Mesh Without Wires

April 21, 2011

Firetide Launches an Aggressive Campaign Targeting WLAN for Education ‎

Filed under: Wireless LAN,WLAN — kseniacoffman @ 12:13 pm

Yesterday we announced an aggressive campaign targeting education wireless LAN (WLAN) market. Firetide’s MIMO and non-MIMO access points (APs) and WLAN controller bundles are now available at significant discounts to North America based educational institutions, where the need for multimedia-capable WLAN is especially urgent.

WLAN controller feature licenses

WLAN controller feature licenses do add up! (Click to enlarge)

Firetide’s Wi-Fi access solutions have long been a staple of our outdoor deployments for government and commercial verticals. We are now bringing the same level of performance and security to indoor WLANs, targeting the education sector where we can meet the need for cost-effective and easy to maintain solutions.

Multimedia-optimized WLAN

Along with performance and security, we also bring our core video expertise to the WLAN market. Having established market leadership in wireless infrastructure mesh for video surveillance in the Americas (See: Firetide Lands at #1 Spot in Video Mesh in the Americas), we now set sight on the education market where multi-media streaming and video conferencing for distance learning are key requirements. Application-based quality of service and traffic shaping algorithms that Firetide implemented for its infrastructure mesh now drive video performance across WLAN.

No-hassle pricing and no feature licensing

With the aim of establishing a foothold in the WLAN market, Firetide implemented a surprisingly radical (given the practices in the space) pricing for its WLAN controller and AP scaling. Management of up to 50 APs are included in the controller price, with no per-AP licensing. Many features that WLAN vendors often charge for are also included, among them intrusion detection and policy management.

I did a quick comparison with the controller pricing of a leading WLAN manufacturer, using an actual price list of said vendor (see illustration above). The result speaks for itself: Firetide’s all inclusive controller capable of managing 50 APs is $5,000 US list, while competitor’s bundle comes up to almost $15,000. Note that this competitor does not have a 50-AP WLAN controller model, but the cost of various features relative to the controller are based on actual license pricing and should be a good approximation.

Up to 3 controllers can be stacked to support up to 150 APs. While we do not do per AP, or per 10-AP licensing, our pricing is such that it’s still competitive even if you have to buy 2 controllers to support 60 APs.

North America education discount: 25% to 50%

The program announced yesterday offers an attractive price point to educational institutions in North America with discount pricing available through June 30, 2011.

Firetide offers a 25% discount on 802.11n MIMO indoor APs bundled with a WLAN controller capable of managing up to 50 access points. Even more aggressive pricing is offered on 802.11a/b/g indoor access points, with 50% discount off list price for the overall bundle. Bundles range from five APs to 20 APs; each bundle includes a WLAN controller.

To take advantage of this limited time offer or to test drive a Firetide WLAN, contact a Firetide authorized partner or email

In the words of Rohit Mehra, Director of Enterprise Communications Infrastructure at IDC:

“It is not surprising to see Firetide enter the enterprise WLAN market with an aggressive push. Performance, scalability, security and ease of use are key requirements in the enterprise WLAN space. Firetide’s track record in infrastructure mesh, with its emphasis on real-time video streaming, will make the company a contender to watch especially in key vertical segments of the WLAN market.”

For more posts on WLAN, see:

By Ksenia Coffman – Connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

January 18, 2011

Wireless Networks Bridge Past and Present in S. Korea’s River Restoration Project

Han River Firetide Wireless Mesh Node

Firetide wireless mesh node installed at Han River

Even though we are headquartered in the US, our most innovative and creative projects seem to happen in Asia Pacific first, and specifically in Korea. The latest example of this trend is the “4 Rivers” restoration project, which takes advantage of Firetide’s extensive product line – mesh, access points and customer premises equipment. The network is also multi-service, supporting a variety of applications: from public safety and emergency preparedness to free public Wi-Fi.

Billion dollar river restoration project

The South Korean government is undertaking a two billion dollar restoration project of the country’s four major rivers – the Han River, the Yeongsan River, the Nakdong River and the Seomjin River – and surrounding recreational areas. When completed in 2012, the multi-service wireless infrastructure will provide a sensor network for water level, temperature and pollution measurement; a video surveillance network to monitor the dams; and public Wi-Fi service for adjacent riverside parks.  Funded by the government, the project’s main objective is to prevent disasters caused by flooding, while supporting environmental preservation and attracting more visitors to the area.

