Strix, Others Offer New Equipment

While products from Ruckus Wireless, PePWave (formerly PePLink) and others do their job of extending a metro-size mesh network into homes, that’s not an option all the mesh providers want to ignore. Enter Strix Systems today, with the announcement of the Access/One(R) Network Edge Wireless System 150 (EWS 150), a high-power unit that will serve as Strix’s customer premises unit (CPE).

“It’s specifically designed for people constantly having trouble connecting [to the mesh] on the laptop,” says Kirby Russell, the company’s director of product marketing.

The difference here doesn’t have anything to do with software or the mesh itself, but power: the EWS 150 runs at 400mW, about four times that of the average laptop’s Wi-Fi connection.

“We’re following the lead of customers, who demand something inexpensive that doesn’t need two radios,” says Russell, referring to the Strix EWS 100, the company’s previous edge unit which supports both 802.11b and 11a. He expects carriers and distributors to offer this mainly to residential end users at a price of around $159.

In a somewhat incomprehensible move, Russell says the encrypted link to the mesh uses only WEP (wired equivalent privacy) encryption, the most notoriously broken security available; support for something more advanced like Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) may come in response to customer demand.

Also new in the mesh world:

Last week, ArrowSpan announced the outdoor MeshAP 3100 unit, which it claims is the “fastest mesh network in the market, achieving 30 Mbps at the fifth hop,” at least in their own TCP tests. The MeshAP uses 802.11g for client connections and has dual 802.11a radios for backhaul, with a power boost of 200mW to the signal. The 3100 should be available this month.

Tranzeo Wireless introduced a new dual-radio outdoor mesh router, the EnRoute500. They also use the 11a radio on the mesh backhaul and the 11b/g on the client side, using technology from Sensoria Corp., which Tranzeo bought in February — including the WirelessFabric network software. Sensoria got into mesh back in January 2005; its previous version of the 500 was announced later that year.

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