Sunday, June 29, 2003

Orthogon Unveils Wireless Ethernet Bridge in Unlicensed 5.8 GHz

Orthogon Systems (formerly Pipinghot Networks), a start-up based in Waltham, Massachusetts and Ashburton, UK, announced commercial availability of a Wireless Ethernet bridge that operates in the license-exempt 5.8GHz spectrum band. Orthogon Systems uses intelligent orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) along with a special multi-beam space time coding technique to provide far greater radio coverage than has previously been possible with non-line-of-sight (nLoS) technology. Unlike conventional systems that use a single channel radio, Orthogon Systems transmits several data beams via multiple antennas. These beams are recombined by multiple receivers at the other end of the point-to-point connection. If any one radio path is faded, there is a high probability that other paths are not, so the signal still gets through. Orthogon's Wireless Ethernet Bridge also employs adaptive modulation from BPSK to 64QAM based on the received signal quality, as well as an intelligent dynamic frequency selection that switches to another clean radio channel when any interference is detected on the current channel. The company claims link availability approaching 99.9999% (six nines). The technology is also expected to deliver 8 times the nLoS range and much greater probability of installation than the best of current generations radios. The effective range depends heavily on terrain, foliage and the presence of buildings in the radio path. Orthogon's first product release supports data rates of 15 Mbps, although subsequent updates to the software defined radio will optimize the transmission for data rates or 23 Mbps and later 30 Mbps and above. A pair or radios in a weatherproof casing for creating a Wireless Ethernet bridge is expected to cost $11,995.

Separately, Orthogon Systems announced $7 million in new venture capital from Atlas Venture and The Carlyle Group, bringing total funds raised to $28 million. The funding will be used for the sales, marketing and ongoing development of its products.

  • The Orthogon Systems team includes Phil Bolt, Nigel King and Grant Grafton, each of whom previously served in Nortel Networks' Broadband Wireless business unit. Orthogon Systems was founded in January 2000 as Pipinghot Networks.