240 miles of rivers to be covered

The four major rivers are over 240 miles in length combined. To cover this area, more than 200 Firetide MIMO and non-MIMO mesh nodes along with 300 cameras from Sony, Axis Communications and Samsung will be deployed to support the sensor and video surveillance applications. In addition, free public Wi-Fi service will be provided in adjacent parks using Firetide’s 802.11n wireless access points and customer premise equipment (CPEs).

Unique wireless mesh design

This projects illustrates the convergence of voice, video and data services over a wireless network – deployed in areas previously thought impossible or impractical to connect. The diagram below shows a section of the network, deployed in a redundant linear loop topology. Where the bends of the river allow, additional redundant links are built in to connect nodes within the chain. The section depicts about 10 km of a river “as the crow flies.”

4 Rivers Firetide Wireless Mesh

"4 Rivers" wireless mesh design

Backbone for ‘u-Korea’ projects

The wireless mesh technology being used in the ‘4 Rivers’ project has also been deployed in other South Korean wireless projects such mobile video surveillance at Seoul Subway, “children safety zones” in Seoul, and parks,  beaches and other recreational areas is Korea’s largest cities. We can even say that Firetide is the de facto wireless mesh standard for the backbone of South Korea’s ‘u-City’ government-supported programs to bring ubiquitous digital services to residents, tourists, employees and businesses throughout the country.

For more information, read the press release: Firetide’s Wireless Mesh Networks Bridge Past and Present in South Korea’s Four Rivers Billion Dollar Restoration Project

By Ksenia Coffman – Connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

January 11, 2011

Jan 26 Seminar: Designing and Specifying High-performance Wireless Infrastructure

Filed under: Physical Security,Technology,Wireless backhaul,Wireless Mesh,WLAN — kseniacoffman @ 9:20 am

If you are our neighbors in the San Francisco Bay Area, or willing to drive/fly, join us for an upcoming seminar organized by Firetide in Pleasanton, California on January 26.

Specifying and Designing High-Performance Wireless Infrastructure
Wednesday January 26, 9:00 AM – 4:45 PM

Why is wireless infrastructure essential?

Wireless is gaining acceptance as a reliable transport and an alternative to cable and fiber in municipal video surveillance, transportation, government, education and industrial installations. Did you know that deploying wireless instead of fiber can save up to 90% of network infrastructure costs? This translates to projects moving forward, rather than being bogged down in funding discussions.

Who should attend?

If you are researching, planning or specifying a wireless infrastructure projects – don’t miss this event. The seminar is designed for security and IT network integrators, A&E and infrastructure consultants, public safety technology leaders, security directors, network and IT managers tasked with managing wireless infrastructure initiatives, or extending reach of security and IT networks to areas where wired infrastructure does not exist.

What information will you receive?

This full day seminar will provide essential information about wireless technology options and design considerations for high-performance wireless infrastructure for real-time video surveillance, voice and data applications:

    Our RF guru imparts his wisdom at an 2010 seminar

    Our RF guru imparts his wisdom at an 2010 seminar

  • Design considerations for wireless IP networking
  • Wireless technology options, and how to pick the right one for the project
  • Mistakes to avoid during specification and design

What topics will be covered?

  • Designing for High-performance Wireless; Wireless Trends
  • RF Basics for Successful Project Design
  • Wireless applications; Mesh and mobility
  • Wireless Infrastructure: Project Fit and Key Differentiators
  • Specification & Design: Approaches; Tools; Best Practices

What past attendees have been saying?

“Enjoyed interaction and two-way communications. It was not just a lecture, but back-and-forth.”

“Good mix of content, technical vs. applications.”

“All of the presenters were very knowledgeable, and were able to answer our questions effectively.”

Sounds interesting?

The seminar will be focused on wireless for government, commercial and transportation applications (i.e. we will not be covering in-home, consumer-grade Wi-Fi) and will use Firetide’s technology and deployments as examples. If you have an interest in industrial-grade wireless technology, mesh networking or Firetide, you will benefit from this event. This seminar is approved for BICSI Continuing Education Credits (CEC); you will receive 4 to 6 CECs (details on BICSI web site).

If you are interested in this event, please send an email to Ksenia Coffman (kcoffman-at-firetide-dot-com).

Cannot make it to Pleasanton? We will host this seminar in other locations throughout the United States in 2011. Stay tuned!

Interested in wireless mesh technology and mesh design? See these posts:

By Ksenia Coffman – Connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

October 28, 2010

See Firetide at IT Roadmap Event in San Francisco, Nov 3

Filed under: Wireless,Wireless backhaul,Wireless LAN,Wireless Mesh,WLAN — kseniacoffman @ 1:01 pm

Next week we will be exhibiting at our first enterprise IT proper event in a few years: IT Roadmap in San Francisco, Nov 3. We used to go to Interop in Las Vegas, but due to our focus on physical security, we’ve not been there for quite a while.

