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S-A, Tropos make a mesh of things

Tue, 09/13/2005 - 8:00pm
Jeff Baumgartner, CED

Scientific-Atlanta (S-A) will add Wi-Fi mesh capabilities to its hybrid fiber/coax (HFC) platforms through a partnership with Tropos Networks.

Under the agreement, S-A will incorporate Tropos' MetroMesh Wi-Fi gear with its HFC portfolio. The companies will collaborate on both strand-mounted coaxial powering options and fiber converters for Tropos' 5210 MetroMesh outdoor routers. S-A's SciCare Broadband Services Group, meanwhile, will lend its help to operators with installation, technical training and general service support for city-wide deployments. The companies expect to have a commercial product ready to go by Q4.

The resulting technology will give operators the ability to build wireless canopies capable of providing mobile IP services to customers who need Internet access on the go. Tropos said it has deployed more than 200 metro-wide Wi-Fi networks in 25 countries.

"The joint Tropos/Scientific-Atlanta solution will enable cable operators to quickly and easily tap into the burgeoning demand for fast, low-cost and simple city-wide wireless broadband networks," added Tropos President & CEO Ron Sege, in a release.

The combined platform will handle traditional Wi-Fi connectivity for Internet access, as well as multimedia applications such as music, video, gaming, and eventually, mobile VoIP.

It will also play a big role in the backhauling of Wi-Fi traffic, noted Bob Scott, S-A's director of wireless networking. Backhaul, he explained, is traditionally the "Achilles heel" and the number-one issue for wireless ISPs, because most wireless point-to-point and point-to-multipoint links used today offer low capacity.

"HFC really becomes a great vehicle for backhauling that traffic," Scott said.

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