Spectrum Analysis Meets Carrier-sized Site Survey

By Eric Griffith

December 05, 2006

EDX’s network planning tool will integrate interference data from Cognio’s Spectrum Expert.

The SignalMX tool from EDX, used in office site surveys or with a special add-on to handle big installations for carriers — and used by companies like Verizon and Cingular — will now integrate data collected by Cognio’s Spectrum Expert 3.0 for measuring interference.

The two companies started talking about eight months ago about what they’re seeing in the market, especially in outdoor deployments. “We began to see that networks using the unlicensed bands had a couple of key issues,” says William Flanagan, Cognio’s vice president of marketing. “First was interference. In the outdoors it’s different than inside.” SignalMX wouldn’t take interference into account, which could cause problems. He wouldn’t name names, but claims one municipality had to shell out a million dollars to fix an issue it had with wireless interference after the network was deployed.

“This was the first time we saw metropolitan deployments go unlicensed,” says Jennifer Duncan, executive director of Business Development & Strategy at EDX. “The engineers using our software were learning about the impact of the interference...learning as they go.”

“EDX was smart enough to start incorporating that, taking it into account, and that meant a better tool to solve these problems,” says Flanagan.  

Now raw data from Spectrum Expert running on a laptop is made available to SignalMX software. Together the products can specify the geographic location of an interferer and classify the interference type it emits. The software runs hypothetical scenarios for the network planners, helping them figure out a way around the interference, if such a work-around exists.

“We’ve seen people bid on city-wide RFIs or RFPs and they have to give an answer to how much area they can cover,” says Duncan. “Existing interference means they sweat that number. This combo delivers the ability to accurately get that information.

There won’t be a reseller agreement here — EDX won’t sell Spectrum Expert and Cognio won’t SignalMX— it’s a technology sharing agreement. Flanagan says the deal, “is 1+1=3 to the end users. It Makes a world of sense to get both.”

EDX is no stranger to Wi-Fi partnerships. It has deals with mesh equipment providers Firetide and Tropos, where it builds planning tools to indicate just how many access points from those vendors would be needed to provide coverage in a metropolitan deployment. The company also does WiMax network design using its SignalPro 6.1 software.

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