Edgewater claims 50x performance improvement with WiFi3

Startup Edgewater Wireless Systems is claiming its WiFi3 infrastructure technology, which delivers three independent channels on a single wireless access point, will provides 50 times the aggregate throughput of single-channel Wi-Fi access points.

"Not to be overly dramatic, but we're really at the end of the single-channel era," said Andrew Skafel, president of Edgewater Wireless, arguing that common single-channel access points are easily overwhelmed by today's skyrocketing wireless data needs.

The benefit of having three channels on a single access point is that devices capable of faster data throughput can occupy a different channel than slower devices, eliminating bottlenecks for the quicker devices, said Skafel. "To our knowledge, we're the only ones that are doing this (combining three Wi-Fi channels) today," he added.

Ottawa-based Edgewater, which is touting WiFi3 (pronounced "Wi-Fi cubed") at this week's CTIA Wireless 2012 conference, claims to own more than 20 patents. "We have a rich patent portfolio in multi-channel wireless technology," said Skafel.

Edgewater's access points use proprietary chipset technology that was originally conceived for the handset market and thus offers low power consumption, said Skafel. "We have developed from the ground up a chipset specifically for the access-point market," he said. "It's a true high-performance chipset designed with the carrier-grade access point in mind."

Skafel said WiFi3 is not related to the new 802.11ac technology that the Wi-Fi Alliance aims to certify early next year. 802.11ac will employ wider communications channels, make better use of MIMO technologies and provide a higher modulation coding scheme to improve Wi-Fi throughput and performance.

In a February 2012 investor presentation, Edgewater claimed to have $2.4 million in existing purchase orders for its products. The company has contracts with carriers--such as Cable & Wireless--service providers and systems integrators. "The key market verticals that we target are large service providers in have 3G and 4G data offload space. We have a very good fit with the wireless ISP space. And then we play particularly well in high-density applications," said Skafel, citing stadiums and airports as locations that could benefit from WiFi3.

According to Edgewater, research testing conducted in February 2012 by testing and certification researchers from The Tolly Group showed that Edgewater's WiFi3 outperformed three leading carrier-class access points, which WiFi3 exhibiting a performance improvement of 54 times over single-channel radio solutions.

The start-up Wi-Fi equipment vendor was spun out of Edgewater Computer Systems, a military technology contractor. KIK Polymers acquired 100 percent of Edgewater Wireless for 35 million shares in October 2011, and in January 2012 KIK changed its company name to Edgewater Wireless Systems.

For more:
- see this Edgewater presentation (PDF)

Related articles:
802.11ac ready to scream into the marketplace
Google looking to test Wi-Fi gateway
Chipset vendors prep 802.11ac Wi-Fi technology for big consumer push