With the recent announcement of Motorola’s new fixed wireless access system, Canopy, residential and small business customers can now look forward to affordable access to the Internet at Broadband speeds of up to 6 Mbps (aggregate data rate). ISPs also look set to benefit with new business opportunities and an extended customer base.

Already being widely implemented across the U.S. and emerging economies in Eastern Europe, the Canopy system uses the 5GHz frequency spectrum and is licence-free in the countries where it is being deployed. It is the ideal solution for geographic areas where cable and DSL services are unavailable or system deployment is not feasible due to infrastructure costs.

According to Nik Patel, business manager at Motorola’s Commercial, Government & Industrial Solutions Sector (CGISS): Middle East and Africa (MEA), access requirements and Internet usage needs vary widely across different communities, business and individual households, and the company is beginning to see more diversity emerge in the delivery of telecommunications.

"As a leader in end-to-end systems for the delivery of interactive digital video, voice and high-speed data solutions for broadband operators, Motorola’s Canopy system will support additional delivery options for community networks, wireless and community service providers and small- to medium-sized private networks," he says.

The system consists of three core components: a subscriber module (which connects via Ethernet to a user’s computer or network), an access point with integrated antennae (interfaces via Ethernet to serve the subscriber modules) and a backhaul module (for serving greater distances). Canopy is scalable for meeting user needs with each access point capable of serving up to 200 subscriber modules.

"Each access point has a reach of approximately 5 kilometres but can be extended up to 15 kilometres using the Canopy reflector kit. However, should greater distances be required, 20Mb/s backhaul units can be linked together to reach distances of up to 50 kilometres and they can even be daisy-chained to create numerous links of up to 50 kilometres each," adds Patel.

Canopy’s simple network design makes it easy to install and there is no need to run overhead or in-ground wire, install microwave links or software. Intelligent protocols also make the deployment and operation of a large wireless network easy and cost-effective. The access point modules also feature all the network management and diagnostic capabilities needed to control and monitor the network remotely.

Patel notes the inherent flexibility of the system, indicating how easily it can be adapted to serve the needs of many customer communities and specific configurations.

"The point-to-multipoint application is ideal for providing high-speed Internet access in cluster villages and small business parks, while the backhaul application could be used as a dedicated data link - well suited for small business enterprises. In addition, security companies could use Canopy to interconnect CCTV equipment and relay images to a central control station," he says.

The Canopy solution is highly scalable to accommodate changing needs, wider geographic areas, larger populations and higher traffic volumes. And with its high tolerance for interference and directional antennas, adding new transmitters creates more capacity ­ not more interference.

"Apart from delivering superior performance using a modulation scheme that improves the quality of data delivery and mitigating interference from other systems, Canopy also offers security with over-the-air encryption that scrambles data bits and helps prevent interception," concludes Patel.