BelAir Embraces Multiple Radios
February 06, 2007
Just as some mesh builders move from one radio to two, BelAir says one and two are good, but check out four.
"Most of our competitors do mesh with single radio or dual radio products," Jim Freeze, vice president of marketing and alliances at Kanata, Ontario-based BelAir Networks.
Freeze says that's fine. One radio boxes (BelAir makes them too) can work on low usage edges of a deployment. Two radio boxes can be deployed closer in. But in the core, you want BelAir's multi radio box, with 1 radio for the access point and 3 for backhaul.
"This allows us to do what are essentially point to point links for backhaul that don't compete for bandwidth with the other links, and provide lower latency. We're delivering enormous capacity and performance, using 5 GHz for backhaul, with different channels for each radio."
Freeze says that BelAir's gone a step further. He says that other mesh vendors duplicate a significant amount of the traffic on the network by broadcasting it down more than one path to a backhaul.
"It's like the difference between an Ethernet hub and switch," Freeze says. "In the early days of Ethernet, you had hubs that broadcast to all the others. Then the switch was developed, and traffic went directly to its destination. This improved performance of networks dramatically."
Freeze says BelAir wants network builders to upgrade their wireless networks the way they upgrade their wireline networks: incrementally.
"Let's say a municipality or community builds a network with all dual radios. Over time, as the amount of users grows, they might need to upgrade to a switched core. They can replace some of the nodes. This is no different from how networks are built and upgraded in the wired world."
BelAir's already building a prototype 6 radio box, in anticipation of ever greater demand for bandwidth.
Freeze says the company's looking forward to new wireless protocols, and has, he says, "the first FCC-certified 802.16b box."
He adds that the company's modular architecture enables multi-service boxes, combining WiMAX, Wi-Fi, and even cellular service. "We'll see cellular plus Wi-Fi plus WiMAX in the future. There will be multiple coexisting wireless technologies and networks working seamlessly together. We could soon see tri-mode phones."
The tough part of multi-service architectures is the handoffs, especially for cellular networks. But the standards bodies are working on it.
This is the year of dual-mode phones, Freeze says. "We already have our hands on some prototype dual-mode phones that are pretty cool."
Article courtesy of ISP-Planet.