Ottawa firm says its APs outrun competition

An Ottawa company says it’s found a way to leap ahead of access point competitors by tripling the number of channels in its APs.

Edgewater Wireless Systems Inc. said Monday that its new access points using a new chipset it created with three independent channels  are now commercially available after earlier announced trials. The outdoor APs for carriers and indoor access points for enterprises can push aggregate throughput about 50 times faster than most APs available, the company said.

Traditional access points are like delivering Wi-Fi over a single-lane gravel road, says company president Andrew Skafel.

“We deliver the equivalent of a multi-lane highway from a single radio.”

The new technology, dubbed Wi-Fi3 (or Wi-Fi cubed) is first available on the company’s EAP 3030 access point, which operates in the 2.4GHz band, and the dual-band EAP 3031, which uses three channels in the 2.4GHz and one in the 5 GHz bands. They are available in indoor and outdoor models.

The pricing of each is “north of US$1,800,” he said.

Skafel also said he’s open to licencing the technology to other wireless network equipment makers.

He believes all other APs use chips for handsets with a single channel for transmitting and receiving signals. That was fine for several years, but as the number of wireless handsets, laptops and tablets rises in enterprises performance is affected.

The usual solution is to add more access points, which can make a bad situation even worse, he said. The users on a radio link are adversely impacted by the slowest device, he said.

Edgewater’s solution was to design a chip “from the ground up” for access points with three channels. As a result, faster Wi-Fi devices can take advantage of 802.11n’s potential throughput.
The company has been operating since last fall. It will sell through solution providers to enterprises and direct to carriers. Skefel said it doesn’t have a Canadian partner yet. It is looking for intergrators who have wireless experience and contacts with medium to large organizations.

Edgewater Wireless is a spin-off of Edgewater Computer Systems, which aims to commercialize that company’s Wi-Fi patents.

Skafel said about $50 million was spent to bring Wi-Fi3 to market. The chip is made by IBM Corp., while the access points are made by SMTC Corp. of Toronto.

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