Motorola unveils low-cost mesh product
LAS VEGAS–Motorola this week is displaying the HotZone Duo, a new mesh-networking product designed for users seeking a standards-based, low-cost path into the wireless broadband arena.
Not officially announced yet, the five-pound HotZone Duo nodes will feature two Wi-Fi based radios and a low-quantity list price of $1800 (one radio activated) or $2100 (both radios activated), said Rick Rotondo, director of marketing for Motorola’s mesh-networks product group.
“The whole point is that it’s small, cheap and light,” he said.
The list price is “about half” the cost of many competitors’ single-radio systems or Motorola’s high-end MotoMesh product, which features four radios in each node, Rotondo said. Hot Zone Duo nodes initially will be offered with 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz radios when they become generally available on July 1, but a 2.4-4.9 GHz configuration should be available in the fourth quarter, he said.
While the MotoMesh product has sold well, Rotondo said many potential customers have balked at its price and the fact that the two MEA radios—allowing mobile connectivity and ad hoc meshing—in the package are proprietary. As with the non-MEA radios in MotoMesh, all radios in the Hot Zone Duo will be software-upgradeable to comply with the 802.11s meshing standard as soon as it is finalized, Rotondo said.
“This answers the question for those customers who want a fully standards-based system that is cheaper and more visually appealing,” Rotondo said. “And, because it only weighs five pounds, it can be mounted almost anywhere.”
Ruggedized for outdoor environments, the Hot Zone Duo supports the 802.11e for quality-of-service management and consumes 15 watts of power with both radios operating at 50% duty cycle. Another product feature is Hop-by-Hop Security, which ensures the enhanced security for packets as they travel between nodes in the mesh.
“Even if you have an older client device that only supports WEP [wired equivalency privacy], the data you send will get their maximum level of encryption possible as it hops through the network,” Rotondo said.