Fast & Low: xG's Broadband Play

Wireless broadband startup xG Technology LLC is planning to introduce VOIP products and horn into the enterprise market with a long-range point-to-point link by the end in the next few months.

The Sarasota, Fla.-based startup is still a little cagey about how its technology works. It promises something as fast as 40 Mbit/s in metropolitan areas using sub-GHz frequencies, which require less power for transmission than WiMax or WiFi, and at least until now, have not been seen as suitable for broadband applications.

It won't be long, however, until users get to test the products themselves.

According to xG's CEO Rick Mooers, the firm is working with contract manufacturers to put its chipset into a wireless broadband point-to-point link for enterprise applications. This "Ethernet extender" will have a range of about 20 miles over point-to-point links.

The company plans to follow this in August with a sub-GHz xG base station that has a range of about a 1,000 square miles, according to Mooers, and a handset that works with the xG network and WiFi hotspots.

"This will be true VOIP, like you would get in an office environment," he tells Unstrung.

Existing wireless broadband users are aware of this new wireless technology but, naturally, are reserving judgment until the products are actually on the market.

"Yes, I'll most likely try it," reckons Jeff Blank, supervisor of networking for the Allegany County Board of Supervisors in Maryland, who says that the county now broadcasts just about every kind of data over its existing wireless broadband connection.

"But I'm a believe-it-when-you-see-it kind of guy," he adds. "So I'll wait for an evaluation unit to pass judgement."

Blank could be just the kind of user, however, that xG is looking for. The startup's CEO says that it plans to sell the $10,000 base station to the many local wireless ISPs dotted round the country.

Mooers envisages them using one base station to start VOIP services and then adding more as demand requires.

This kind of localized, grassroots approach could take the firm directly into competition with WiFi metromesh and WiMax vendors looking to sell products to cities, counties and regional ISPs.

The CEO, however, clearly isn't thinking about larger scale deployments yet. Unstrung asked him how many units it might take to unwire, say, a whole country.

"I haven't even mapped that out yet," he replied.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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