& cplSiteName &

Proxim Mashes Mesh, WiMax

Light Reading
LR Mobile News Analysis
Light Reading

Blending today's WiFi technology for municipal wireless networks with tomorrow's, Proxim Wireless Corp. will debut later today a new hybrid multi-radio node that combines a meshed WiFi access point with a WiMax system that can both serve as backhaul for the WiFi mesh and provide network access to WiMax client devices.

The "MeshMax" line is "the industry's first integrated WiMax/mesh product," claims Geoffrey Smith, Proxim's vice partner for worldwide marketing and product management. "Everything else is just doing partnerships, with separate boxes."

While WiMax systems have long been used to provide backhaul for large-scale deployments of meshed WiFi networks -- indeed, that application has been seen as the first mover of the market for broadband wireless equipment based on the 802.16 standard -- the combination of mesh and WiMax equipment in a single, lamppost-mounted box is a logical next step for outdoor municipal networks.

"Service providers, municipalities, and other customers have been asking for a product that will simplify the process of deploying and managing both WiFi mesh and WiMax together," commented Pankaj Manglik, Proxim's president and COO, in a statement.

Nonetheless, the firm will face competition in the mesh and WiMax field, especially from Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT). While the Schaumburg, Ill.-based vendor does not have a combo 802.11/802.16 box yet, it does have a portfolio of WiFi and proprietary mesh products; WiMax infrastructure; and wireless broadband radio links.

While many industry observers have viewed WiFi, with its interference problems and the need for a high number of nodes in dense distributions, as a short-term technology fix for municipal applications, others believe that meshed WiFi and WiMax will coexist for many years to come.

"The convergence of WiMax and mesh is a natural evolution in broadband wireless, as it maximizes the strengths of both technologies," opines Daryl Schoolar, a senior analyst at In-Stat .

A subsidiary of publicly owned Terabeam Inc. (Nadsaq: TRBM), San Jose, Calif.-based Proxim is one of the veteran companies in the startup-filled WiFi/WiMax arena. The company has had a colorful history. Founded in 1983, Proxim was one of the early pioneers in the WiFi and home networking markets. In 2002, the company merged with broadband wireless firm Western Multiplex Corp., which then adopted the Proxim name. In June 2005 Proxim filed for bankruptcy, subsequently selling its assets to Terabeam for $28 million. Under Terabeam, Proxim has shifted its focus from wireless LAN equipment -- a market dominated by Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) -- to mesh networks and WiMax equipment. (See Terabeam Hopes to Bounce Ricochet, Proxim Faces D-Day, Proxim Sells Assets for $21M, and Terabeam Grabs Proxim's Assets.)

Earlier this month, the company won a high-profile contract to provide a mesh WiFi network at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), the world's largest particle physics laboratory. The MeshMax product is a clear attempt to differentiate Proxim products in the increasingly crowded market for municipal wireless network equipment.

"Mesh gateway products are connected to a backhaul solution for one of two reasons," explains Proxim's Smith. "Either the data access doesn't exist everywhere you need it, or what's available doesn't provide enough bandwidth to provide the services to clients that they're looking for."

The MeshMax device, he adds, solves both those problems. Replacing the separate WiMax subscriber unit and mesh gateway with a single integrated device, the node combines a Layer 2 switch, a WiMax node, and a dual-radio WiFi mesh access point. It will be upgradeable with a software add to 802.16e-based "mobile" WiMax when that standard is finally ratified. The result: networks that are easier to deploy, but offer the highest capacity per square mile of any current mesh system, according to the company.

"The need for backhaul coverage in mesh deployments, along with the desire for more cost-effective solutions for municipal deployments, are driving us to this integration," says Smith. "Both markets will be expanding dramatically over the next few years."

Indeed, according to research from Sky Light Research and the Dell'Oro Group , the combined WiMax/mesh access arenas could represent a $6 billion-plus market over the next three years. Whether this new combined solution will validate Proxim's refurbished strategy remains to be seen. Many observers see the field of WiFi and WiMax gear suppliers being winnowed dramatically over the next 12 to 18 months. (See What's Next for Tropos?)

Smith says the MeshMax product is currently in trials with "several major operators on several different continents," and he expects to announce actual deployments in the coming weeks. List price starts at $999 per node.

— Richard Martin, Senior Editor, Unstrung

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Light Reading’s Upskill U is a FREE, interactive, online educational resource that delivers must-have education on themes that relate to the overall business transformation taking place in the communications industry.
Wednesday, October 26, 1:00PM EDT
Security: Tackling DDoS
Gary Sockrider, Principal Security Technologist, Arbor Networks
Friday, October 28, 1:00PM EDT
Security: The Plusses and Minuses of Open Source Software
Nick Feamster, Acting Director, Center for Information Technology Policy, Princeton University
Wednesday, November 16, 1:00PM EST
SDN 101
John Isch, Practice Director, Network & Voice, Orange Business Services
Friday, November 18, 1:00PM EST
SDN & Open Source
Christopher W. Rice, Senior Vice President of AT&T Labs, Domain 2.0 Architecture and Design
in association with:
From The Founder
Light Reading today starts a new voyage as part of a larger Enterprise.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Custom TV
Next-Generation Technology Beyond DOCSIS 3.1

