LightSquared's First Device: SuperMiFi

LTE upstart LightSquared may be planning a MiFi-like device that offers better coverage and range than any personal hotspot yet seen for its upcoming network. (See LightSquared Names LTE Suppliers.)

The company is rumored to be working with UK-based company Deltenna Ltd. on a long-range WiFi hotspot that would connect to its LTE network. Deltenna's product is described as "MiFi on steroids" by a person familiar with the company.

Deltenna has been selling a 3G version of its WiBE (Wireless Broadband Enabler) as a mobile broadband extender that can improve rural coverage with speeds faster than ADSL. According to its datasheet, the WiBE uses directional beam-forming and interference rejection, combined with high-gain 802.11 WiFi antennas to offer a "no-configuration" connection to users at an average of 2Mbit/s downstream.

Combining souped-up WiFi with LTE could obviously significantly increase those data rates.

MiFi, whether on steroids or just this morning's burnt coffee, could prove to be something of a lifesaver for LightSquared anyway. Personal hotspots or even devices that cover a wider area with WiFi address the problem of how to disseminate LTE when there aren't a vast swathe of devices that support LTE -- in its many radio band variants -- available.

Like Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR) has found, the easy availability of WiFi in many devices, combined with a single fast broadband connection, can make it much easier for users to get a variety of devices on a "4G" network. (See In Praise of Pocketspots.)

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

joset01 12/5/2012 | 4:20:29 PM
re: LightSquared's First Device: SuperMiFi

Given their network I think they have to examining all kinds of ways of combining WiFi outputs with an LTE signal.

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