WiDeFi to Demo WLAN Range Extenders

WiDeFi, of Satellite Beach, Fla., plans to announce two new customer wins and the availability of its WLAN range extension products at this week’s 802.11 Planet Conference and Expo in Boston.

Andrew Germano, vice president of sales and marketing at WiDeFi, said the company has signed a memorandum of understanding with Santa Clara, Calif.-based SOHOware. Under the joint marketing agreement, SOHOware will sell WiDeFi’s WLAN Xtender as a complement to its 802.11 multimedia gateway.

The Xtender is a repeater that operates on multiple frequency channels. Germano said it doubles the range of 802.11 wireless networks and has zero jitter, making it a good candidate for high Quality of Service (QoS) applications such as voice-over-Wi-Fi and HDTV.

The Xtender comes in two versions: indoor and outdoor. SOHOware will offer the indoor, or residential product.

WiDeFi has also extended an existing joint development agreement with Korean engineering company Dae Sung New Technology (DSNT). The original deal called for the companies to work on a new packet repeater that would extend the range of WLANs at one quarter the cost and twice the data rate of existing 802.11-based range extension products.

The companies now plan to work together to commercialize the technology. Germano said DSNT will sell the outdoor version of WiDeFi’s Xtender product, the HotSpot Xtender (HSX), to wireless carriers in Korea such as SK Telecom and Korea Telecom.

The HSX is designed to extend the coverage area of hotspots, and thus the area of service for revenue generation for hotspot operators. Germano said the HSX is 50 times less expensive and simpler to install than leasing a T1 line and installing cables to extend hotspots using a central router with additional access points.

Hotspots are popping up everywhere, but Germano noted that hotspots are especially hot in Korea. “There’s 6,000 hotspots in the U.S., 5,000 over in Europe, and there’s already 17,000 hotspots in Korea. Obviously Korea is nowhere near the size of the U.S. or Europe, but they’ve got more hotspots than both combined.”

WiDeFi will be demonstrating both products at the show, as well as another outdoor version of the WLAN Xtender, the Point to Point Xtender (P2PX). The P2PX is designed to be a relatively low cost, high performance addition to wireless hotspots and point to point applications, Germano said. It regenerates wireless signals without requiring expensive demodulation and routing hardware.

“It’s probably less than half the cost of a traditional bridging access point. You don’t have to go in and change the software as 802.11 evolves and you don’t have to supply backhaul to it. There’s no routing function; you just apply power. You can stick it on the side of a building or on a board or on a lightpole, and it takes the signal in and repeats it along its way.”

Germano said the company expects to have samples available of the products at the end of August, with production beginning by November. Products will ship by the end of the year, he said.

The price targets for the products are $99 for the indoor WLAN Xtender and $250-$300 for the outdoor, commercial version.

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