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Edgewater Claims 50x Better Wi-Fi Performance

As The Wireless Association’s CTIA show unfolds in New Orleans this week, one relatively new wireless company hopes to make its name known among potential customers and fellow industry players. Edgewater Wireless is a Canadian startup that is throwing some pretty big claims around in a market known for big claims. But will people buy in enough to learn more?

Always skeptical of multiplier-based advertising (5x this! 20x that!), I had to chuckle a bit at Edgewater’s introduction to its WiFi3wireless infrastructure product set. To claim "over 50x performance improvement" over market leaders' access points is to invite scrutiny, and so I read on. It turns out that Edgewater has the requisite Tolly Group white paper to back up its claims, and the story behind WiFi3 gets interesting because Edgewater has a new design approach on which to build its differentiators.

Other than being an annoying superscript to fumble over when typing, the "3" in WiFi3 hints at what makes Edgewater different from single-channel AP makers. Edgewater pitches that single-channel radios have run their course (I’m pretty sure that Cisco and Aruba might contest the notion), and that WiFi3 provides a three-lane wireless highway. The Edgewater solution is built on proprietary radio technology, where each lane is a different channel, thereby bringing a range of advantages to the environment that ultimately lead to vastly improved performance for a range of client types and deployment scenarios.

Having read through the Tolly report on Edgewater, I want to believe that there is room in the industry for disruptive radio technologies, but I’ve seen too many paid reports to immediately accept this one as gospel. I’m not saying I don’t consider it to be valid, but I would have to see similar performance in my own environment before I’d truly become a believer. The same can be said about virtually any similarly commissioned study on wireless. But that’s not to say that Edgewater’s WiFi3 doesn’t bear more scrutiny, as a triple-channel radio that's not touted as an array is new and different and does have the potential to shake things up.

WiFi3 promises fewer deployed APs because capacity needs are approached differently when you deliver three channels from a single mounting location. I can readily accept that. With the cost of a typical enterprise access point and the quantity of APs that are deployed in high-performance wireless environments, reducing capex is a nice thought.

Higher aggregate and per-client throughputs at reduced costs is the thrust of the Edgewater story, but along for the ride are supporting features that give the WiFi3 feature parity with the competition. These include channel and power management (Powerzoning, in Edgewater parlance--think Cisco RRM), mesh capabilities, advanced quality of service and security features, the ability to do different things among the three channels per AP in the name of flexibility, and a cloud-based network management system.

Edgewater is looking to drum up business in many niches, from the enterprise setting to muni-Wi-Fi, and stadiums and campuses. Given that there are no controllers involved, WiFi3 deploys relatively easily in all scenarios for a solution that can be managed via smartphone, if need be.

Whether WiFi3 can live up to its claims of 50x better performance than others in the market certainly remains to be seen, but at the same time Edgewater is bringing something new to the wireless party. That alone makes it interesting, and if the startup can actually compete, wireless customers will be better for the competition. See more at

I have no relationship with Edgewater.