Channel ploughs into ski fields

Channel ploughs into ski fields

Brisbane-based wireless services start-up, SnowSports Interactive, has deployed its first wireless mesh network across the ski fields of Mount Buller, Victoria.

Managing director, Steve Kenny, said the new solution, whispar, had taken 18 months to bring to fruition. It is based on technology and products from US-based vendor, Strix Systems.

The ski resort rollout included 14 wireless access nodes and a number of repeater stations to fill out the blank spots, Kenny said. The infrastructure was worth about $250,000.

SnowSports partnered with reseller, National Wireless, and distributor, Wireless Tech, to complete the network design and implementation. Both provided training for SnowSports staff. As part of the contract, SnowSports will manage the network control centre.

"We've now got coverage across 90 per cent of Mount Buller," Kenny said. "Previously it was shocking. We found it hard to connect to the Internet initially while we were deploying the network."

National Wireless engineer, Geoff Wood, said it was the first computer-related wireless deployment it had undertaken.

"We have been in wireless for decades, but this deal represents a new era for us," he said. "It's the first major Wi-Fi installation we've worked on."

He claimed demand for wireless technology had grown significantly during the past year.

"I think everyone has been staying away out of fear," Wood said. "But the quality of product out there now is a lot higher."

Kenny said the network was currently being used to provide basic Internet access and VoIP. The company would also shortly launch a wireless video service and had several ski field applications in the pipeline. The whispar network offered commercial speeds of 256Kbps with throughput of up to 54Mbps.

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