Metro-scale Wi-Fi gear maker purchased by firm focused on smart-grid technology: Trilliant claims that SkyPilot's backhaul tech--an awfully clever solution to frequency reuse-is perfect for handling metering and other data collection. Trilliant might be right. SkyPilot's backhaul/distribution tech involves using sectorized antennas operated in a scheduled manner to avoid interference. This bought them some of the best aspects of time division and power limit rules.
The FCC had granted a ruling years ago to Vivato that allowed extremely high signal output (the maximum legal limit) in quasi point-to-point scenarios; previously, the limits were much lower unless you had a very specific P2P setup. SkyPilot used that exception to push out tens of watts of power in 5 GHz, allowing extremely long-distance links from a single backhaul device. By rotating among several antennas, one device could serve 8 feeders on a scheduled, GPS-time linked basis.
Trilliant's business is in smart meters, and earth2tech reports that the company has worked with a variety of backhaul options and firms. But with the federal government plowing billions into electrical grid and utility development, everyone with some action in smart grids and meters now needs a network technology. Metro-scale Wi-Fi equipment maker Tropos has gone into that space, although it also seems to have a significant public-safety wireless business, too. Smart-metering firm SmartSynch is an early AT&T partner for cellular backhaul under a new arrangement that makes mobile broadband sensibly priced for metering.
Of the other early companies that were making mesh or metro Wi-Fi gear, only BelAir is still pumping out real news. BelAir is the equipment provider for Cablevision and USI Wireless in Minneapolis, which are both reasonably big networks. BelAir may have some other cable firms up its sleeve, too; Comcast may decide to roll out subscriber-only Wi-Fi, too. Strix Systems is active, but it hasn't had any big contract wins for some time.
In the early days, Tropos was aligned with EarthLink, SkyPilot with MetroFi, and Strix with Kite Networks for municipal Wi-Fi rollouts. BelAir had no specific alignment, although it was tapped by Toronto and other networks more on a case-by-case basis. EarthLink exited muni-Fi, MetroFi shut down, and Kite went out in a blaze of confusion.