[Chtechcomm] Cisco enters citywide wireless market
tbuckner at ibiblio.org
Wed Nov 16 09:18:43 EST 2005
*Just in case anyone was wondering why we had a Cisco rep at last
Cisco enters citywide wireless market
From /CNet News.com/
November 15, 2005
By Marguerite Reardon
Cisco Systems will throw its hat into the municipal Wi-Fi ring on
Tuesday when it announces wireless-network product enhancements that
extend its technology into outside deployments.
Cisco has developed a new series of access points, called the Cisco
Aironet 1500 Series, that can be used for citywide Wi-Fi deployments.
These new access points can be deployed on rooftop, light posts and
To maximize capacity, each access point is equipped with two radios. One
radio uses a radio frequency protocol called Adaptive Wireless Path
Protocol for access-point-to-access-point communications. The other
radio is used to provide bandwidth to users.
Cisco is already the dominant supplier of wireless local-area networking
equipment in the home market—through its Linksys product line—and in the
enterprise market as well.
The new access points will use “mesh” technology to communicate with
each other and find the best path for traffic traveling through the
“The wireless market is moving from the home and enterprise to the
outdoors,” said Alan Cohen, senior director in Cisco’s wireless
networking business unit. “It was the next logical step for us.”
The market for citywide wireless networks is enormous, analysts have
said. Cities of all sizes across the United States view Wi-Fi as a cost
effective answer to many of their communication problems.
Some cities, like Philadelphia and San Francisco, plan to use wireless
broadband technology as a low-cost solution to providing broadband
access to low-income residents.
Other cities see Wi-Fi as a great technology for building new
public-safety networks and for connecting various buildings where city
agencies are housed.
And still others believe that free Wi-Fi networks in public places could
boost economic development by drawing more people to the city.
“The market is really huge,” said Craig Mathias, an analyst with
Farpoint Group of Ashland, Mass. “Most municipalities could find some
use for Wi-Fi, whether that’s for providing commercial broadband to
residents or for government purposes. The door is wide open right now.”
Cisco’s entrance into the market is a sign of this opportunity. Until
this point, small start-ups, such as Tropos Networks and BelAir
Networks, have been supplying cities with equipment.
EarthLink, which won the bid to build Philadelphia’s network, is using
equipment from Tropos, and so are 249 other customers, including the
city of Anaheim, Calif.
“We’ve already been in this market for five years,” said Ron Sege, CEO
of Tropos. “Cisco will have to go through that entire learning curve. It
takes time, even if you are Cisco. You can’t buy experience.”
Cisco’s Cohen said he is ready to take on the start-ups. The company
didn’t compete in the Philadelphia bidding process because its
technology wasn’t ready at the time, he said.
But the company is competing for the San Francisco contract. And Cisco
has already managed to rack up nearly a dozen wins of its own, including
deployments in Dayton, Ohio, and Lebanon, Ore.
“For a while, the start-ups have been the only alternative for
communities building Wi-Fi networks,” Cohen said. “But now we’re here.”
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