Vivato to introduce "filler/relay" access point: I spoke with Phil Belanger, the marketing VP at Vivato this morning about the latest news from the company, which just closed its third round of funding for nearly $50 million last week. We spoke at 802.11 Planet, where Vivato has both its indoor and outdoor antennas on display at their trade show booth.
Phil mentioned in passing that Intel's earlier investment in Vivato has opened doors for them, as Intel tries to plug Vivato in to interesting opportunities, such as providing access for the Cannes Film Festival recently, and at a UN conference on wireless access in developing nations yesterday. Phil was at the United Nations conference, and he said he was "humbled" to be there, to hear about how people need this kind of access to improve their lives.
Phil said that someone asked, "wouldn't we be better off sending them food?" The answer was no, because wireless and other access provides opportunities and communication. "Their village will buy a PC and share it." Because spectrum is not a scarce resource in developing nations, they may have more opportunities to exploit that for remote places for backhaul. (Copper is stolen, speakers said at the conference, so wiring backhaul isn't a real option.)
But on to Vivato's equipment. Vivato's switches are starting to be produced in quantity now, and they're looking into the next generation, which the new funding makes easier -- they already had a good war chest before this larger infusion.
The new device is a Wi-Fi bridge/router which relies quite a bit on work done at Musenki, a company run by Jim Thompson, an engineer who is locked in a lab in Spokane as they push forward on new products and development. The new box will cost under $500 and ship this fall. It will feature two wireless cards: both running 802.11b or one running b and one g. One card is devoted to backhaul. They are omnidirectional.
The utility of this new device, which could be a standalone piece of equipment, is that it can communicate directly with the full switch to fill in areas that are hidden (such as the angles around a skyscraper). The router has the same software as the switch excluding VPN termination and rogue AP detection. The management console is the same, and you can manage up to 3 switches and 10 routers from one management console.
Vivato put one of their antennas in South Boston near the conference at the World Trade Center, and Phil can see service from one angle of the place. Better yet, his hotel, a couple miles away, has great Vivato service -- it's an open network, so I expect many folks are getting free Vivato right now all over the coverage area along the bay!
The routers, by the way, use 200 milliwatt radios from the company that many firms have been latching on for PC/Mac laptop "range extenders."