“We want carriers.”
That’s how Gemtek Systems CEO Hans van der Hoek put it when describing the difference between Gemtek Systems and its parent company, Taiwan-based Gemtek Technologies Co. Ltd
. Gemtek Tech manufactures products for original equipment manufacturer (OEM) partners like NEC, Intel, and D-Link.
Gemtek Systems (GS) was spun out as a legally separate entity in July, set up its headquarters in The Netherlands, and is making its public launch this week.
The company is looking to go head-to-head with companies like Cisco and Nokia by providing carrier-grade Wi-Fi products to carriers like AT&T and T-Mobile, as well as for wireless ISPs and small enterprises.
“We’ve developed [and] can bring carrier grade Wi-Fi services to the market….services that are easy, reliable, secure, and transparently available,” says van der Hoek. The company has even trademarked the term “carrier-grade Wi-Fi services.”
GS has a suite of solutions for an end-to-end public access networks; all the products will be available by November. van der Hoek says that the products have been in development for 18 months, pointing out that 60 of the 90-plus people employed by GS are in research and development.
The company’s products include client devices (Ethernet, PC Card, Compact Flash, USB adapters for 802.11b, plus a dual-band 802.11a/b PC Card); a dual-band access point; indoor and outdoor 802.11b access points; and an “operator access point” for maximum coverage. The also have access control gateways for hotspots and several Power over Ethernet (PoE)
Why the focus on carriers? “The hotspot market today is in a trial, early adopter mode,” says van der Hoek. “We’re a way from a [being a] mass market like cell phones. What would it take to make it mass market enough so that all business travelers know they have high speed access? We need to expand our foot print, the ‘island of connectivity,’ and have ubiquitous coverage by integrating with a WAN system.”
van der Hoek says carriers will want to get into the Wi-Fi market as the industry self-regulates more to prevent hurting customer service by, for example, stepping on each others frequencies in public outlets like airports.
“At this moment, GPRS service is priced higher than Wi-Fi, where as the speed is lower. [It requires] a mindset change in mobile operators. [Going online] should be as simple as making a phone call.”
Eric Griffith is the managing editor of 802.11 Planet.