& cplSiteName &

Proxim Mashes Mesh, WiMax

Light Reading
LR Mobile News Analysis
Light Reading
2/5/2007
50%
50%

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
From The Founder
Light Reading sits down at CES with the head of Cisco's service provider video business, Conrad Clemson, to discuss how NFV and cloud security relate to video, the challenge of managing 4K/8K traffic, the global expansion of Netflix and virtual reality.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
LRTV Documentaries
All Change in Video

2|11|16   |   33:12   |   (1) comment


At this moderated panel at 2020 Vision in Dublin, Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader of Light Reading, sits down with Jeff Finkelstein, director of network architecture at Cox Communications, to discuss the rapidly changing video market.
LRTV Custom TV
Hosting in Ireland, Past & Present

2|10|16   |   16:07   |   (0) comments


Garry Connolly, president of Host in Ireland, presents the keynote at Light Reading's 2020 Vision Executive Summit in Dublin.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
What's Hot in Mobile Commerce?

2|10|16   |   12:18   |   (1) comment


Claire Maslen, financial services relationship manager at the GSMA, talks about the development of the digital commerce sector and the types of relationships that mobile operators are developing to further their m-commerce strategies.
LRTV Documentaries
EANTC Tests Nokia IP Routing & Mobile Gateway VNFs for Real World Deployment

2|9|16   |   5:08   |   (1) comment


Nokia obtained validation of its virtualized router and virtualized mobile gateway capabilities through rigorous testing performed by EANTC. The results set a new industry benchmark for outstanding performance, scalability, resiliency and manageability. Nokia VNFs are ready for telco cloud deployment, so that service providers can accelerate mobile, business and ...
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Level 3's Jack Waters

2|8|16   |   26:15   |   (1) comment


Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders sits down with Level 3 Communications' CTO Jack Waters to discuss hot topics like virtualization, 4K and the future of telecom...
LRTV Custom TV
The Composable Telco

2|8|16   |   24:46   |   (0) comments


Heavy Reading's Principal Analyst Caroline Chappell presents the keynote at Light Reading's 2020 Vision Executive Summit in Dublin.
LRTV Custom TV
Join Us at the Digital Operations Transformation Summit

2|4|16   |   03:52   |   (0) comments


The Digital Operations Transformation Summit on February 21, 2016 at the Crowne Plaza Barcelona Fira Centre will bring together 50 senior executives to engage in a unique debate on the opportunities and challenges presented by the transformative evolving digital landscape. RSVP now at events@lightreading.com.
LRTV Custom TV
Making the Test: ADVA Ensemble Connector vs. Open vSwitch

2|4|16   |   01:28   |   (0) comments


Light Reading, in partnership with EANTC, recently tested ADVA's Ensemble Connector, which replaces open vSwitch and offers carrier-grade capability and interoperability. The test results strengthen ADVA's credibility as a provider in the virtualization space.
LRTV Custom TV
Bridging the Gap Between PoCs & Deployment in NFV

2|4|16   |   31:50   |   (0) comments


Charlie Ashton of Wind River presents the keynote at Light Reading's 2020 Vision executive summit in Dublin.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Mike Aquino

2|3|16   |   17:34   |   (0) comments


The former CEO of Overture Networks, Mike Aquino, discusses why truly open virtualization solutions provide service providers with the greatest choice.
Shades of Ray
MWC: Buckle Up for 5G & the IIoT

2|2|16   |   02:28   |   (0) comments


This year's Mobile World Congress looks set to be a 5G land grab and a chance to get down and dirty with the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) – but what will the 5G discussions actually be about?
LRTV Custom TV
Case Study: Building China's Next-Gen TV Networks

2|2|16   |   5:01   |   (0) comments


With over 2 billion viewers worldwide, Shenzhen Media Group is one of China's largest content producers. By partnering with Huawei and Sobey, SZMG was able to modernize media operations with the Converged News Center, a production studio that is a model for next-generation workflows.
Upcoming Live Events
March 10, 2016, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 5, 2016, The Ritz Carlton, Charlotte, NC
May 23, 2016, Austin, TX
May 24-25, 2016, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Hot Topics
Google's 5G Radio Ambitions Are Expanding
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 2/5/2016
Cincinnati Bell Joins Weight Watchers Club
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 2/5/2016
Yahoo & Verizon Sitting in a Tree...
Brian Santo, Senior editor, Test & Measurement / Components, Light Reading, 2/8/2016
Vodafone: Flexible Work Policies Boost Profits
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 2/8/2016
It's Time to Integrate OTT Video
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 2/8/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders sits down with Level 3 Communications' CTO Jack Waters to discuss hot topics like virtualization, 4K and the future of telecom...
The former CEO of Overture Networks, Mike Aquino, discusses why truly open virtualization solutions provide service providers with the greatest choice.
Animals with Phones
Retro Is the Way to Be Click Here
Some animals are too cute for smartphones.
Live Digital Audio

Broadband speeds are ramping up across Europe as the continent, at its own pace, follows North America towards a gigabit society. But there are many steps to take on the road to gigabit broadband availability and a number of technology options that can meet the various requirements of Europe’s high-speed fixed broadband network operators. During this radio show we will look at some of the catalysts for broadband network investments and examine the menu of technology options on offer, including vectoring and G.fast for copper plant evolution and the various deployment possibilities for FTTH/B.