WLAN, point-to-point, mesh in IT manager’s arsenal

This time around, we have much more than mesh – an end-to-end enterprise wireless infrastructure to support indoor and outdoor Wi-Fi, inter-building connectivity, LAN extension, video surveillance, access control, mass notification, etc. Our product portfolio has expanded as well: in addition to infrastructure mesh to provide a “fat pipe” to the client devices (Wi-Fi access points, IP cameras, access control readers), we now offer point-to-point wireless Ethernet bridges (both MIMO and non-MIMO), 802.11 access points (indoor and outdoor) and a WLAN controller appliance.

Wireless-enabled campus

Wireless-enabled enterprise: mesh, bridges, WLAN

How can IT manage the bandwidth surge from mobile multimedia applications?

Why do enterprises need this combo approach, rather than bridging Wi-Fi access points to extend the network’s reach? With the growth of multimedia applications (media streaming, videoconferencing, online meetings), coupled with the deluge of mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets with Web access and video chatting over Wi-Fi, enterprise IT managers are struggling to increase and manage network capacity to meet soaring demand. The first part of the solution is realizing that the enterprise is no longer solely about the carpeted space but indoor and outdoor combined. Therefore, the technology solution will not come from indoor-oriented WLAN vendors. Consider adding real-time multimedia business applications or video surveillance to the campus network? Wi-Fi access infrastructure will be no match to the load of high-bandwidth, latency-sensitive streams.

See Firetide at IT Roadmap

What required is a combined wireless infrastructure mesh and WLAN solution that can scale and support ever increasing high-performance voice, video and data applications. See it for yourself at IT Roadmap event in San Francisco, November 3, booth 300! We will tweet from the seminar; follow #ITroadmap hash tag on Nov 3.

See also:

Ksenia Coffman – Connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

October 14, 2010

Wireless Mesh for OSP, Presented at OSP Expo

As luck would have it, ASIS 2010 is happening at the same time as OSP Expo. Firetide’s Mike Intag, RCDD is presenting there on wireless mesh for OSP environments, focusing on mesh applications for outside plant deployments.

The presOSP Expo Wireless Meshentation provides essential information and how-tos:

  • Wireless options and their differentiators in OSP environments
  • Considerations for high-performance wireless networks
  • Mesh applications, design approaches and best practices

The applications covered include:

  • Wireless-enabled campus environments: mesh as backbone for video, Wi-Fi, mass notification, etc.
  • Industrial security: video, access control, threat detection
  • LAN extension for essential business operations in outdoor settings
  • Smart Grid and utility WAN: from non-line-of-sight at 900 MHz to high-capacity backhaul using MIMO technology
  • Wi-Fi hotspots, plus using mesh as leased line replacement to provide internet service to the hotspot
  • Cellular base station interconnect for rapid expansion of coverage areas

To Mesh or Not to Mesh for OSP?

For more posts on mesh network design, see:

By: Ksenia Coffman – Connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

September 7, 2010

“Firetide Inside” NETGEAR WLAN Offerings Reviewed In PC Mag

Filed under: Wireless,Wireless LAN,WLAN — kseniacoffman @ 8:24 am

In time for Labor Day, PC Magazine published extensive reviews for the two products that NETGEAR launched as a result of an OEM deal with Firetide. (For background, see “Firetide Announces Strategic Alliance and OEM Agreement with NETGEAR.”) I included “Bottom Line” paragraphs from each review. Read the full reviews by clicking on the links:

Netgear ProSafe 16 AP Wireless Management System WMS5316

NETGEAR ProSafe 16 AP Wireless Management System

NETGEAR ProSafe 16 AP Wireless Management System WMS5316

Rating: Very Good

Bottom Line: There aren’t too many AP-management offerings in the SMB market. The ProSafe 16 is a welcome rarity. And, while it may seem expensive, most of the other devices on the market are more enterprise oriented and more expensive. NETGEAR has created a true SMB wireless management device that doesn’t require the expertise of a dedicated wireless network administrator to set up and run. If you’re running a shop with many NETGEAR APs already in place, or plan to create a network with five to sixteen of them, the NETGEAR ProSafe 16 AP Wireless Management System WMS5316 is well worth the price.

