Vivato - This Would Seem To Change Everything
I'm traveling this week, attending ISPCON in San Jose, California. On
Thursday, November 7, from 10:00 to 11:00, I'll be leading a Keynote panel
discussion titled WISPs: Alive and Kicking
(http://www.servicenetworks.com/fall2002/attend-keynotes.asp). While in San
Jose I also hope to visit a few Broadband Wireless Internet Access vendors.
While traveling, I'll be posting to the BWIA Weblog using Radio Userland's
"Mail To Weblog" feature. Apologies for the inevitable formatting gaffs.
I'll confess that when news of Vivato (www.vivato.net) (formerly Mabuhay
Networks) hit the news on Monday morning, I was a more than a bit skeptical.
Vivato claims that using phased array antennas technology, users with
"ordinary" 802.11b / Wi-Fi cards, typically transmitting at ~ 30 mW into an
inefficient antenna, can connect with a Vivato access point at ranges of up
to hundreds, even thousands of feet inside buildings, and up to four miles
More than a bit skeptical; really on my guard, I contacted an individual who
I thought might have some knowlege of Vivato. I was right, and in a few
sentences, the individual convinced me (in no small part because of their
impeccable credentials and experience) that Vivato's claims are in fact
legitimate. Now to try to change my schedule (and theirs) to try to arrange
a visit while I'm in the area (Vivato is in San Francisco) to learn more.
Though I find their terminology ("Wi-Fi Switching") questionable, Vivato's
technology is clearly one of the right approaches to achieving much greater
scale in use of 802.11b / Wi-Fi devices. (Other approaches include
integral-in-the-client mesh networking and ubiquitous deployment of
conventional access points.)
A number of BWIA vendors have made use of phased array antenna technology,
notably ArrayComm, BeamReach Networks, SOMA Networks. But those systems
incorporate proprietary radio elements - the breakthrough that Vivato
achieves is that the client is "just" an ordinary 802.11b / Wi-Fi device...
any 802.11b / Wi-Fi device... including the wave of handheld
computers / PDA's about to emerge with integral 802.11b / Wi-Fi. Doing so
overcomes a major hurdle - the CPE expense issue is eliminated because the
client has already bought it and installed it themselves.
There are completely legitimate arguments to be made about using "better
than Wi-Fi" radio technology alongside phased array antennas, many of which
I agree with. But the reality is that competing vendors (and I) have to come
to grips with is that those arguments pale in comparison and are largely
swept aside in the realities of market potential of millions of new 802.11b
/ Wi-Fi devices being bought every month. For all its "warts" (and there are
many such "warts") 802.11b / Wi-Fi is a pretty reasonable wireless
networking communications standard if its limitations are
observed. About the only way those limitations can be
observed - and overcome, is to address all the limitations at the access
point. With the use of phased array antenna technology, Vivato
apparently "fools" each 802.11b device in its coverage area that it is
communicating with a conventional access point. That the access point it's
connected to is some distance away is completely transparent to the client
802.11b / Wi-Fi device.
I'll be providing much more in-depth coverage of Vivato to the subscribers
of Focus On Broadband Wireless Internet Access.
As always, comments are appreciated - mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org