Meshing Up the Outdoors

By Eric Griffith

May 06, 2004

FireTide is making a ruggedized version of its mesh router to create hotzones, and continues to forge partnerships to advance its sales.

This week, mesh networking equipment maker Firetide , which has offices in California and Hawaii, announced its new product, the HotPoint 1000R for use in deploying outdoor networks.

The USD$1999 unit is something customers of their indoor HotPoint unit were asking for, according to Sunil Dhar, director of product management at FireTide. The software functionality is the same on both, but the 1000R comes in a ruggedized, weather-proof NEMA enclusure that can be mounted on a building or pole.

The HotPoint line provides the mesh for backhaul of signals to the Internet or larger main network, but differentiates itself by working with any off the shelf Wi-Fi access point to provide the signal used by end-users. The same is true of the outdoor HotPoint, where Dhar says "the AP would have to be external to the [HotPoint] box." The HotPoint can run on Power over Ethernet (PoE) and in turn provides PoE to the AP as needed. The mesh range goes up to about 2 miles depending on the speed of the link.

The 1000R can also be hooked up to IP cameras and use for surveillance.

FireTide also announced another co-marketing partnership, this time with OSS provider Pronto Networks. Firetide won't be integrating OSS into its products, but the hardware has been tested by Pronto and found fully compatible with their networks. FireTide already has relationships with Airpath, which provides roaming management services for hotspots, and with Cranite Systems for security features. The combination of announcements has Firetide poised to provide equipment to create hotzones with as little installation hassle as possible.

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