WISP Market Snapshot: Bitlomat Acts as a Broadband Ambassador
The following is from Channel Vision Magazine – the entire article can be found here.
WISP Market Snapshot: Bitlomat Acts as a Broadband AmbassadorPosted by Tara Seals on October 21st, 2013
The wireless ISP market is growing at unprecedented rates, spurred on by the availability of high-performance yet still cost-effective equipment that WISPs can use to roll out cost-effective broadband to underserved markets. A new vendor has recently jumped into the space, with a message of expansion. Bitlomat—the name is a mash-up of “diplomat” and broadband “bits”—aims to be the broadband ambassador to the wireless ISP market, according to executives.
“We are the easy, low-cost alternative for WISPs,” said David Coleman, marketing envoy at the company. “In terms of fixed-wireless radio manufacturers, we want to play a new part in the price-performance spectrum by offering price points similar to or less than the leading gear-maker, and with a performance level that is in many cases twice what is typical of our competitors. We are getting a little bit of a buzz because the industry is looking for a high-performance challenger in the market.”
Bitlomat gear operates in the 5GHz band for now, but the company will be expanding that, Coleman said. Both the Bitlomat 100 and 200 deliver 100mbps throughput on dual 100MB LAN ports and are, he said, more cost-effective than the competition.
The Bitlomat 100 is a compact wireless device that can be used as a CPE in point-to-multipoint networks, as a point-to-point directional device in a bridge set-up, or as a narrow-beam base station in a small point-to-multipoint set-up. It embeds a high-gain, 30 degree wide, dual-polarized directional antenna with a gain up to 16.5 dBi. It lists at $89 in North America, with international pricing being slightly different due to regional tariffing differences.
The Bitlomat 200 is a compact and cost-effective wireless device with an embedded 90 degree wide dual-polarized sector antenna with a gain of 20.5 dbi. The product is designed specifically to be a 2×2 MIMO base station in a point-to-multipoint network, but it can also be used for a point-to-point set-up if needed.
The Bitlomat 200, designed with an integrated dual-polarized 2X2 MIMO sector antenna, significantly improves both performance and ease of installation compared to solutions where the wireless device and sector antennas are two separate products that need to be put together. The removal of any connectors and antenna cables reduces losses, increasing the gain and therefore the range of the device. At the same time, no cables means reducing the potential points of failure with the product.
The Bitlomat 200 has been designed with a metal cast enclosure to minimize colocation interference that typically reduces significantly the performance of networks where multiple base-stations are installed nearby on the same tower—and that’s included in the pricing, unlike rival products, Coleman noted. That saves up to 60 percent on the cost of the base station, which carries a list price in North America of $229.
It’s also attempting to be easier to work with than the status quo, like, for instance, eschewing phone trees in favor of live humans answering the phones. It also is storing back-up inventory in-region, so that back-orders will be kept at a minimum. “There’s no waiting on the slow boat from China,” said Coleman.
The brand-new company’s goal is to become the “Internet ambassador,” and it has a branding and service strategy around the idea that is fairly comprehensive. For instance, its service guarantee is dubbed Bitlomatic Immunity—a risk-free 60 days to try the gear with a free replacement or full refund if the user isn’t satisfied. The Passport is the name of the company Web portal, and sales executives are called Ambassadors.
“We want to connect the next billion people,” said Coleman. “It’s important to us.”
While Bitlomat has been investing in R&D for six years and testing its products and developing a go-to-market strategy for months, it only recently launched earlier in the year. Coleman said that as its founders mulled what kind of company it wanted to be, the fixed wireless segment leapt out as an obvious choice for spreading broadband to the underserved—and not just for quantitative reasons.
“Of all wireless segments out there, this one is different from the rest of them because you really find a collection of competitors who are aware that as a whole, they’re doing something important. When we were in beta testing, our industry testers were editorializing on the finest of details, breaking down our products to the nitty-gritty. Qualitatively, throughout this market, there is a level of care about the customers and the products that serve them that is really unique. Add on the growth rate and the financials and it’s a clear choice to be here.”