The Tropos Two-Play Router

New router could boost capacity for city Wi-Fi networks.

Tropos Networks has beefed up its gear by releasing the first in a product family of routers to give growing number of municipalities more choices in citywide wireless access.

The Tropos 5320 MetroMesh dual-band Wi-Fi router is equipping wireless mesh networks being built in San Francisco, Philadelphia and New Orleans.

The router allows cities to tailor the amount of capacity and investment in mesh networking projects, according to Bert Williams, marketing director for Tropos, who said the networks are becoming very popular.

Unlike previous mesh routers, the 5320 employs two wireless radios with intelligent software better able to decrease interference and provide more options for cities, according to Tropos.

Typical two-radio routers designate a high-bandwidth 5GHz radio for backhaul.

While it enables a higher capacity, the 5GHz spectrum often faces interference from walls or leaves on a tree.

For that reason, the second mesh radio employs 2.4GHz, providing users a network connection that doesn't require line-of-sight to operate.

An enhanced MetroMesh operating system dynamically determines which band is best suited for a city.

A municipality could use 5GHz in areas where they need to increase capacity, but turn to 2.4 GHz in areas with fewer users, Williams told

Saar Gillai, vice president of engineering at Tropos, said in a statement that mesh vendors without significant outdoor deployment experience throw a bunch of radios in a box and think they're done.

The days of single-radio mesh network gear are over, agreed Roberta Wiggins of Yankee Group. While Tropos once had the lead, the market is getting more competitive with other companies quickly catching up, she said.

In-Stat analyst Daryl Schoolar said the new Tropos gear competes with Motorola (Quote, Chart), BelAir and Strix.

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