Assured Wireless launches HPUE testing, package offering as company becomes profitable
High-power-user-equipment (HPUE) provider Assured Wireless is profitable just eight months after introducing products that extend the effective range of FirstNet service, and the vendor now is unveiling coverage-testing capabilities and ‘simplifying’ its offering, according to company President and CEO John Goocher.
Assured Wireless’ technolory—as a standalone product or embedded in the AirgainConnect AC-HPUE antenna-modem—drives the HPUE capability allowed only on 700 MHz Band 14 spectrum licensed to FirstNet to extend the effective range and data throughput of FirstNet service by 80%. AT&T, the contractor building and maintaining the FirstNet system, branded the service as MegaRange upon announcing the capability in January.
Better range and greater throughput apparently have been appealing to the public-safety market, Goocher said.
“We’re seeing a great deal of interest and lots of activity,” Goocher said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “Sales are going well, and we are excited—we have now finally caught up with our channel demand.
“We’re actually approaching the market right now and are planning to raise some capital, now that we’ve turned profitable.”
While things are going well for Assured Wireless and company officials “are having a ton of fun” demonstrating the capabilities of HPUE, but “as with any initial product launch, you learn a lot after the first six months” Goocher said.
For Assured Wireless, one of the key learnings has been that there has been some confusion among potential customers about what they need to purchase to implement HPUE, because the three components of the standalone solution—the AW12 modem, the Ethernet injector and the mounting bracket—were priced separately, Goocher said. Given the fact that almost all deployments require all three of these components, they now will be sold as a complete package, with an MSRP of $999, he said.
“We are simplifying our product just a little bit to make it easier to understand, easier to install, and easier to deal with,” Goocher said. “What we are saying now is, ‘Yes, you need all three [components], because then it’s going to work in 100% of the cases and installations, by taking the Ethernet port and plugging into the WAN port of the router you have, or your PC.
“It just makes it simple for people to understand, because that’s what people are used to.”
Assured Wireless is in the process of working with AT&T to get the new package pricing included on the FirstNet.com web portal, Goocher said.
When installed properly, the Assured Wireless HPUE solution and MegaRange solution can make a significant difference in the comfort level that public safety has with LTE connectivity from FirstNet—something Goocher learned firsthand during a recent conversation with the communications officer in a sheriff’s department.
“He said, ‘Thanks to MegaRange, I now have 100% coverage in my county,’” Goocher said. “And I went, ‘Damn! That’s exactly what I want for everybody. But how are we going to know? How are we going to drive those answers?”
Indeed, almost from the moment that MegaRange became commercially available, there was a desire by public-safety personnel to determine exactly how well it worked in their jurisdictional territories, each of which have their own terrain that result in varied signal-propagation characteristics.
Drive testing certainly was possible, but many early testers found the process to be rather cumbersome and expressed difficulty parsing the results.
With this in mind, Assured Wireless is launching its MegaTest web portal to support drive-testing initiatives in a manner that is designed to be more convenient for users and more consistent in the results they provide, Goocher said.
In addition, the company also has launched a service to conduct drive testing anywhere in the continental U.S. in a given area for existing and potential customers, according to Goocher.
“If the agency doesn’t have time to drive their particular geography, we’re happy to book that [MegaMachine] vehicle and help them drive their territory to make their best decisions about FirstNet,” he said.
Assured Wireless currently has one MegaMachine vehicle, but the company is willing to increase the number of MegaMachines based on the demand for the service, Goocher said.