Motorola announced the immediate availability of Canopy point-to-multipoint and point-to-point products that operate in the newly available 5.4 GHz spectrum band.

Recently opened to commercial use by the FCC, the unlicensed 5.4 GHz band includes 255 MHz of bandwidth — double the spectrum available in the unlicensed 5.8 GHz band — making it very attractive to users wanting to co-locate multiple radios.

“Certainly the indications we're getting from early deployments is that the spectrum is very uncluttered compared to 5.8, and people are finding it a very good alternative for unlicensed deployments,” said Robert Baker, director of product management for Motorola's point-to-point product line.

One disadvantage of the 5.4 GHz band is that FCC power restrictions prevent the transmission range of more than 100 miles that is possible in the 5.8 GHz band, Baker said. But the ranges of Motorola's 5.4 GHz portfolio — as much as 15 miles for point-to-point applications and a maximum of 2 miles for point-to-multipoint applications — are enough to address the needs in the “sweet spots” of the wireless market, he said.

In addition, Motorola already is deploying 5.4 GHz point-to-point links for public-safety agencies that don't want to depend on commercial networks during emergencies, Baker said. With so many market options, the 5.4 GHz portfolio was well-received by Motorola's channel partners when the products were announced, he said.

“[The channel partners] see it as opening up another 250 MHz of spectrum,” Baker said. “They've had great success at 5.8 GHz, but the spectrum in some urban areas is starting to get a bit cluttered. 5.4 GHz gets them a whole load of virgin spectrum to deploy in.”

The current Motorola 5.4 GHz Canopy products provide line-of-sight connections, Baker said. The company is developing an OFDM-based version of the product for release next year that would allow near-line-of-sight connections, he said.