The muni-WiFi market has been growing--there are now more than 300 municipalities and localities in the U.S. where muni-WiFi has been installed or is in the process of being deployed. Proxim has just released MeshMAX, a new multi-radio family of products that incorporate WiMAX, WiFi mesh and WiFi access. Geoffrey Smith, Proxim's vice-partner for worldwide marketing and product management, told Unstrung's Richard Martin that the MeshMax line is "the industry's first integrated WiMAX/mesh product....Everything else is just doing partnerships, with separate boxes."
The MeshMax unit addresses two major problems of mesh gateway products--either data access is not available everywhere customers need it, or what data access exists does not offer sufficient bandwidth. The new Proxim product, which lists for $999 per node, replaces the separate WiMAX subscriber unit and mesh gateway with a single integrated device, combining a Layer 2 switch, a WiMAX node and a dual-radio WiFi mesh AP. The product will be software-upgradeable to 802.16e when that standard is ratified. The MeshMAX line is available in both the unlicensed and licensed frequency bands.
In-Stat analyst Daryl Schoolar says that "Proxim's MeshMAX is the right product line at the right time...The convergence of WiMAX and mesh is a natural evolution in broadband wireless, as it maximizes the strengths of both technologies." The company says that MeshMAX products are being evaluated by service providers in a number of countries.