Junxion's Cell Through
It's a trend that you can see over and over in the marketplace. The rush to deliver high-speed, "pre-802.11n" WiFi and WiMax broadband products -- arguably before the kit was really ready -- being just a couple of the most recent examples.
There are also companies, however, that are offering real, if unorthodox, solutions on the oozing edge. In this regard, Seattle-based startup Junxion Inc. is worth noting. The startup has released an enterprise infrastructure product, called the Junxion Box, which takes a connection from a cellular network and shares it amongst other devices using WiFi or Ethernet connections.
Junxion, which was started in September 2004 out of the ashes of wireless data operator Monet Mobile Networks, has been certified by both Cingular Wireless and Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) for enterprise applications. The firm has also just scored an undisclosed amount of funding from Trilogy Equity Partners, a VC house with a long history of funding pioneer cellular companies.
Much of the chatter around the Junxion box has focused on its capabilities to enable users to set up mobile hotspots that can be used to get WiFi connections -- even when there is no wired network to connect the access point to.
John Daly, Junxion co-founder and VP of business development, thinks this is too narrow a focus, however. "The largest market opportunities for us do not involve WiFi at all," he tells Unstrung. Rather, the Junxion kit will be used by carriers for distinctly unsexy applications such as land-line replacement and failover along with telemetry.
The box is already being used for some other novel applications, such as allowing bus passengers to get connected while they are onboard. High-profile companies like Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) and Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) have had the box installed on their employee shuttles so that their peons can access email and other applications to and from work. Daly says that 20 transit companies are also using the box.
Corbin Gerard, principal at reseller Mobile ID Solutions, installed the Junxion box as part of a transit system for Yahoo. He says that the bandwidth offered over 3G cellular networks is prefectly adequate for the simple applications users want it for.
"For downloading email and a few Web pages it's fine, and some of these buses have 30 or 40 people on them," says Gerard.
Some common courtesy is required, though: "They know they can’t download 'Star Wars' because that would spoil it for everyone else," says Junxion's Daly.
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung