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Internet Telephony: March 17, 2009 eNewsLetter
March 17, 2009

AirWalk Introduces New Enterprise Femtocell, EdgePoint PRO

By Tim Gray, TMCnet Web Editor

AirWalk Communications (News - Alert) today introduced a compact enterprise femtocell that brings cellular service indoors – regardless of how far into a building you may roam.

Building on its consumer model, the EdgePoint, AirWalk has extended the IP-based cellular radio network to assure mobile phone users secure and continuous coverage in a variety of enterprise settings, regardless of the location’s proximity.
Serge Pequeux (News - Alert), president and CEO of AirWalk, told TMCnet that enterprises have shown considerable interest in EdgePoint PRO as an affordable solution for “cellular-challenged” indoor settings, especially where macro networks tend to fail.
“They cannot accommodate the coverage requirements,” said Pequeux. “EdgePoint PRO can contribute to cellular usage by extending seamless service into the enterprise.”

The Texas-based company expanded on the original miniature access point designed for homes and small offices after customer feedback pushed the company into making the platform available to enterprise clients.
Allen Nogee, a principal analyst for In-Stat (News - Alert), says the enterprise space was ripe for the service.
“A totally untapped market to date is the one for enterprise femtocells,” said Nogee. “These devices will not only allow both small and large businesses to provide a better wireless signal for their employees, but also to offer wireless/PBX (News - Alert) integration at a level never before possible.”
Essentially, the EdgePointPRO is a compact cellular access point device, or femtocell, which provides cellular service inside buildings where penetration may be spotty. The idea is to allow a seamless transition from the car into your office, or into one part of the office from another, without experiencing any drop off in usage. Often, users that previously had inconsistent cellular service in a specific locations added an EdgePoint femtocell to their existing service plan and experienced continuous service throughout a household or small office, according to the company.
In-building minutes of use are offered at a fixed rate while supporting additional enterprise voice and data applications, according to the company.
The EdgePoint PRO has a clustering feature that assures “soft handoff” between multiple units and the macro network and a device supports up to 28 users with 200mW of power, according to the company.

The unit, essentially a plug-n-play device, acts as a cellular access point plugging directly into an existing broadband connection to extend 3G wireless CDMA services for voice and data.
Pequeux says installment is simple and can be done rather quickly by a single IT staffer.  it is available as a wall mount or rack mount unit and integrates the base transceiver station (BTS), base station controller (BSC), packet control function (PCF), and operations and maintenance (O&M).
The 1xEV-DO EdgePoint PRO provides enterprises a viable alternative to a WiFi (News - Alert) network. Users are able to use their existing mobile phone or laptop with data air card to access high-speed data.
In addition, the EdgePoint PRO in 1xRTT allows users to rely on their mobile device as their primary phone both inside and outside their workplace.
By installing an EdgePoint PRO within an enterprise operators:
  • Improve in-building service which increases cellular usage in the enterprise market.
  • Maximize existing macro network efficiencies and reduces deployment costs
  • Utilize existing IP backhaul technologies reduces CAPEX.
  • Unrivaled handoff capability and scalability allows for seamless coverage throughout a location.
  • Compatibility with existing handsets improves user satisfaction and minutes of use.
As TMCnet reported last year, analysts and wireless service providers alike are looking toward femtocells as mini access points that are being touted as the next big thing in the wireless space.

Tim Gray is a Web Editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To read more of Tim’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Tim Gray


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