Ubiquiti Networks, the wireless startup that has come to dominate gear used by the Wireless ISP industry, is introducing new consumer premises gear, outdoor access points and backhaul the company says are “revolutionary”.
In addition, the company introduced a co-marketing campaign, not dissimilar to the successful “Intel Inside” campaign, called the Ubiquiti World Network. This multi-million dollar initiative, in partnership with WISPs, intends to grow consumer recognition of fixed wireless broadband as an alternative to DSL or Cable.
The announcements were made at a glitzy launch at WISPAPALOOZA held last week in Las Vegas.
“We believe fixed wireless access technology is among the most cost effective and capital-efficient ways to bring Internet connectivity to underserved communities around the world,” said Robert J. Pera, CEO at Ubiquiti Networks. “With our next-generation infrastructure platform, our WISP customers can tap into a large, high growth market that is uniquely positioned to help close the digital divide and create greater social equality.”
Wireless ISPs are predominantly in rural environments where cable and digital subscriber lines are not available and commonly use Wi-Fi or proprietary equipment designed to operate over open 900 MHz, 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz bands.
WISP generally connect to a PoP (Point of Presence) and then backhaul to their towers, which have a multi-user access point with high gain antennas. One key for a successfull WISP, say some operators, was a $99 price point for the consumer premises equipment.
Ubiquiti’s airMAX Nanobeam M2 and M5, are CPEs with parabolic reflectors using the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands. The Nanobeam comes in three models, 2.4 & 5 GHz with a 400mm reflector and a smaller 5GHz model with a 300mm dish.
Ubiquiti made a big splash last year with their AirFiber backhaul at 24 GHz. It delivered 1 Gbps at prices far below the competition. This year, Ubiquiti added a model for the 5 GHz band. It is said to top out at an aggregated speed of 1 Gbps, has a range of up to 100 Km, and costs only $2,000 per link.
Pera went into detail about the company’s active filtering technology that enables them to make full use of the unlicensed 5 GHz band.
All products are expected to be available via Ubiquiti distributors and are currently scheduled to ship in Q4 2013.
Ubiquiti and Cambium Networks currently dominate the WISP industry. Cambium was created when Motorola Solutions sold their Canopy brand. Meanwhile, Alvarion and Proxim, once dominate forces, have fallen on hard times. Ubiquiti has managed to cut costs by eliminating large direct sales teams while delivering an innovative, high performance product that the WISP operators have embraced.
Unlike standard Wi-Fi protocol, Ubiquiti’s Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) airMAX protocol allows each client to send and receive data using pre-designated time slots scheduled by an intelligent AP controller. This “time slot” method eliminates hidden node collisions and maximizes airtime efficiency.
Ubiquiti’s 35 year-old CEO, Robert Pera, must be doing something right. He became a billionaire after Ubiquiti went public in October 2011, and was treated like a rock star when he introduced Ubiquiti’s new products last week in Las Vegas.
Ubiquiti World Network, their co-marketing campaign, may be an idea whose time has come. Consumer dissatisfaction with cable and DSL is high, while satellite internet suffers latency and data caps (along with the cellular industry). Both cable and mobile providers hope to corner the market on WiFi by creating roaming networks between different providers.
But wireless ISPs, using the unlicensed band and lots of innovation, have proven they can deliver internet access faster, better and cheaper. Anytime, anywhere.
Ubiquiti Networks intends to get the word out.