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Riptide Wireless

With the difficulties that currently plague wireless technology, it seems like just a pleasant fantasy to imagine a world without wires. At Riptide Wireless, they’re working toward making it a reality.

With the difficulties that currently plague wireless technology, like slow adoption and interoperability hurdles, it seems like just a pleasant fantasy to imagine a world without wires. But that doesn’t mean that some companies aren’t working to make the dream a reality. At Irvine-based Riptide Wireless, they’re working for a future chock full of wireless computing. President and CEO Andra Sachs talks about an unwired world, the next generation of broadband access, and keeping up with demand.

What does the company provide?

We install a combination of mesh, point to multi-point, VoIP, and a free roaming solution for our customers.

We’ve just started offering VoIP solutions. We have our customers installed in 2 or 3 hours, and we don’t have to deal with any phone companies. We’ve run into customers that are paying as high as $1,100 per month with SBC T-1 connections. They’re amazed that we can come in and charge $99.95 per month per meg. This really equates to a full T-1 bi-directional for $199 per month.

What got you personally interested in doing this work?

I had been in the electronics industry for over 15 years and had the opportunity to get involved with broadband in 1997 and have been focusing on newer and better technologies ever since. I have a vision of an unwired world, or at least Orange County to start with. I want to take my laptop with me everywhere and have mobile access. This is what I want to create.

What exactly are mesh networks?

Mesh networks is a new generation of broadband access, which allows customers to connect via adjacent customers, rather than a base station. Using roof-mounted nodes and steerable directional antennae, the network transmits to and receives from other nodes, routing around obstacles and eliminating the problems of line-of-sight or traditional point-to-multi-point solutions. Multiple paths are provided for each customer ensuring enhanced coverage and resilience.

Mesh networks are fast broadband that is able to provide data services up to 25 mbps of duplex dedicated Internet service to business, residential, and mobile surfers. The network provides wide geographic coverage as well as capability providing the opportunity to reach up to 100 percent of the businesses and residential prospects. We’re currently using our won homegrown network and a combination of mesh technologies and other solutions.

Why do you think there’s a need for this?

Everyone wants to be mobile and have fast service, as well as have the ability to access the Internet wherever they are. Our network will make this possible.

Why do you think there isn’t more attention paid to mesh networks?

It is a very new technology. We are the first company to deploy it in California. We were also one of the very first people selling and marketing DSL and it was very difficult to sell this service in the beginning also. We just need to get the word out and educate the public as to what our network will really do and how it is superior to wired T1s, DSL and all other sources of connectivity.

What are the largest challenges that you see in providing your service?

Demand is higher than the speed we can build out. The biggest challenges are growing the network nationwide and providing the mobile service to all cities, small and large.

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