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SkyPilot Touches Down At Low End Of Muni Wi-Fi

As more and more municipal wireless networks are deployed, cities and service providers are finding that fulfilling promises of citywide coverage over the unlicensed spectrum is more difficult than anticipated.

Seeing a market opportunity, SkyPilot on Monday announced a new access point -- known as the SkyAccess DualBand -- that it hopes will help fill holes in wide-area Wi-Fi networks at a relatively low expense.

A streamlined version of SkyPilot's flagship SkyExtender DualBand product, the new dual-radio devices will not extend a mesh network, but will act as edge connections that provide the last hop of the system. Like SkyExtender, the new devices have two radios: a mesh backhaul component operating in the 4.9 GHz to 5.8 GHz frequency band, and a Wi-Fi access point that operates in the unlicensed 2.4 GHz band. In addition to providing high-speed Internet access to residential and business users, the dual-radio SkyAccess offers backhaul connections over distances up to 12 kilometers, the company said, to upstream mesh nodes.

The new device is "really a coverage fill-in" product, said SkyPilot VP of product marketing Brian Jenkins, "that offers increased flexibility to service providers."

Using the SkyAccess nodes at the edge of the network can reduce overall capital expenses for network build-outs by up to 33%, Jenkins claims.

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