Following on a partnership announced last year, the NetAmerica Alliance of rural service providers teaming up to build out 4G coverage has chosen to deploy Ericsson's (NASDAQ:ERIC) 4G LTE mobile broadband router. The alliance's network will be the first in the U.S. to use the gateway device, which will be branded as the UniPort Home Gateway by NetAmerica.
NetAmerica first struck an equipment deal with Ericsson almost a year ago, at that point involving packet core solutions and other gear, including a mention of future customer premises equipment. Last fall, NetAmerica rolled out a pilot network that had customers using PC dongles to for network access, with the future promise of premises gear-a promise set to be kept with the UniPort.
The UniPort router can be used in homes or businesses, and has external antennas that improve coverage in rural environments. It offers 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, wired Ethernet and RJ-11 telephone interfaces to the customer premise. The gateway device has a DHCP server, supports DHCP relay, a DNS server, built in firewall, security, encryption, web-based management, centralized monitoring, IP routing and supports VoIP for voice services.
NetAmerica is planning to use the UniPort with its IMS SuperCenter to offer voice services both to conventional telephones (connected to its RJ-11 port) and to IP phones (up to 4) connected via Wi-Fi or via an RJ-45 port. It's nice to see rural service providers teaming up and taking an open-minded approach to mobile broadband where some other larger carrier might be more hesitant.
- see this press release
NetAmerica rolled out a pilot network last fall
NetAmerica and Ericsson teamed up in March 2011