Motorola Promises Robust Networking with Cable Mesh

— June 22, 2006

Motorola will be making a new mesh networking device designed to work in a cable broadband environment, the company said in an announcement June 20 at the Cable-Tech Expo in Denver.

According to the Schaumburg, Ill. , company's announcement, the new product, which draws on Motorola's wireless expertise as well as its dominant position in the cable broadband market, can be installed by cable operators where coverage is needed, and operators can use their cable infrastructure to connect to the Internet.

"What Motorola's done is create a way where we've combined some of our wireless innovation with the infrastructure we're already providing to cable operators," said spokesperson Paul Alfieri.

"It's as easy as provisioning a cable modem," he said.

Alfieri described the new product, called Cable Mesh, as a cable modem and a Wi-Fi AP (access point) installed together in a hardened container. "It's hurricane-proof," he said.

The AP will have two antennas, one for providing access to users and the other for connecting to the mesh network, he said. Because it's part of a mesh, not all of the APs would need to be connected to the cable.

"This allows the cable operator to put a very simple wireless access point right off their infrastructure to create a broad coverage area for wireless broadband," Alfieri said.

"The neat thing about the mesh networking architecture is that the operator can put these access points in overlapping spheres so you can cover a broad area ... The mesh networking technology allows you to roam from access point to access point and not lose your security or your log-in," he added.

Because the wireless APs are part of a mesh network, they have characteristics that can be more robust than single-point Wi-Fi.

"Even if your signal gets blocked, the mesh network can route around obstructions," Alfieri said: "The network will self-form and self-heal." He said the Cable Mesh devices can also handle non-consumer communications, such wireless data applications for fire and police departments.

The Cable Mesh line, part of Motorola's MotoWi4 wireless product family, is shipping now.

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