Wireless net offers low cost, reliability
Startup taps smart missile technology with new TNS microwave network
By Stephanie LaPolla
Next year, when you pick up your phone or dial out to the Internet,
the technology connecting your business to the outside world might be
the same stuff the U.S. Army uses in its smart weapons program.

This week, 6-month-old Triton Network Systems Inc. will announce a
deal with a major defense contractor that gives Triton the exclusive
commercial rights to a military-grade chip design.

The technology -- MMIC (monolithic microwave integrated circuit) --
will be the key to a forthcoming broadband wireless network from
Triton that will provide corporate users with reasonably priced,
reliable, integrated voice and data services.

The Triton network, dubbed TNS, consists of an MMIC-based microwave
transceiver, which operates on the Federal Communications
Commission-regulated 38GHz frequency, and a briefcase-size microwave
device, which sits on a building rooftop to provide as many as 120
phone connections to the wireless network.

Java-enabled telecommunications networking software operating within
Triton's T-Gate gateway resides at a local Regional Bell Operating
Company and provides an interface to the phone network's central
office switch as well as an Internet service provider node for Web

The company plans to begin beta testing TNS in December and hopes to
turn on the network in mid-1998.

Officials at the Safety Harbor, Fla., company said the technology
will help telcos move into new areas without having to spend the time
or money required to install land lines. Triton officials said the
technology will cost about $600 per line.

In comparison, fiber costs between $500 and $1,500 per line to lay in
the ground, according to Jon Miller, an independent consultant, also
based in Safety Harbor, who has worked at both AT&T Corp. and Lucent
Technologies Inc.

"As more service providers try to compete with one another, they will
look for this kind of [technology] so that they don't have to dig
holes," Miller said. Chicago-based Ameritech Corp. is experimenting
with similar technologies that operate over 38GHz microwave

But the applications operate in point-to-point closed networks within
a 3-mile radius, said company officials.

In addition, the 50-milliwatt transmission of current 38GHz equipment
can be interrupted by heavy rain.

The made-for-military MMIC, which runs at 2 watts, will broadcast
through foul weather and will solve the distance issue.

The gallium arsenide MMIC chips are embedded in missiles as part of
their guidance systems.

"Pilots can engage a target from 5 miles away," said Matthew Bigge,
vice president of Military Commercial Technologies Inc., in Safety

A TNS microwave connection in a dry climate can reach as far as 30
miles, he said.

Moreover, Triton is adding a level of flexibility with its Java-based
software to put more control in the hands of users.

"The Java software will allow the end user to log onto the Internet,
go to [the carrier's] Web page and turn off a call-waiting option.
>From that point, they won't get billed anymore," Bigge said. "An hour
later, they could turn it back on."

MilCom is kick-starting Triton with about $1 million in financial


Also in this issue:

- Cyberspace think tanks bring far-flung viewpoints together
- Term papers are hot commodities on the Internet
- Students Go Online and Choose Candidates With A Click
- Meeting reportedly will aim to fight obscenity on Internet
- Advertising on Internet forecast to grow rapidly
- Hackers: Devils or Saints?
- Netscape updates ahead of Microsoft Targets corporate market 
- Identity theft: The dark side of the information age 


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