Motorola Renames, Broadens its Line of Mesh Nodes

Two new configurations join the company's dual-radio offering.

Motorola, Inc. Tuesday announced the expansion of its dual-radio Wi-Fi mesh networking offering with two new versions. The Schaumburg, Ill.-based company has also renamed the product line—formerly known as HotZone Duo—MOTOMESH Duo.

The original Duo unit, released a bit more than a year ago (in June of 2006), provided one radio running in the 2.4GHz band for Internet access over 802.11b and .11g and one in the 5.8GHz band, mainly for backhaul over 802.11a.

To this, Motorola now adds two new Duo configurations, combining the 2.4GHz band with 5.4GHz (the European Union's equivalent of the North American 5.8GHz band) in one instance, and with the 4.9GHz band (an unlicensed, but "co-ordinated" spectrum segment devoted primarily to public safety and similar applications) on the other.

Chip Yager, Director of Operations, Mesh Networking Products, observed "We've offered 4.9GHz systems in the past—full-featured, four-radio MOTOMESH systems that are metro-solutions-in-a-box. Offering 4.9 in a Duo solution—with dual meshing capabilities—is an advantage that nobody else has."

Dual meshing is a new feature built into the 2.4/4.9 MOTOMESH unit that gives it the ability to run two independent, single-radio mesh networks in parallel from a single access point. Each radio provides both access and backhaul capabilities.

"It greatly simplifies deployment and it's very value-based," Yager said. "You can get these systems up for a very low entry fee, and can offer public access with 2.4 support and a public safety solution at the same time."

The 2.4/5.4 Duo configuration "is really opening up the EU market for us," according to Yager. In North America, he expects significant uptake on the 2.4/4.9 configuration, as cities come around to new ways of thinking about the justification for universal wireless broadband backbones.

"The air has gone out of the balloon, to a certain extent, on the simple idea of free public access networks," he said. "Cities are thinking more in terms of simple RoI: If you have a wireless backbone available throughout the community, what are the applications and use cases you can utilize?"

Indeed, municipalities are routinely using their public networks for tasks like reading meters, controlling traffic lights, managing their parking facilities, issuing building permits, and scheduling building inspections, to name just a few.

Another, increasingly popular for public wireless is surveillance—of public open spaces, port facilities, and of high-crime area. Yager mentioned one MOTOMESH/video camera deployment in a high-crime neighborhood in Los Angeles. "Street crime dropped some 40 percent, before they even turned the cameras on," he said, "and it has stayed substantially lower since."

With the cost of equipment dropping and the ease and speed of deploying wireless mesh networks increasing, Yager sees municipal wireless as a tool that's here to stay.

This article was first published on WiFiPlanet.com.






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