Inc. last week announced that it won Federal Communications Commission (FCC) equipment
authorization for its first Wi-Fi Switch, the DP2310. The product, which will
debut in the first quarter of 2003 as Vivato’s initial offering, is the first to
operate under FCC Part 15 rules that uses the innovative planar phased array
antenna in conjunction with 802.11b WLAN technology.
“FCC approval is a big step for us,” said Phil Belanger, Vivato’s VP of
Marketing in a recent interview with ISP-Planet. “We’re the first company to get
approval for a smart antenna in the unlicensed spectrum.”
“It was a long project; we had to jointly define the test criteria [with the
FCC]. Then the certification lab did the testing,” Belanger added, also pointing
out that approval applies only to the 2.4GHz spectrum. Testing for products
operating in the 5GHz band will follow next year.
The principal innovation of Vivato’s patent-pending antenna technology (which
it’s dubbed PacketSteering) is the use of multiple antenna “cells” to create
narrow, formed beams to send and receive multiple transmissions simultaneously.
According to the company, this results in greatly extended range (“from meters
to kilometers”)and reduced co-channel interference.
From the ISP perspective, the company’s claim of a 2-kilometer minimum
effective range for the product is only one potential selling point. Perhaps
equally important is that, for a typical deployment, no customer premise
equipment is needed, just a standard 802.11 client (network adaptor), so
equipment cost is minimized and installation cost eliminated from the profit
Add to this bandwidth augmentation via multiple transmission beams (analogous
to a wired network switch that makes full network bandwidth available to each
node, versus a hub, which divides the bandwidth equally among nodes), and
centralized back-end network, security, and access management, and you get an
equipment option that ISPs should be very interested in exploring.
Asked whether any ISPs were involved in trials with the Wi-Fi Switch,
Belanger answered, “Not yet. There were very few beta units available for
testing; we had to essentially use a lottery to select testers.” The first round
of beta tests, he went on to say, will include a hospital, a university, and
retail hotspot locations. Vivato hopes to mount a trial with an ISP in the
“The increased efficiency and lower equipment cost should let ISPs roll out
service offerings on a broader scale,” Belanger commented. “The platform has the
potential to take wireless residential and business service to the next level,”
Again, product is expected to become available late in the first quarter of
2003. Belanger estimates that the cost for an ISP deployment would run around
$50,000 to achieve 100Mbps of throughput over a 360-degree area under four
Reprinted from ISP Planet.