MeshNetworks Gets FCC Approval

By Eric Griffith

November 13, 2002

The company behind self-healing 802.11-based networking push has government approval to sell its products nationwide.

This week, the Federal Communications Commission gave MeshNetworks' long awaited MeshLAN multi-hoping 802.11 network products full regulatory approval so the company can sell its technology nationwide.

"What we were doing was working under an experimental license," explains Rick Rotondo, VP of technical marketing at MeshNetworks. "We could do trials and demos but we couldn't sell it. To sell radio equipment in the US, it has to pass the FCC tests for emissions, interference, all sorts of stuff. Every frequency band has requirements. Since we're in Part 15, we had to pass all the requirements to operate and sell a device."

MeshNetworks has two technologies that can work in tandem or separately. The first is the Mesh Enabled Architecture (mea) mobile wireless broadband, which Rotondo calls a cousin to 802.11b but with a higher-performance radio. mea products are for wireless applications in vehicles and consumer electronics and utilize a proprietary military radio technology called quad-division multiple access (QDMA), originally developed by ITT Industries. Mea products approved by the FCC include the IAP6300 Intelligent Access Point and MWR6300 Wireless Router.

The 802.11b-based MeshLAN is software that turns what would be an ad-hoc network into a multi-hopping net with theoretically unlimited range if enough compatible clients are found. The company has coupled the software specifically with hardware products based on Intersil PRISM 2.5 and 3.0 chipsets, so they can get client systems up and running with minimal fuss -- FCC approval was on the hardware aspect of this coupling. The products approved include the MeshLAN Multi-Hopping 802.11b AP400 Access Point and WR400 Wireless Router.

The software is available to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) that want to add mesh networking. They will port the MeshLAN software to other chipsets for customers.

"We will sell this as long as there aren't OEMs doing it," says Rotondo. "As soon as the OEMs are doing it, we'll let them sell the hardware. Maybe we'll private label theirs and still sell it." Product pricing was not announced.

Eric Griffith is the managing editor of 802.11 Planet.

802.11 Planet Conference Wanna Mesh yourself? Join us at the 802.11 Planet Conference & Expo, Dec. 3-5 in Santa Clara, CA. Rick Rotondo of MeshNetworks will be there with a workshop on Leveraging Multi-Hopping and the Mesh Architecture in 802.11 Networks.

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