>>Full review at

NETGEAR ProSafe 5AP Wireless Management System (WMS105)

Rating: Very Good

Bottom Line: There’s no question that the NETGEAR ProSafe 5AP Wireless Management System performs with aplomb. But there is one question that must be asked: Does my business need it? Unless you have more than two NETGEAR access points, the WMS105 is overkill. Add a third, fourth or fifth access point, and the centralized management is becomes much more convenient. It’s simple to set up, it’s a good way to keep consistent security settings on all of the access points in a network, and the price won’t break your budget.

>>Full review at

See also:

/Image via

August 4, 2010

Mesh Provider Jumps into 802.11n Wireless LAN Fray

Filed under: Technology,Wireless LAN,WLAN — kseniacoffman @ 9:05 am

Firetide expands product line up with 802.11n wireless LAN

Not to be left behind in the rapidly growing 802.11n Wi-Fi access market, last month we announced a new WLAN family, including both 802.11n access points and an enterprise-grade wireless LAN controller. The new Firetide products – Firetide WLAN controller and indoor and outdoor dual-radio 802.11n MIMO access points, – bring the high performance and reliability for real-time voice, video and data applications for which the company is known to broadband access space.

802.11n drives Wi-Fi access market momentum

According to a market research firm IDC, the worldwide enterprise-class wireless LAN market suffered relatively small declines in 2009, despite tough economic conditions, and is now poised for a strong rebound in 2010. According to their research published in June of 2010, the WLAN market will gain momentum throughout the year, growing 23% from $1.7 billion in 2009 to a robust $2.1 billion in 2010. “More and more customers are demanding resilient, intelligent, scalable, and adaptive wireless network infrastructures. They are gearing up for widespread deployments across the board – not just in the carpeted areas of enterprise and in the education market segment, but in widespread applications across major verticals,” says IDC’s Rohit Mehra, director of Enterprise Communications Infrastructure.

Outdoor Wi-Fi Hotspot

Outdoor Wi-Fi is blossoming

Wireless technology has evolved from being a “nice to have” feature to being an essential part of an enterprise network. A rapidly growing number of business processes rely on a wireless connection, while multimedia applications are increasingly used in all organizations, large or small. Another trend is the need for wireless LAN outside the carpeted space. Enterprises want anywhere Wi-Fi coverage for their employees, not only in their offices.

Service providers continue to deploy Wi-Fi hotspots at a growing pace, in an effort to move cellular data users to a more suitable Wi-Fi connection, where available. Municipalities are deploying Wi-Fi for city workers, first responders, as well as in tourist attractions.

The driving force behind these changes is the 802.11n standard. This improved technology allows much higher throughout compared to older standards, driving renewed investment in indoor and outdoor Wi-Fi.

Mesh and access integration

As the economy recovers, we plan to capitalize on the growth in the enterprise and industrial WLAN space, by offering a combination of infrastructure mesh to extend the network’s reach, and access points to offer client access. Unique to Firetide, wireless LAN can be a part of a Firetide mesh network. The combination of mesh and access points enables the customer to easily and cost effectively extend connectivity to areas without network infrastructure.

“Wireless mesh networks enable organizations to own and operate their own flexible private wireless networks, and video is becoming the next “must have” application,” says Gerry Kaufhold, principal analyst with In-Stat, a market research company based in Scottsdale, Arizona. “Firetide is already well known for their mission critical public safety applications. Their new competitively-priced access points, wireless LAN controller, and point-to-point products create an attractive front end that will help extend Firetide’s core infrastructure mesh business into new high-growth markets.”

WLAN that’s simple to buy, deploy and manage

The WLAN solution is simple to deploy with the controller automatically discovering and connecting all supported APs and providing optimized connectivity with automatic RF management and channel selection. The controller also provides centralized configuration of security and wireless settings. Once deployed it automatically load balances the Wi-Fi network to prevent AP overload and continuously monitors for auto channel re-assignment and RF adjustments for best performance. Advanced fairness algorithms derived from Firetide mesh technology provide rate limiting to make sure that no one client or AP hogs bandwidth.

Leverage Information Systems in Southern California recently won an RFP for a MIMO-based wireless mesh video surveillance system for the City of Gardena that requires placing 802.11n MIMO APs in city parks and along three major transportation corridors of the city. Leverage had sealed the deal when they confirmed that Firetide would soon ship their new 802.11n APs. “Firetide’s reputation is golden,” says Mark Sarria, account manager for Leverage Information Systems. “We knew the 802.11n APs would have the same performance and reliability as the wireless infrastructure mesh for the video surveillance network. It’s great to have one Firetide infrastructure platform – for both mesh backbone and client access – that is easy to set up, manage and support.”

For more information:

Image via: Roman Bonnefoy

By: Ksenia Coffman – Connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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