Rajant looks to position unique mesh technology as carrier offload solution

Lynnette LunaWireless networking solutions company Rajant says it has a viable data offloading solution for mobile operators grappling with data congestion on their networks.

The company, which was born after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, offers what it calls a Kinetic Mesh Network, which is now used extensively by government, the military and mining operations to gain connectivity via some rather rough terrain.

Miners use the solution to connect laptops and VoIP phones up to 3,200 feet from the mine communications center. The battery-powered wireless access nodes enable voice and data communications across a meshed, self-healing network, as well as communication with other IP-based client devices.

The beauty of Rajant's gear, however, is its ability to use multiple available networks such as Wi-Fi, private government bands and commercial spectrum-ranging from the 350 MHz band to the 6 GHz band--and create one unified network that can hop from channel to channel when a network node fails or interference is present. In fact, the mesh network can operate for years without a network administrator, said Bob Schena, CEO of Rajant. And users connect standard Wi-Fi devices such as laptops, PDAs, GPS units, IP cameras, sensors and RFID tags. 

"We've taken non-mobile frequencies and applied them to the network so they are useful for mobile devices," Schena said. "We've focused on mobility not in the traditional sense, but in the network node capability. It's how we utilize multiple frequencies to create a single network."

Interestingly, the company does not use software defined radio (SDR) because the technology is too expensive, Schena said. Instead, Rajant incorporates a switch that aggregates different frequencies.

Schena said the company has been approached by commercial operators interested in offloading data traffic onto such a network. The mesh system can plug into an Ethernet port in an LTE network node and become a complement to LTE networks. Schena said telecom folks have been making trips out to Rajant's testing facility in Arizona.

Rajant's latest push, however, is to connect the Gulf of Mexico's 5,000 oil platforms into one big system it calls GulfMesh. "At the moment, most of those platforms don't have video or security capability, so a vast number of oil platforms are unguarded out in the gulf," Schena said.

This will likely be another valuable tool in the box of tricks operators are looking to amass to stem the data deluge. Small-cell architectures are another tool. --Lynnette

P.S. In fact, you can check out my special report on small-cell architectures here.