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

At SCTE 2016, Huawei's Liu Jianhua speaks with Alan Breznick for an exclusive interview.
LRTV Custom TV
Hybrid Video Solutions to Change TV, Change Future

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

At SCTE 2016, Huawei's Ian Locke speaks with Alan Breznick for an exclusive interview.
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei Future-Oriented Giga Coax Network

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

At SCTE 2016, Huawei's Allen Wang speaks with Alan Breznick for an exclusive interview.
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei at SCTE 2016

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

Join Alan Breznick of Light Reading and take a sneak peek at the Huawei booth at SCTE 2016.
LRTV Custom TV
Assuring Network Quality in a Rapidly Changing Environment

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

As the rate of change and complexity increases in agile networks, the importance of introducing DevOps methodologies for integrating active test and assurance solutions throughout the full service lifecycle becomes critical to ensure that customers are experiencing the service quality they demand. The industry landscape is changing, and software-based test and ...
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
A10 Networks on Service Providers' Industry Needs

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

Light Reading's Steve Saunders hears how A10 enables service providers to accelerate, secure and optimize their application delivery to drive down costs, enhance service availability, and better respond to customer requirements, so they can improve customer satisfaction, monetize their network, and grow revenues.
LRTV Custom TV
New NFV Use Cases for Cable TV

10|19|16   |     |   (0) comments

A large number of NFV use cases are focused on the enterprise domain, looking at virtualization of customer-premises equipment (CPE). To date, there has been little focus on the use cases and business case for virtualization of the video content delivery networks required to deliver unicast and streaming video to consumers. Amdocs commissioned Analysys Mason to ...
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Meet the Future Workforce: New Faces, Expectations & Motivations

10|19|16   |   5:33   |   (1) comment

Millennials and their younger peers, Gen Z, expect more out of their network and more out of their work. Intel's Lynn Comp shares how the industry can prepare for this new generation of workers.
LRTV Custom TV
ZTE Global Services User Congress 2016 Highlights

10|19|16   |     |   (0) comments

ZTE held its 2nd Global Service User Conference in Dusseldorf on October 13-14. Representatives from network operators, leading industry analysts and ZTE senior expertsattended the event, exploring the best practice in managed services and the vision to transform network operations into the operations center of the future (OpCF) in the software-defined networking ...
LRTV Custom TV
Cliff Grossner on Cloud & Network Synergy From Carrier Service

10|18|16   |     |   (0) comments

Local carriers offer the collaborated cloud and network service that benefits from their understanding of the regulations operating in different vertical markets.
In this interview, Cliff Grossner from IHS Technology talks about how this advanced service can support business agility and flexibility.
LRTV Custom TV
VeEX: Live from SCTE Cable-Tec Expo 2016

10|17|16   |     |   (0) comments

Cyrille Morelle, VeEX's President and CEO, talks with Light Reading's Alan Breznick live from the SCTE Cable-Tec Expo 2016. They discuss DOCSIS 3.1 technology, deployments and early lessons learned. New products on display include the CX350s-D3.1, CX380s-D3.1, CX310, AT2500-3G, FX150 OTDR and MTT WiFI Air Expert.
LRTV Custom TV
Smith Micro's Carrier-Grade WiFi Component

10|17|16   |     |   (0) comments

Join Carol Wilson of Light Reading as she interviews the CTO of Smith Micro, Dave Sperling.
Upcoming Live Events
November 3, 2016, The Montcalm Marble Arch, London
November 30, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 1, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York, NY
December 6-8, 2016, The Westin Excelsior, Rome
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Hot Topics
Verizon Wants More Data on Yahoo Breach
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 10/20/2016
Attacks Have Major Internet Sites on the Ropes
Brian Santo, Senior editor, Test & Measurement / Components, Light Reading, 10/21/2016
WiCipedia: Grace Hopper Promotes Diversity, Girl Scouts Code & How to Thrive
Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, 10/21/2016
Oh Snap! Qualcomm Unveils X50, Its First 5G Modem
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 10/17/2016
Telecom Italia Plots Digital 'Overlay,' Not Transformation
Iain Morris, News Editor, 10/17/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
There's no question that, come 2020, 5G technology will turn the world's conception of what mobile networking is on its head. Within the world of 5G development, Dr. ...
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

A vital part of increasing the number of women in comms is transforming the ways companies can support and empower women. While progressive company policies that support both men and women in achieving work-life balance are a step in the right direction, creating a company culture that supports those policies can at times be more challenging.

During this show, we'll talk to Lynn Comp, Senior Director of Industry and Sales Enabling (ISE) in the Network Platforms Group at Intel, about why those challenges exist and how companies can overcome them. She'll provide insight into how Intel has worked to create a culture that supports work-life balance, and provide steps and guidance for other companies wishing to do the same. We will also leave plenty of time to get your questions answered live on the air.