Proxim Unleashes Tsunami for MANs

By Vikki Lipset

August 04, 2003

The wireless networking specialist looks to expand its presence in metropolitan area networks with a new line of outdoor equipment that offers 54Mbps data rates.

Wireless networking equipment maker Proxim on Monday launched a new line of outdoor products designed for last-mile access and metropolitan area networking (MAN).

The new Tsunami MP.11a line, which is aimed at businesses and service providers, offers greater data rates and range than Proxim's current MP.11 equipment, as well as non line of sight (NLOS) capabilities for urban areas. The new point-to-multipoint system operates in the 5GHz unlicensed frequency band, allowing for data rates up to 54Mbps, and uses channel bonding for additional range, according to Rob Jansen, a product marketing manager at Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Proxim. Each base station can serve 100 subscriber units, with a 30Mbps effective bandwidth per channel.

The 5GHz band provides more bandwidth for applications, Jansen said, allowing for nine non-overlapping channels under FCC regulations compared with three in the 2.4GHz band. For example, "if you're building a system, now you can do six sectors with six non-overlapping channels and still have three non-overlapping channels available for backhaul applications." The system's range is four miles to 32 miles, depending on the data rate, he said.

Since the MP.11a equipment operates in three separate 5GHz frequency bands -- 5.25 to 5.35, 5.47 to 5.725 (for use in Europe), and 5.725 to 5.850 -- Jansen suggests that service providers could also build a system that combines the Tsunami equipment with a Wi-Fi system and use different frequencies. "That was much more difficult in 2.4GHz," he said.

The gear uses orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) radio technology, which means that it doesn't require a direct line of sight between the base station and the subscriber unit. "This still doesn't mean that you can beam through a building," Jansen noted, but "in high density urban areas where you only have partial line of sight, OFDM and 5GHz are much more able to reuse the spectrum and use the reflection of the buildings in order to get certain distances."

In addition, the OFDM technology allows Proxim to sell the product in Europe, where OFDM modulation, Transmit Power Control and Dynamic Frequency Selection are required for use in the 5GHz band.

Like the MP.11 products, the new system uses Proxim's proprietary wireless outdoor router protocol (WORP) that optimizes the system for outdoor use. Jansen said WORP takes care of hidden node issues that can exist with Wi-Fi-based outdoor systems, and also prevents unauthorized access by Wi-Fi systems or clients.

Other features include AES encryption and asymmetric and symmetric bandwidth control, which Jansen said allows service providers to adjust send and receive data rates independently to differentiate services between business and residential customers.

In addition, the system features high receiver sensitivity and transmit power control. "Because of the higher ranges you get here, you reduce the total cost of ownership for the customer," Jansen said. "You can support many more customers in a wider area than you would normally have with other systems."

Finally, a suite of network management tools allows customers to manage systems remotely or from a central location.

The MP.11a family includes the base station unit for $1295, the Subscriber Unit (SU) for enterprises for $695 and the Residential Subscriber Unit (RSU) for $495. Jansen said he expects the street price on the RSU to be less than $400.

Proxim will ship the first MP.11a products on Tuesday, and should be shipping in volume by the middle of August, Jansen said.



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