Motorola last week announced the AP 7181, a standards-based, outdoor mesh wide area network (MWAN) access point that leverages 802.11n technology to offer maximum data throughput of 300 Mb/s.

At the core of the AP 7181 is the platform for Motorola’s latest indoor wireless LAN access point, the 7131, said Chip Yager, director of operations for Motorola’s mesh networks product group.

“We started with that as our core to make sure we would have seamless indoor/outdoor networks when we deployed this as an outdoor node,” Yager said. “We added to that truly high-powered, outdoor-optimized 802.11n radios. What we’ve ended up with is a very different outdoor proposition than everybody else in the space. We’ve got seamless indoor/outdoor, because we built it on the same platform as our indoor node, so we make one contiguous system.”

As a standard, 802.11n provides as much as 10 times more data throughput and potentially greater range than 802.11g, Yager said. In addition, the AP 7181 uses dual polarization in each antenna to increase the data throughput between nodes to 300 Mb/s, he said

“With those kinds of data rates, you have something that can offer a lot of capacity to support the public-safety needs,” Yager said. “When you talk about getting live video to a police vehicle during an incident, that’s not possible with air cards, but that’s easy for a network like this.”

During the fourth quarter, Motorola will be shipping a version of the AP 7181 that features connectivity via the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz unlicensed bands. Another version that will include the 4.9 GHz public-safety band is expected to be available early next year, Yager said.

Currently, the AP 7181 will be shipped with Motorola’s proprietary MeshConnex technology used to establish mesh links. However, customers will have the option of utilizing the 802.11s meshing standard when that standard is finalized, Yager said.

Existing customers of the Motorola MotoMesh Duo can upgrade to the 7181 via a software upgrade, Yager said.

When compared to the Motorola MotoMesh Quattro, the 7181 provides greater data throughput and range, while the MotoMesh Quattro provides greater mobile connection reliability and ad-hoc client meshing through Motorola’s proprietary MEA technology.

“We’ll be able to offer a lot of mobility [with the AP 7181] through this standard-based network through the vehicular modem we already make,” Yager said.

The retail price for the AP 7181 is slightly less than $5,000, Yager said.

“It’s very competitively priced, and we think we go well beyond what everyone else is offering in terms of performance out there,” he said. “It provides better range and better performance for even the a/b/g clients.”

For customers wanting to build such a mesh network, Motorola recently introduced the Broadband Planner, a software tool that enables advanced RF modeling, network optimization and post-deployment measurement and verification in an easy-to-understand visual environment that integrates Google Earth, said Alan Lopez, Motorola’s manager of wireless broadband solutions marketing.

“This tool allows network designers, in a much easier way, to create a network they can trust and rely on right from the outset, so it can be deployed quickly and right the first time, and be used from the get-go,” Lopez said.