Tranzeo to embed management tool in its radios

A Vancouver-based wireless equipment maker plans to install network management software on its hardware, which will be aimed at companies wanting a mixture of WiMAX and Wi-Fi gear in their networks.

Tranzeo Wireless Technologies Inc. announced last week it plans to include AirSync software, developed by San Diego-based Proximetry Inc., in its radios.

AirSync is designed to monitor wireless networks and make adjustments to ensure the operator meets the service levels required for each user.

“What Proximetry sells is a completely self-managed autonomous system,” said Dave Gelvin, Tranzeo’s USA president. “Their software will manage the entire network, change bandwidth on the fly and all that, based on data statistics.”

Network management has become a key feature of wireless equipment, said Craig Mathias, principal of the Ashland, Mass.-based Farpoint Group.

“We tend to think in the wireless world about the radio and wireless and mobility and all that clever stuff, but it’s really the operational side of any installation that determines whether or not it will succeed,” Mathias said. “Having that comprehensive network management, provisioning and all the stuff that Proximetry does will add a lot to their product line.” Tranzeo says with the AirSync software, network operators can monitor and manage all the radios in their networks, whether they are using the WiMAX or the Wi-Fi standard.

WiMAX, which stands for Wireless Interoperability for Microwave Access, is based on Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802.16 standards and is designed to allow transfer rates of up to 40 Mbps per channel over a wide-area.

Wi-Fi, which is based on the IEEE 802.11 standards, is designed for local-area networks, has less bandwidth than WiMAX and has ranges of up to 100 metres.

This makes Wi-Fi suitable for an office, but not for wider areas, causing some Wi-Fi users to consider using WiMAX, rather than cable, as a backhaul technology, said Carlton O’Neal, Proximetry’s vice-president of marketing and business development.

“A lot of those guys are saying, ‘Hey, we set up Wi-Fi networks ourselves, we’re happy to setup our own WiMAX network too,’” O’Neal said. “They’re not really sitting around waiting for carriers to come and offer them service.”

WiMAX is used by some carriers to provide voice and data services over licensed spectrum. But petrochemical companies, electrical utilities and municipalities might also be in the market for the equipment because they have sites suitable for base stations, O’Neal said.

“Take a municipality with their water towers and their city offices and their police stations,” he said. “Take an oil and gas concern with their oil depots and trucks and towers and health care with hospitals. They all have places to put these towers and when they put them up – boom – the whole area is lit up, not just one room or one corner of the building.”

Both WiMAX and Wi-Fi meet different requirements for enterprise networks, said Monica Paolini, president of Senza Fili Consulting LLC, a Sammamish, Wash.-based research firm.

“WiMAX gives you very good performance but they don’t have the devices yet in the volume and the prices you need for deployment in the enterprise,” she said. “Possibly over time you might have one taking a larger role than the other but I think that by and large, you will have a situation where you have them working side by side rather than seeing one dominating.”

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O’Neal predicts companies will treat WiMAX service like office phone extensions – which used to be provided by carriers in the form of Centrex services, but are now often operated by companies themselves in the form of private branch exchanges (PBXs).

“When you used to buy phone lines 20 years ago, you bought them all from the phone company,” he said. “Then soon it was like, ‘No, send me two pairs of high-speed wires and I’ll do my own switching internally with my own PBX.’”

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