Presto Communications is the latest in a growing group of companies to give cable operators the ability to beam data and voice services wirelessly to small- and medium-sized businesses.
The first version of the California-based startup’s PrestoBlaze platform uses standard 802.11g radios, though the company also plans to incorporate more advanced WiMax technology as it standardizes and matures.
PrestoBlaze builds a wireless bridge between wireline DOCSIS networks and mobile or remote users. The platform can also connect “nomadic” business customers to the cable operator’s network. The platform itself is comprised of a strand-mounted base station that contains a DOCSIS interface, an outdoor omni-directional or directional antenna. The company also offers a management and control platform called PrestoSoft.
Privately held Presto demonstrated the system at the 2004 CableLabs Summer Conference in Keystone, Colo. Company CEO and founder Yuval Schwartz says a couple of unnamed cable operators are testing the Presto platform.
“Some of them are saying, yes, we want to buy,” he says.
He adds that the platform is capable of offering service over a range of network architectures—coax, hybrid fiber/coax (HFC) and deep fiber.
Presto is one of an expanding group of companies that provide cable operators with wireless extension products. That group includes the likes of Wireless Bypass, Vcom Inc., Arcwave and Nortel Networks.
Although the group tends to use unlicensed bands, Presto hopes to differentiate itself with an architecture that does not require a separate proprietary antenna at the receiving site alongside a provisioning system that meshes with the operator’s existing authentication mechanism.
Beyond data, Presto envisions that cable operators could use the technology as a basis to fuel mobile voice services as WiFi-switchable phones enter the marketplace.
Schwartz declines to specify a price for the system, saying only that Presto’s system is “competitive” with other wireless offerings.