Orthogon Raises $7M

Orthogon Systems (nee PipingHot Networks) scores $7M; names chairman; opens office in the US; and announces its NLOS wireless Ethernet bridge. Busy day!

June 30, 2003

6 Min Read

WALTHAM, Mass. and ASHBURTON, U.K. -- Orthogon Systems, an innovative company providing deep non-line-of-sight (NLOS) wireless technology for broadband networks, announced today that it has secured $7 million in venture capital from Atlas Venture and The Carlyle Group, bringing total funds raised to $28 million. The funding will be used for the sales, marketing and ongoing development of Orthogon’s market leading OS-Gemini broadband wireless Ethernet bridge for reliable, wireless point-to-point connection of private networks (see related announcement). In addition, Orthogon has announced the appointment of Gerald Wesel as the company’s Chairman of the Board; and the opening of its sales and marketing operations in the United States.

“This funding puts Orthogon in a strong position to push forward with sales on a global basis, with a focus on the U.S. market,” said Phil Bolt, president and CEO of Orthogon Systems. “We are delighted with the progress of our product development and initial customer field deployments, and appreciate our investors’ ongoing support.”

Orthogon Systems has developed a technology leadership position in point-to-point NLOS, with a product that can maintain exceptional link availability equivalent to or better than carrier class wireline systems. The Orthogon OS-Gemini platform operates in the unlicensed 5.8GHz band and is simple to install, configure and manage. It delivers fast payback to enterprise customers, including corporations, municipalities, universities and hospitals, as well as wireless ISPs.

“The availability of reliable non-line-of-sight broadband wireless connectivity opens up the market to tremendous growth, and The Carlyle Group consequently sees Orthogon as a very promising investment opportunity,” said Vladimir Lasocki, Associate Director at The Carlyle Group in London. “With exceptional technology, shipping product and a team with unequalled experience in RF and wireless technology, Orthogon is well positioned to take an early lead in this market.”

In conjunction with its new round of funding, Orthogon Systems has appointed Gerald Wesel as Chairman of the Board and Ken Dubuque as Vice President of Worldwide Sales.

Wesel has significant experience moving network technology companies from development to commercialization stages. Most recently, he was CEO of Crescent Networks and prior to that Founder and Vice President of Sales/Business Development at Agile Networks. Agile Networks was Lucent Technologies’ first acquisition in 1999.

“The addition of Gerald Wesel as Chairman marks an important milestone for Orthogon Systems as it enters the U.S. market,” said Graham O’Keeffe, Senior Principal and partner at Atlas Venture. “His experience in building winning management teams, and creating organizations to efficiently ship large volumes of product will contribute greatly to the Orthogon business plan. We are thrilled to have him on the board.”

Sales and channel marketing operations will be lead by Ken Dubuque, Vice President of Worldwide Sales. Prior to joining Orthogon Systems, Ken was Director of Channel Sales for Proxim Corporation, a leading networking company focused exclusively on indoor and outdoor wireless systems.In a separate release:

Orthogon Systems™ announced today the general availability of its OS-Gemini solution, an intelligent broadband wireless Ethernet bridge that offers true non-line-of-sight (NLOS) coverage in the license-exempt 5.8GHz ISM band. The system provides a secure point-to-point broadband link to connect separate networks for up to six miles where obstacles such as trees and buildings prevent a direct line-of-sight connection. The OS-Gemini platform is currently in NLOS trial deployments, overcoming obstacles and terrain to connect where other wireless systems cannot. The company will be shipping product for revenue in July 2003 through a network of distributors and resellers.

“The adoption of point-to-point wireless broadband technology has been limited to clear line-of-sight deployments because reliable non-line-of-sight technology has not been available. By developing a unique technology that can reliably overcome obstacles and terrain, Orthogon is helping to enable a potentially enormous market,” said Phil Bolt, President and CEO of Orthogon Systems.

In its initial release, the OS-Gemini Wireless Ethernet Bridge delivers up to 23 Mbps of throughput and maintains exceptional link availability, up to 99.9999%, equivalent to or better than carrier class wireline systems. The platform is FCC certified, operates in the unlicensed 5.8GHz band and is easy to install, configure and manage. It delivers payback in less than 12 months to enterprise customers, including corporations, municipalities, universities and hospitals seeking to connect disparate networks; and to wireless ISPs seeking to backhaul data or cellular traffic.

Mobilcom Wireless Inc., a leading wireless broadband network provider and value-added reseller in Canada, plans to deploy the solution for several customers with challenging NLOS environments. “The demand for secure, economical and reliable broadband wireless systems is both significant and growing. The performance characteristics of the OS-Gemini product enable us to rapidly provision these systems in a manner that will exceed client expectations. The deep non-line-of-sight capabilities of the OS-Gemini make it ideal for deployment in both urban and rural environments.” said Brian Napier, Director of Market Development for Mobilcom. “Its demonstrated performance coupled with ease of installation has made the OS-Gemini our preferred network equipment to support several specific and immediate customer deployments.”

Winncom Technologies, a leading international value-added distributor of Wireless LAN / WAN, data networking infrastructure and VPN security solutions, also plans to distribute the OS-Gemini link.

The OS-Gemini employs a combination of innovative features that together enable its deep NLOS capabilities while maintaining high reliability and availability. These features include:

  • Multi-Beam Space-Time-Coding. NLOS connections are subject to massive fading. With multi-beam space-time-coding, several data beams are sent via multiple antennas and recombined by multiple receivers at the receiving end to combat the severe signal fading in an NLOS environment. This provides a reliable link, even in the toughest NLOS paths.

  • Best-in-Class Radio. With high power output, large antenna gain, low noise and low system loss, the software-defined radio is able to penetrate difficult NLOS paths. The 5.8GHz ISM band offers the optimum combination of broad, high power, unlicensed transmission with sufficient diffraction and reflection to enable reliable broadband connectivity.

  • Intelligent OFDM. NLOS connections are subject to significant channel dispersion because of the many separate signal paths taken around obstacles. The differing time delays can cause cross interference between the transmitted signals. Intelligent OFDM allows for instant de-modulation, enabling detection of signals even in harsh weather and terrain conditions.

  • Dynamic Frequency Selection. Upon installation, and continuously during operation, the OS-Gemini system monitors the complete band and automatically switches to the quietest set of frequencies. This ensures the high reliability and availability of the link. It also ensures that there is no interference to other users on the band.

  • Adaptive Modulation. The OS-Gemini platform dynamically chooses the most appropriate data modulation scheme, from BPSK to 64QAM based on the received signal quality. This ensures that the radio link is continually optimized over the radio path in spite of varying link conditions, therefore providing the maximum possible throughput at all times.

The OS-Gemini platform has a unique Advanced Air Interface that incorporates a proprietary data scrambling technique. The OS-Gemini acts as a transparent Ethernet bridge enabling customers to superimpose complete end-to-end network security solutions such as virtual private networks (VPN).

The OS-Gemini system is available through distributor and reseller channels, with announced agreements with Winncom Technologies and Mobilcom Wireless. List price for a complete OS-Gemini link is $11,995 USD.

Orthogon Systems

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