Vivato Plays Outdoors
Phil Belanger, Vivato's VP of marketing, told Unstrung that both its indoor, enterprise-oriented box and the outdoor product, which it wants to sell to carriers building public hotspot networks, will be commercially available in June.
Both products are based on the 802.11b standard (11-Mbit/s over 2.4GHz), and offer improved security and management, claims Vivato (see Vivato's Switch Bitch for more on the startup's technology). They provide extended reach through the use of antenna technology and are intended to replace multiple access points. The outdoor unit has a range of four kilometers, while the indoor product covers a few hundred meters, which is a lot better than the 100m range of a standard 802.11b access point.
The outdoor unit costs $13,995, while the enterprise product is priced at $8,995. The difference in price is largely due to the tougher casing Vivato has used on the outdoor unit, which must be able to withstand the weather, guano, and the producers of guano (those pesky birds!). Both will support around 150 users, about three times as many as a standard 802.11b access point.
Belanger clearly sees the outdoor unit as a -- perhaps the -- crucial product for Vivato. "There's nobody else that is providing [802.11 coverage] over such a large area," he claims. "We've definitely had more demand for the outdoor module."
Intel Capital, which recently invested in Vivato, said it is mainly interested in the possibility of the outdoor box improving hotspot coverage for network operators (see Intel Itches for WLAN Switches).
However, Belanger claims Vivato will still try to stake a claim in the enterprise space, despite the fierce competition developing in that market (see WLAN Switch Shakeout Looms?). "There will be cases where the micro-cellular [multiple access point] architecture wins," he says. "But the bigger the interior space, the more it plays into our hands."
Vivato's first trial users are Cypress Communications Inc., which is testing the technology's suitability for providing in-building wireless broadband coverage, and Florida State University, presumably so it can provide 802.11 connectivity to techno-savvy alligators.
— Dan Jones, Senior Editor, Unstrung