Proxim Previews Pre-WiMax Gear

By Ed Sutherland

November 01, 2004

No stranger to long distance Wi-Fi, Proxim's latest Tsunami updates are meant to take on the other existing outdoor long-range wireless products using the 5GHz band.

Wi-Fi networking device maker Proxim Corporation Monday announced updated versions of its popular Tsunami line of broadband gear aimed at the surging demand for WiMax and voice over Wi-Fi.

While actual WiMax Certified equipment is not expected to hit the market until the second half of 2005, Proxim is announcing a hardware and software combination targeting the markets most interested in deploying the high-speed, long distance wireless solution.

The new Tsunami MP.11 Model 5054-R broadband wireless hardware is ruggedized for outdoor use, while the company's broadband software is built from the ground up with an eye on WiMax applications.

Public safety, security, last mile connections and metro area networks are just some of the possible uses of WiMax.

"We can enable these applications now, while providing a common software foundation that can evolve with the WiMax standards as they are finalized," says Lynn Lucas, vice president of product marketing for Proxim.

The Tsunami MP.11 Model 5054-R is designed for the rough extremes of weather that the hardware encounters. Key features include a ruggedized enclosure, along with active heating and cooling technology.

The device "delivers immediate benefits in the form of larger subscriber coverage areas and lower recurring lease costs," according to a prepared statement.

The Tsunami system is able to operate on three 5 GHz channels: 5.25, 5.47 and 5.725.

On the software side, Proxim's Tsunami Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) "enables WiMax applications today and provides a clear migration to WiMax Forum Certified status for the future," according to the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company.

Proxim calls the features included in its broadband software "purpose-built from the ground up to support WiMax applications such as public safety, security and surveillance, last mile access and metro networking applications now."

With wireless Internet Service Providers in mind, the Tsunami software provides "flexible bandwidth provisioning and control" for DSL, T1 and Ethernet-like tiered services, along with IP-based storage and e-mail hosting.

The Tsunami software enables mobile roaming at speeds up to 125 miles per hour. First responders and other emergency workers have long deemed high-speed communications a necessary requirement for any wireless network.

"Subscriber units can be placed on moving vehicles, where they can roam between multiple base stations," according to Proxim. The company says ferry, airport or railway commuters could also view multiple video streams.

Proxim says its Wireless Outdoor Routing Protocol (WORP) allows Tsunami customers to "deploy [Tsunami] in dense metropolitan areas." Able to judge the network load, the software adjusts the system, preventing signal re-transmissions or changing packet size for the best performance.

The Tsunami software now released includes the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), and eliminates rogue transmissions or man-in-the-middle attacks, claims Proxim.

The Tsunami MP.11 Model 5054-R base station bundled with the Tsunami BWA software is available now for $1,199. The subscriber unit with Type-N connector is $999.

In its recent financial report, Proxim reported sales of the MP.11 rose 46 percent, providing the company with a large portion of its revenue.

With the MP.11 tapping into the demand for WiMax-like products, Proxim Monday also rolled out the Tsunami QuickBridge II Outdoor Bridge and the Tsunami.GX 32 and Tsunami.GX 90 point-to-point wireless Ethernet bridges.

The products "give customers a simple voice and data connectivity solution that eliminates the cost and delay associated with deploying traditional leased line and fiber-based solutions," according to Proxim.

The new bridges include integrated voice support extending "voice support across campus networks and beyond," says Lucas.

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