey services including RF site surveys, engineering plans, and installation and maintenance of customers' wireless broadband equipment and facilities.

InstallGuys personnel work with most of the leading wireless technologies, including unlicensed spread spectrum, licensed microwave (MMDS and LMDS), infrared, and laser, from a wide range of vendors.

In addition to its InstallGuys subsidiary, Speedcom has a manufacturing division, Wave Wireless Networking, that makes a variety of broadband wireless products, including its SpeedLAN family of wireless Ethernet routers.

Service providers get a say

Among other business in a packed two-day session earlier this month, the Broadband Wireless Internet Forum (BWIF) adopted a new Advisor membership category for fixed wireless service providers and operators.

Advisor members will be able to participate in the Forum's activities and provide the Forum with assistance in developing technical requirements.

The Forum also used the meeting to outline its ambitious advocacy program aimed at setting industry standards for broadband wireless access to the Internet, streaming audio, and video and voice communication.

The BWIF is a program of the IEEE Industry Standards and Technology Organization (IEEE-ISTO). The standards the Forum is developing are based on Vector Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (VOFDM) technology.

VOFDM is a version of MIMO OFDM (Multiple Input Multiple Output Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing). It minimizes the line-of-sight limitations and installation problems faced by other broadband wireless access technologies.

The BWIF was formed in July 2000. Cisco Systems Inc. at that time contributed several patent-pending VOFDM innovations. The BWIF-approved Version 1.0 Specifications have been available since late August 2000 to BWIF members.

Global membership in the Forum has grown quickly to 38 companies, mostly equipment and component manufacturers

Surf's up in Illinois

Broadband wireless equipment vendor WaveRider Communications Inc. of Toronto, Canada announced another service provider installation of its Last Mile Solution (LMS) products earlier this month.

The company has deployed its 2.4-GHz-based LMS2000 product for IlliCom Telecommunications, an Illinois-based ISP. The equipment is now delivering high-speed Internet access to IlliCom business subscribers in East-Central Illinois.

On completion of the LMS2000 installation, IlliCom, a subsidiary of Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative, will be able to provide high-speed Internet access to hundreds of business customers over its wireless network. The company plans to further expand wireless coverage over the next two years.

In addition, IlliCom intends to deploy WaveRider's LMS3000. Says IlliCom general manager Kevin Osterbur, "WaveRider's Last Mile Solution products have enabled us to deploy cost effective, high-speed wireless service in a short period of time and to quickly expand our wireless service area to serve more rural markets."

WaveRider's LMS2000 is a fully networked wireless system that uses spread-spectrum technology in the license-free 2.4 GHz band. The LMS2000 has been deployed in markets worldwide to provide wireless Internet access to large, medium and small businesses.

The LMS3000, scheduled for sale in commercial volumes in 2001, provides non-line-of-sight wireless Internet access to business and residential users at speeds up to 1Mbps.