Nigh Wi-FiBy CWNP On 10/26/2008 - 9 Comments
Ubiquiti builds some neat stuff, I have to tell you. I have a couple of their products. Unique, compatible, powerful, simple to use. But full-featured 802.11 radios, compliant with the various 802.11 amendments that live in the 700 and 900 MHz bands? What? "Based on 802.11g OFDM" the specs say. Take note of the 600 mW output power on that 700 mW radio. Yikes!
I hadn't really considered this type of thing until a CWNE friend of mine started checking out some new mesh products. He asked me about the positives and negatives of such a thing, and the first thing I thought of was interoperability and analysis. The Wi-Fi Alliance is only interoperability testing and certifying equipment operating in 2.4 and 5 GHz. So, 700 MHz (public safety), 4.9 GHz (public safety), and 900 MHz (ISM) is kind of left out in the cold for now. Additionally, analyzer vendors don't make drivers for cards that work in non-Wi-Fi bands, so site surveying, protocol analysis, and spectrum analysis is out. That would mean you'd be flying blind. No thanks. Been there, done that.
There's really not alot of bandwidth in either the 700 or 900 MHz bands, so they're not going to be super useful for building any sort of multiple channel architecture designs, so mesh would be a logical implementation of 802.11 protocols in these bands.
Now I'm not completely sure Ubiquiti is the only vendor doing this - in fact, they're most likely one of many. They are, however, likely the highest profile vendor doing it - which is why I chose to single them out. :) I'm anxious to see what other positive and negative comments you guys may have on implementation of 802.11 in non-Wi-Fi frequencies.