Emeryville, CA-based Pronto Networks has announced immediate availability of its Pronto Hotspot Networking System, an integrated hardware and software solution for fast creation of public access points.
The open architecture of the system means they can easily add new WLAN standards (Pronto’s system already supports 802.11b, 802.11a, and Bluetooth) or security (some changes would require a field upgrade with a change of radio card).
Fast and friendly installation is key to system. According to Pronto Networks’ CEO Jasbir Singh, the hardware is about 8×5 inches and looks like a DSL modem. He says, “You simply take the unit, plug it in, and add power (it has power over Ethernet if needed). No hard drive, no CD drive to fail in the field. It’s a true plug-and-play solution.”
The Hotspot Networking System is available now. Providers can buy the equipment they need or just the hardware managed remotely by Pronto Networks.
“We are like a back office…” says Singh. “Because it’s such a fragmented market, so many providers are so small, for them to go buy the complete product set which includes the gateways and server software may not be cost effective. So we say, install the gateways and we’ll manage them for you. We’re a totally behind the scenes operator. We provide complete customer service [for end users].”
Singh claims that use of its system could save hot spot operators 30-40% in operating expenses and 40-60% in capital expenditures compared to other products on the market because the system is plug-and-play for easy install and has remote management capability so no network engineer has to be onsite for configuration.
“You are looking at a deployment cost of less than $1500 per location, depending upon how many customers there are,” says Singh. The price is determined by the volume; it decreases as the volume of users goes up.
“We are talking about dropping the bar for access point providers from thousands of dollars to hundreds.”