Strix systems takes aim at digital divide

Strix systems takes aim at digital divide

Wireless mesh products with the lofty aims of promoting equality and combating crime

Strix Systems has expanded its product line-up to provide wall-penetrating wireless mesh connectivity targeted at SMBs and home users.

Now in its second year in the Australian market, the wireless networking vendor has established a foothold in mining, enterprise and transport markets through its two-year partnership with distributor Wireless Tech Australia.

The US-based vendor also expects to provide municipal wireless Internet coverage via agreements with Sydney city councils on the North Shore and in the South-West shortly. It has also submitted plans to provide wireless broadband throughout NSW's most popular cities in the recent NSW government tender.

Strix vice-president of marketing and product management, Nan Chen, called wireless Internet an inevitable progression, much like how telephony had transitioned from wired to wireless services.

"I think we are at the infancy of the overall development [of wireless Internet]," he said. "It took cellular [telephony] 25 years to develop, but I think Internet [services] will be quicker - possibly within the next 10 years.

"The overall market - without considering the government tender - is worth tens of millions to begin with. With that [NSW government] initiative in place, it will probably be worth hundreds of millions."

According to Wireless Tech Australia's sales manager, Eric Gagnaux, Strix currently has up to 15 second-tier resellers deploying wireless mesh products in areas inaccessible to traditional wired networks.

Strix's products were especially suited to systems integrators specialising in certain markets, or ISPs looking to service certain geographical areas, Gagnaux said. For example, Chen named a $250,000 wireless mesh network that was recently deployed in the Victorian Mount Buller ski fields via systems integrator SnowSports Interactive.

The accessibility of wireless mesh networks in areas typically difficult to service could also have potentials in bridging the digital divide between metropolitan and regional areas in Australia, Chen said.

"Certainly wireless mesh could be a significant opponent of that [wired Internet services like FTTN] because it brings equality to areas less served by private ISPs," he said.

While Chen said the Australian market for wireless mesh networking products were said to still lag about 2-3 years behind the US, potential was expanding quickly.

Gagnaux said the use of wireless mesh products by some US municipalities to monitor crime was soon to spread to some local suburbs.

"We are working with city councils in Australia to install video surveillance to reduce crime rates; that's what happened in the US too," he said.

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