September 2, 2008

Firetide Wireless Mesh Brings Rural Korean Communities Into the Network Fold

Citizens living in rural areas near Gongju City in Korea's Chungcheong Province can now access the Internet as well as municipal network services thanks to the deployment of a new geographically broad wireless mesh network by Korea's KT Corporation and integrator LANS Co. Ltd. The "Gongju u-City" (Ubiquitous City) project uses technology from Firetide Inc., a leading developer of wireless mesh and access networks, to reduce the coverage gaps between urban and rural areas and provide IP-based ubiquitous sensor network services for managing water and agricultural systems, among others.

Gongju has a rich history but is perhaps currently most intriguing as the potential relocation site for a new South Korean capital city. In 2004, the Korean government announced that by the year 2030, Gongju would claim that title from Seoul, which lies 120 km to the north. While the project would help relieve overcrowding and the economic influence of Seoul over the rest of South Korea, it would also push the capital beyond the reach of North Korea's current artillery. The idea has proven controversial and remains mired in debate, but the mere possibility of relocation has inspired a great deal of new development projects in the region.

"During periods of rapid development, the costs involved in laying cable often presents enormous obstacles in helping rural communities keep pace with their urban hubs," said Myeongjin Kim, general manager of project integrator LANS Co. Ltd. "By using Firetide wireless mesh, we were able to achieve a long-range mesh backhaul throughput of 20 Mbps over a distance of 11 miles at far lower costs in time and money than we could have achieved using fiber optic cables."

Officials for Gonju City were sold on using Firetide after long-range (6 miles) benchmarking results proved the company could achieve throughput rates of close to 25 Mbps. "It is amazing to see anything more than 20 Mbps throughput over the distances this project required," said Kim. "I've never seen this kind of performance and range in a mesh product-- plus the Firetide protocol calculates the delay time for varying distances extremely well."

LANS Co Ltd. employed Firetide HotPort(R) mesh nodes and HotPoint(R) access points to create the Gongju u-City network, which connects rural communities at distances varying between 6- and 11- miles. Each mesh node can be programmed to understand its own position and distance from other nodes within the geographical framework, a feature that assists in increasing performance. Firetide HotView Pro's simple network management functions mean any network professional can easily make adjustments to the system to ensure best performance and full-time availability.

The project's success is the latest encouraging news for Firetide. "Broad geographic deployments present a number of unique challenges, including maintaining line-of-sight," said Bo Larsson, chief executive officer of Firetide. "We have paid enormous attention to how our technologies route data across the network to overcome exactly those issues, and without performance degradation. The throughput levels at Gongju and its rural communities confirm we are more than just on the right track."

The KT Corporation considers the project a major success and has plans for additional projects in the near future. Integrator LANS Co. also plans to use Firetide mesh technologies to extend the ubiquitous network and online services to other small cities and rural areas, right down to tiny island villages.

About Firetide Inc.

Firetide is the leading provider of wireless mesh and access networks that enable concurrent video, voice, and data for municipal, public safety, and enterprise applications. Firetide HotPort(R) mesh nodes, HotPoint(R) access points, HotClient(TM) CPEs, HotView Controller(TM), and HotView Pro(TM) network management platform provide a reliable high performance wireless infrastructure and access solution for video surveillance, Internet access, public safety networks and temporary networks wherever rapid deployment, mobility and ease of installation are required. Headquartered in Los Gatos, Calif., Firetide is a privately held company with worldwide product distribution.

About KT Corporation

The KT Corporation (KT) is Korea's leading telephone service provider with nationwide coverage for fixed-line communication networks and over 20 million subscribers. KT became a high-speed Internet provider in 1999 and just one year later, in June 2000, the company seized the number one position in this market. This was followed by a landmark achievement in September 2000 when KT subscribers surpassed the one million mark, the highest number ever reached among local telecom players. KT established itself as one of the world's best broadband service providers when its number of subscribers grew to four million by March 2002 and five million by January 2003. KT launched Commercial WiBro (Wireless Broadband) service in Korea on June 30th, 2006. For more information, visit