BelAir Buffs Up
BelAir, which has thus far been a major proponent of multi-radio mesh systems, added a single-radio outdoor "BelAir50c" mesh unit after working with cities like Philadephia to provide metro WiFi coverage "at the lowest possible expense," says Phil Belanger, VP of marketing. The intent, he says, is to allow users to "mix and match to fundamentally make it match the budget."
All the same, BelAir still says that the 50c is designed for small mesh clusters at the edge of a multi-radio network. "It's not useful for something more than 10 nodes," says Belanger.
BelAir has a 15-square-mile trial in Philadelphia. The city is expected to announce the winner of its metro WiFi contract in July, although most people that Unstrung has spoken to say that deadline could slip.
Meanwhile, the firm has introduced the BelView Network Management System (NMS) graphical management tool that allows administrators to configure, monitor, and manage a BelAir network down to the individual radio node.
As well as cheaper hardware, ease-of-management seems likely to be an increasingly big issue for the metro players as customers actually roll out larger networks.
And, like rival Tropos Networks, BelAir is looking beyond wireless LAN for mesh networking backhaul offerings (see WiFi Goes WiMax). "Towards the end of the year we're going to migrate to WiMax," says Belanger. "We'll have a WiMax backhaul radio module available by the end of the year."
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung