RealTime IT News

802.11-Planet News Briefs

The old switcheroo

The move from 2.4 to 5.8GHz unlicensed radio spectrum for fixed wireless applications has been a mini trend of the last several months. With 2.4GHz (which is also used for wireless LANs, cordless phones, and baby monitors) getting crowded, carriers are looking instead to 5.8, the UNII (unlicensed National Information Infrastructure) band.

Winncom Technologies Corp. of Solon, Ohio, a subsidiary of ARC Wireless Solutions Inc., says it has a 2.4GHz-to-5.8GHz frequency converter solution for use in ISM direct sequence and frequency hopping wireless networks.

The converter will let carriers take advantage of the relatively uncrowded 5.8GHz band, while deploying much more readily available and lower-cost 2.4GHz wireless LAN/WAN equipment from established vendors such as BreezeCom, Aironet/Cisco, Lucent, and others.

"We are excited about the benefit the Frequency Converter will provide to the wireless network market," said Gregory Raskin, Winncom's president and CEO. "This device will provide additional transmission channels in the unlicensed spectrum resulting in a considerable increase in bandwidth capacity."

The Frequency Converter is compatible with most 2.4 GHz wireless networking systems currently on the market. The device is now available for sale on an international basis with FCC approval for domestic sales expected in Q1 of 2001.

ARC Wireless, headquartered in Wheat Ridge CO, is a wireless technology company that does marketing, distribution, and servicing, as well as selective design and manufacturing, of a range of component and network solutions to support wireless applications.

Dramatic growth predicted for FWA According to the ARC Group, a UK-based telecom industry research firm, the worlwide fixed wireless industry is about to explode. Service revenues for fixed wireless will top $41 billion by 2005, the ARC report says.

The report, Broadband Access: Opportunities in Fixed Wireless, also shows that over a quarter of business premises will be connected via fixed wireless by 2005, with actual deployments to both households and businesses reaching over 27 million premises.

More than half of these will be in the two leading markets, North America and Western Europe. North America will account for just under $10 billion of the predicted industry revenue by 2005, Europe another $10 billion.

"Fixed wireless systems will increasingly become a key feature of the access landscape," says the report's author, ARC Group analyst Tony Crabtree. "With lower frequency systems catering for the mass market, and higher frequency systems being deployed at the higher end."

"Fixed Wireless offers a unique combination of flexibility and high performance that is unmatched by other high bandwidth access technologies. High speed, high capacity coupled with true flexibility and scalability are the key features that are proving to be highly attractive to both service providers and end-users."

"The ability to rapidly deploy networks, whilst avoiding the complexity and restrictions of operating in the local loop, is also a huge plus point."

ARC is predicting that the biggest growth will be in licensed bands with LMDS under 38GHz accounting for over 40 per cent of service revenues ($18 billion) by 2005, and the LMDS sector over 37 GHz making up another 33 per cent of revenues ($14 billion).

Voice over wireless

For ISPs and CLECs using fixed wireless and also wanting to offer voice over IP services, targeted solutions are few and far between. But Tessco Technologies Inc.of Hunt Valley MD, a wireless products and services supplier, recently announced it will offer the IPico VoIP products from the Israeli company Lucid Voice Ltd.

IPico, a complete, all-in-one voice and data Integrated Access Device, reduces local and long distance costs for ISP's, CLEC's and smaller voice and data users. It offers VoIP and data integration for simultaneous telephony and data transfer with QoS enforcement on a range of IP networks.

Tessco will offer the complete line of Lucid Voice IPico products to customers that want to combine voice and data transmissions over the same wireless network.

"Lucid Voice offers a cost-effective, high quality solution for voice and data communication convergence over wireless networks," says Rick Guipe, TESSCO's senior vice president of sales and market development. "With the cutting-edge technology and patented QoS of the IPico products, ISP's and CLEC's have a new solution to meet the growth of VoIP use."

Lucid Voice, based in Tel-Aviv, says it is breaking new ground by offering solutions that combine quality VoIP telephony and data services in a single box that provides all the functions of a router, gatekeeper, and call manager.

The IPico products are compatible with analog phones and fax machines; can use existing communication links to support point-to-point, point-to-multipoint, and multipoint-to-point applications; and interoperate with a range of standard H.323 & SIP telephony terminals, gateways, and gatekeepers.