By Eric Griffith
August 6, 2003
Think souped-up, long-range Wi-Fi or the future WiMAX products will be the only way to get wireless backhaul to a hotspot or even a home? You’ve forgotten about satellite.
Hughes Network Systems of Germantown, Md., the division of Hughes Electronics that runs the DIRECWAY satellite broadband service (the parent company also operates the DIRECTV satellite television service), this week announced a Wi-Fi solution that will initially target leisure travelers staying in resorts and recreational vehicle (RV) parks.
Mahesh Bhave, vice president of new business development for Hughes calls it “Wi-Fi with a backend. The backhaul continues to be the DIRECWAY, but we had to do a lot of development work to support the Wi-Fi part of it.”
The target market, initially, is wireless ISPs that would serve the access to resorts and parks that would offer it as an amenity to customers. Because of the nature of the satellite coverage, DIRECWAY can service almost any area in the continental United States (they’re limiting the service to the U.S. for now) where a dish can see an unbroken view of the southern sky.
Bhave says Hughes provides “the total mile solution… [customers] get certified Wi-Fi gear, plus a dish and the backhaul.”
Hughes is not releasing any details on pricing as yet, but Bhave says the cost will be competitive with DSL broadband. It will be up to the WISP what the charge is, if any, to end users. ISPs interested in the service can get information at 888-HNS-WIFI.
Eventually, Bhave sees this DIRECWAY Wi-Fi solution being offered not just though ISPs and VARs but also direct to businesses and consumers. He says, however, there’s nothing stopping consumers using DIRECWAY broadband service today from setting up a home network if they connect an access point to a Hughes DW4020 routing terminal in their homes or offices. Standard DIRECWAY connection ends at a USB plug connecting to a PC, but according to the FAQ at DSL Reports, setting it for sharing requires only a software setting change and hooking a hub or access point to the computer’s Ethernet card.