Santa Clara, Calif.-based ArrowSpan, a provider of mesh network switching solutions, launched the MeshAP 3800-A wireless access point. The product was designed to provide coverage for outdoor applications where heavy foliage may interfere with the signal, said Max Lu, the company’s president and CEO.

The device uses dual, unlicensed 900 MHz radios for backhaul connection, an 802.11b/g radio for client connection and another unspecified radio that surveys the environment automatically to find the optimum path for each wireless node, Lu said. It operates over 2.4 and 5 GHz channels to deliver data and supports high-bandwidth, low-latency broadband applications. Layer 2 switching wireless mesh routing ensures network reliability, he said.

“We developed it so customers could extend their outdoor coverage without any performance degradation,” Lu said. “Most mesh technology on the market right now have channel interference and when you have more than three hops the interfering is so severe it can bring down the whole throughput from 20 megabits per second to less than 1 megabit. It just doesn’t work. Our access point supports connectivity by using multiple radios that transmit over the 900 MHz band.”

The radios are housed in an all-metal enclosure (23.4 cm x 17 cm x 6.3 cm) with a 5 dBi omni-directional antenna. It also supports node-to-node connectivity of up to 1 kilometer in open space, which extends coverage distance with 3 Mb/s to 6 Mb/s throughput and unlimited hop counts, Lu said. A weatherproof enclosure protects internal components from wind, rain and temperatures ranging -40°F to 131°F (-40°C to 55°C).

Each access point costs less than $2000, Lu said.