Navigating an End

By Carol Ellison  |  Posted 2005-05-17 Print this article Print

-to-End Path"> Its similar to a navigation system in your car that changes your route dynamically as you drive. As Rick Rotondo, director of marketing for Motorolas mesh networking division, explains it: "The system is always looking at its neighbors and its end-to-end path."
He points out that conditions change in the radio world on a packet-by-packet basis.
"What you care about is the quality of your link to the person youre communicating with. They literally could be standing next to you, but if theres a lead wall between you, youd have no signal." Because MEA finds the most efficient path, packets do not have to be resent to get through, resulting in higher data rates and better quality of service. Rotondo likens it to a bucket brigade where signals are passed from device to device to their destination. Buffalo is not the first deployment of the technology, just the first under Motorolas flag. Before acquisition, Mesh Networks deployed a 26-square mile network in Medford, Ore., a 60-square-mile network in Garland, Texas, and a mesh between the Kennedy Space Center and Patrick Air Force Base in Coco Beach, Fla. "That one was interesting," said Rotondo, "because Coco Beach only has 30,000 population year-round and 1.2 million visitors each year. So all of the infrastructure really had to be built to handle a far larger population than actually resides there." Whats more interesting than the technology itself is the kind of applications it handles. In Coco Beach, it enables public employees to have a mobile desktop, connecting back to the citys server remotely and eliminating the downtime that happens when they have to return to the office to file reports, check mail and pick up work orders. Portsmouth, England, deployed the technology across its public transportation system, wirelessly connecting its 308 buses to 35 intelligent bus stops, where passengers can see where buses are on the router, whether theyre running on time, receive service messages and pay fares electronically in advance of the buss arrival. Read more insight here from columnist Carol Ellison about the state of Wi-Fi in the United States. The devices, with the technology embedded within it, effectively become the network and the network gets stronger with more routes, higher bandwidth and more redundancy with each device that is added. Motorola recently announced a multi-radio, multi-frequency device that uses four radios, two in the 2.4GHz unlicensed Wi-Fi range and two in the licensed public safety bands at 4.9GHz. Its designed for municipalities and state governments that want to separate critical operations such as homeland security and police communications from everyday traffic. The technology, which evolved from what was previously developed for military use, supports up to 250 mph mobility as well as position location detection. Presently, the technology is targeted to government and enterprise customers. But, if it succeeds there, dont be surprised to see it coming to a device near you. Carol Ellison is editor of eWEEK.coms Mobile & Wireless Topic Center. She has worked as a technology journalist since 1986 and has covered the wireless industry since 2000. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on mobile and wireless computing.

Carol Ellison is editor of's Mobile & Wireless Topic Center. She has authored whitepapers on wireless computing (two on network security–,Securing Wi-Fi Wireless Networks with Today's Technologies, Wi-Fi Protected Access: Strong, Standards-based Interoperable Security for Today's Wi-Fi Networks, and Wi-Fi Public Access: Enabling the future with public wireless networks.

Ms. Ellison served in senior and executive editorial positions for Ziff Davis Media and CMP Media. As an executive editor at Ziff Davis Media, she launched the networking track of The IT Insider Series, a newsletter/conference/Web site offering targeted to chief information officers and corporate directors of information technology. As senior editor at CMP Media's VARBusiness, she launched the Web site, VARBusiness University, an online professional resource center for value-added resellers of information technology.

Ms. Ellison has chaired numerous industry panels and has been quoted as a networking and educational technology expert in The New York Times, Newsday, The Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio's All Things Considered, CNN Headline News, WNBC and CNN/FN, as well as local and regional Comcast and Cablevision reports. Her articles have appeared in most major hi-tech publications and numerous newspapers and magazines, including The Washington Post and The Christian Science Monitor.

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