Wireless Interactive Covers All Its Bases

By Jeff Goldman

April 28, 2009

From its humble beginnings in a garage, California-based wireless equipment provider, Wireless Interactive, now makes everything from high-power radios to customized cable assemblies and has clients worldwide.

Wireless Interactive Communications, Inc. was founded in 2003 by company president Michael Avramidis. "We recognized that the wireless industry was fairly crowded—and not only was it crowded, but it was ever-evolving," he says. "It seemed like every one or two years there was a new technology coming out."

And so, Avramidis says, he decided to focus the new company specifically on wireless accessories. "RF cables aren't going to change; Cat 5 cables aren't going to change," he says. "So we originated, in my garage at home, building RF and Cat 5 cables."

Still, the company soon began building radios, as well. "We started getting involved in building our own wireless 802.11b/g products—and now we're building a/b/g products," he says. "One of the things that differentiates us from other players in the market is the fact that we're actually doing all the assembly and part manufacturing here in-house, in California."

Avramidis says about 85 percent of Wireless Interactive's radio business currently comes from overseas, particularly from Iraq, where the fact that the radios are made in the U.S. gives the company a key advantage. "When the Iraq market opened up, we decided to enter that market simply because the way the laws work there now, if Iraqis purchase American products, it's much easier to send cash over," he says.

Products and pricing

The company's radio products include the Orion 400 MHz and 900 MHz, Apollo 2.4 GHz, Halo 802.11a, and RedFire 802.11b/g radios. "[Last fall we] introduced the new RedFire Max, which I believe is the world's first 3 Watt 802.11b/g radio…and that is specifically sold into the international markets," Avramidis says. "We created that because our customer in Iraq wanted something more high-power."

While Wireless Interactive's radio business is focused overseas, Avramidis says the majority of the company's cable assemblies are sold within the United States. "We do maybe 150 to 200 cables a day," he says. "We build them all here. We use Times Microwave cable on the RF side and Belden cable on the Cat 5 side," he says.

Customization and pricing, Avramidis says, are two key differentiators. "We don't restrict our customers to just getting a one-footer or a two-footer," he says. "If they want a one-and-a-half-footer, they can buy that from us, we can build it, and we can ship it the same day. And we also brag on our price—our pigtails start as low as five dollars—and all that stuff is built here, tested here, and swept as well."

For the radios, though, Avramidis says the company doesn't try to use pricing as a differentiator. "The 802.11 market is very saturated right now, and we know that prices are dropping considerably in that market, so our prices tend to be a little bit on the higher side when you compare our product to a standard 802.11b product," he says.

Functionality and flexibility

Instead, Avramidis says, the company focuses on functionality. "On our enclosure, we have a GORE-TEX membrane vent, which allows the radio to neutralize pressure if it's going up or down in altitude," he says. "We also have an earphone audible port—you plug an earphone into the enclosure, and the RSSI of the radio is translated into an audible tone… to allow the user to align an antenna using standard earphones."

The WISPs and distributors that buy from Wireless Interactive, Avramidis says, come to the company both because its products are made in the U.S. and because of the diversity of products available. "There's no need to deal with several types of manufacturers—you come to us, we have a support department here that can take care of all your needs, and we do all the repairs here in-house as well," he says.

Looking ahead, Avramidis says the company is eager to build radios for the coming white space market, but isn't looking at WiMAX for now. "The type of customer that we go after internationally is not necessarily asking for WiMAX products—there just hasn't been a demand put upon us for that—but that could very well change in the future," he says.

In general, Avramidis says, Wireless Interactive strives to respond quickly to customer requests. "We had a specific request by a customer for this, and now we've implemented it in all our products: a built-in heater, so as the temperature gets cold, the heater clicks on," he says. "And that's something you won't find in other products. So if a potential customer wants to work with a company that has that sort of flexibility, then we're one of the ones to go to."

Article courtesy of ISP-Planet.

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