1994 looks like being the year of wireless communications as the US gears up for Personal Communications Services and Microtel Ltd from Hutchison Communications (UK) Ltd comes to market to battle it out with Mercury One-2-One Ltd in Personal Communications Network. One company that intends to be ready to exploit the new capabilities is Belmont, […]
1994 looks like being the year of wireless communications as the US gears up for Personal Communications Services and Microtel Ltd from Hutchison Communications (UK) Ltd comes to market to battle it out with Mercury One-2-One Ltd in Personal Communications Network. One company that intends to be ready to exploit the new capabilities is Belmont, California-based Multipoint Networks Inc, which has unveiled waveNet, a new digital wireless system for large scale point-of-service data networks such as automatic teller machines, retail credit card authorisation, airline reservation systems, lottery and gaming systems, and similar metropolitan area network applications. The system is claimed to have a true throughput rate of 19.2Kbps and is specifically designed to meet the bursty, moderate-speed needs of cash dispensers and other transaction applications over a range of about 30 miles. The company claims that automated waveNET transactions can be completed in less than half a second in 99% of cases. Comparable transactions on the dial-up network take 10 to 30 seconds, it claims, adding that the error rate is 100 times lower than that of wired telephone data networks. Mean time between failures, 50,000 or more hours, is also claimed to be substantially better. The total amortised cost per transaction on waveNet is said to be about half a cent, compared with four or five cents on the ordinary local telephone network, and security is claimed to be enhanced. The system combines a proprietary radio access protocol and patented digital transceiver, uses the Simple Network Management Protocol and software maintenance is centralised and can be updated by downloading into Flash memory. The system consists of the LaunchPAD terminal transceiver for handling all data communications between terminals and the data hub, each supporting to 255 terminals, which can be hung on the wall anywhere near the terminal. Inside is the fully synthesised digital transceiver operating at 19.2Kbps; terminals can be configured to handle protocols such as SDLC and X25. The radio access protocol controls message traffic between hub sites and LaunchPADs, and is claimed to deliver 80% network utilisation under heavy continuous loads. The mpHUB is the home base terminal for wireless connection between LaunchPADs and the host data network. Up to 2,000 LaunchPADs per channel can be linked together via the mpHUB, which supports RS-232, V.35 and Ethernet interfaces and TCP/IP, X25, SDLC, bisync and Frame Relay. The network management system uses an HP OpenView Network Node Manager. LaunchPADs are $1,900 in volume, mpHUBs cost $7,500 each.