SF Bay Unwired

Posted by Sam Churchill on

Proxim Wireless is unwiring the San Francisco Bay through integrator Sunrise Wireless, a developer of maritime wireless broadband systems. It enables wireless connectivity for vessels throughout 62 square miles of the Bay.

Sunrise Wireless uses a combination of Proxim’s point-to-point wireless backhaul, license-free WiMAX, and Wi-Fi for an end-to-end broadband wireless network, says marketwatch.com.

Called SFOWetNet, it is designed to service all users of the Bay — from the researcher in a small boat collecting marine samples to the commuter traveling to work at 40 mph in the comfort of a high speed ferry. SFOWetNet consists of two networks that share a common backhaul. One network is designed to serve commercial vessels, and the second provides Wi-Fi access for recreational boaters.

These two networks include:

  • WiMAX for commercial vessels — “SFOWetNet-comml” provides high-performance, unlicensed WiMAX connectivity to enable reliable connectivity for commercial vessels, including ferries, tugboats, tankers, cargo and dinner cruise vessels as well as public safety vessels such as police, fire and search and rescue boats. The network currently provides broadband Internet connectivity and in the near future will provide wireless VoIP and wireless real-time streaming video for the delivery of news and entertainment directly to vessels on the move.
  • WiFi for the recreational boater — “SFOWetNet-marine” provides Wi-Fi connectivity for all recreational vessels, enabling all boats to receive Wi-Fi access via an hourly, daily or monthly subscription. A laptop is all that is needed to enjoy Wi-Fi service up to half a mile from shore, and longer distances are possible with the use of a range-extender.

The wireless network coverage area stretches from the Bay Bridge to the San Rafael Bridge, as well as from Alcatraz/Angel Island all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge.

Sunrise Wireless, in 2008, completed the largest marine broadband system in the country for passengers of the Washington State Ferries. The company has consulted for the BC Ferries and now has completed deployment of SFOWetNet which provides broadband access to the marine users of San Francisco Bay.

The wireless network for Washington State Ferries uses 60 different radios, including the 15 aboard the boats. Sunrise used Proxim WiMax gear that uses the outdoor routing protocol, which helps eliminate hidden radio nodes. The protocol involves a polling procedure` to find the nearest receiving radio, which helps eliminate hidden radio nodes said Milt Gregory, CEO of Cupertino, Calif.-based Sunrise Wireless.

Proxim’s Tsunami base stations provide the WiMax backhaul. It connects to on-board Wi-Fi networks that largely rely on radios from Cisco. The Wi-Fi network was originally built and operated by Parsons of Irvine Calif., which sold the operation to Boingo last year.

Sunrise Wireless utilizes the following Proxim Wireless products:

  • Proxim Tsunami MP.11 5054R and 5054R-LR — The Tsunami MP.11 5054R-LR base stations and subscriber units provide license-free WiMAX connectivity from commercial vessels all the way to the shore from within the 62 square mile coverage area.
  • Proxim ORiNOCO AP-4000 MR-LR — The ORiNOCO AP-4000s provide long-range Wi-Fi coverage from the shore to about half a mile into the water for laptop users and further for those using a range extender, enabling recreational boats to connect via Wi-Fi.
  • Proxim Tsunami.GX — The Tsunami.GX radios provide the wireless backhaul from the WiMAX and Wi-Fi radios back to the network data center in south San Francisco. All in all, there are 40 miles of wireless backhaul involved.

The wireless network will soon enable commercial vessels to utilize wireless VoIP, while Proxim’s WiMAX network provides enough bandwidth to stream video to vessels, enabling ferries to stream real-time news, sports and financial video to passengers, or stream video surveillance back to the shore.

Recreational vessels do not require any additional equipment to access the Wi-Fi network. Once in range of the SFOWetNet Wi-Fi network, users can connect to the network, open their browsers, then log on via a secure sign-on page.

Posted by Sam Churchill on Wednesday, June 9th, 2010 at 7:59 am .

One thought on “SF Bay Unwired

  1. Everything I have ever ever read about Proxim’s products has been positive – they keep getting chosen for large wireless projects – the story that sticks in my mind is the one about some Microsoft ‘techies’ conference (how is that for an audience with high expectations) – I forget the exact name – they have used Proxim equipment each year for the last 8 or 9 years and their comment was simply “cos their stuff works”.

    But their financial performance has been pretty dismal – they are very smart engineers no question about that – but the company has just never been able to put money on the bottom line…what a pity. They seem to have been short on capital for a while. On Monday the stock will trade at $10+ since the shares have now been consolidated 1 new for 100 old. Perhaps this will provide some breathing room to raise new capital.

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