LR Names Finalists

This year some very agile private companies have emerged with products that tackle some of the biggest challenges in the telecom industry's next-generation network plans. Six of them were chosen as finalists in this year's Leading Lights Awards.

On awards night, the prize will go to the company that has developed a market-leading product that, through engineering and technical excellence, best enables the deployment of profitable next-gen telecommunications services.

The winner in this and all other Leading Lights Award categories will be announced at our Awards Dinner after The Light Reading Telecom Investment Conference in New York City on December 14.

Here are the selections for Best New Product, Private Company, listed in alphabetical order:

  • Airgo Networks Inc.'s AGN300 802.11 a/b/g True MIMO 240-Mbit/s Wireless Chipset:

    Airgo is the undisputed speed king of wireless LAN. The company has pioneered high-speed 802.11 chipsets using multiple input, multiple output (MIMO) technology in 2004. (See Airgo Starts WLAN Chip Race .) The firm’s latest cut of its silicon, which was announced in September, offers data transfer rates of up to 240 Mbit/s and offers average throughput of around 120 Mbit/s. That leaves the maximum 54 Mbit/s offered by today’s standard 802.11g chipsets in the dust. (See Airgo Speeds WLAN.) The firm has also rounded out its product with cheaper chips for the SOHO market this year. (See AirGo's SOHO Go-Go.)

  • BigBand Networks Inc.'s BigBand Edge Modulation for Telecom:

    BigBand is part of a relatively small group of companies that brought digital video processing to the edge of cable networks. By doing so, the company says it has learned what it takes to deliver reliable video service to real paying customers, and it hopes to parley that experience into success in the telco world. (See BigBand Gets Advanced Over IPTV and BigBand Brings Video to FTTP.)

    The Edge Modulation is a special card that sits inside its Broadband Modulation Router (BMR). The card allows the device to perform such video processing functions as program grooming, local content splicing, transport edge de-jittering, redundancy switching, analog derivation, and modulation. (See BigBand Names IPTV Head.)

    The company says the Edge Modulation product is being embraced by telcos, and is now in its initial commercial deployments. These deployments include one at SureWest Communications (Nasdaq: SURW) and one at another soon-to-be-announced Tier 1 telco, BigBand says. (See BigBand Plays for a Telco Tier 1 .)

  • Entone Technologies Inc.'s Hydra:

    Entone this year identified one of the biggest pain points in the delivery of IPTV service – equipping the household to deliver IP video to all TVs in the house. (See Carriers Claim IPTV Wiring Worries .) The cost of the truck roll, labor, and CAT-5 to rewire the house for IPTV is very expensive and could make customers regret their switch to telco TV.

    Entone's multi-television IP Video Gateway, called the Hydra, takes the innovative approach of utilizing the co-ax cable that’s already in the house. It supports up to three simultaneous television streams as well as broadband Internet access. (See Expect More IPTV M&A.)

    So far, Entone doesn't have the installed base that its competitor 2Wire enjoys, but its much newer product is landing in service provider networks, with more than 20,000 Hydras deployed so far.

  • NexTone Communications Inc.'s IMX (IP Multimedia Exchange) Platform:

    In the midst of a session border controller market in danger of extinction as gateways and routers threaten to subsume the functionality, NexTone has deftly retooled its product for a vital role in the IMS architectures of tomorrow. (See NexTone Dials Up $35M More.) NexTone’s IMX platform operates at the network edge, but has been imbued with certain call session control functionality (CSCF) that allows subscribers to roam across various wireless and wireline networks with no break in call sessions. The product also can control bandwidth usage, call rate, and call capacity at the network edge, the company says. (See NexTone Gets Khan.) NexTone says its product is now in trials at four European carriers and is expected to become generally available in the first quarter of 2006.

  • Ruckus Wireless Inc.'s Wireless Multimedia System:

    Startup Ruckus wants to be the wireless enabler for triple-play services. The firm has developed a carrier-oriented access point that pumps high-speed wireless streams into the home using a standard WiFi chipset juiced up by a multi-antenna transceiver (See Ruckus: Causin' a Commotion?.)

    The firm’s first major customer is PCCW Ltd. (NYSE: PCW; Hong Kong: 0008). Ruckus is led by tech luminary Selina Lo and has so far garnered more than $14 million in funding.

  • Tropos Networks' Tropos MetroMesh Tools:

    Tropos is one of the engines behind the explosion of metro-scale WiFi mesh networks around the world. The firm launched new MetroMesh routers this April, which – along with its updated OS and management software – the company says offers cost savings over the competitors and increased capacity over its previous products. The firm’s emphasis on keeping the costs down has won it numerous deals from budget-conscious municipalities. Tropos is supplying a mesh kit for the high-profile citywide 802.11 network in Philadelphia and claims to have over 200 more customers on its books. (See The Philadelphia Experiment.)

    Tropos has so far scored around $40 million in funding.

    — The Staff, Light Reading

  • For more information on the Leading Lights Awards, click here.

  • For more information on The Light Reading Telecom Investment Conference, click here.

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