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FAQ - Have a question about wireless?

FAQ
Q Is Wireless Reliable?
A Yes, Wireless has advanced enough to be very reliable. Over the years it has gone through many changes but with the introduction and use of 802.11x it has become wide spread and well tested.


Q What is a Canopy system?
A A Canopy system is based on wireless broadband technology that provides for high-speed Internet access. The Canopy system was designed to provide cost-effective, "last mile" high-speed data access for residential and business customers who previously were underserved or lived in locations where infrastructure is non-existent. Canopy system is comprised of three major components: Access Point (AP), Subscriber Module (SM) and the Backhaul Unit). A Canopy system utilizes the unlicensed UNII bands (5.25 - 5.35GHz or 5.725 - 5.825GHz).


Q How does Canopy technology differ from other broadband services?
A Today, virtually every broadband service employs different technologies, e.g., phone lines, coaxial cable, large-cell wireless, satellite. The Canopy system is different from all of these solutions in that it offers affordable, high-speed Internet access to the end-user using wireless communications in the 5GHz unlicensed U-NII band. Compared to other wireless delivery technologies (namely MMDS), the Canopy technology uses a smaller community of cells and involves significantly less network investment.


Q Other wireless technologies such as cell phones sometimes experience inconsistent service e.g., dropped calls. How reliable is the Canopy technology? What kinds of tests/trials has Motorola conducted to ensure reliability?
A As opposed to the wireless technologies that support the mobility of a cell phone, the Canopy technology is a fixed wireless system that supports ranges of approximately two miles or less. The technology provides a similar user experience to other fixed wireless devices (the user's radio experience with reception consistency of a home stereo receiver tuned to a local community radio station or home TV tuned to a local community TV station). The Canopy technology has been rigorously tested for over two years and is currently in customer service with over 40 wireless Internet service providers (and growing) around the country.


Q One of the biggest issues surrounding the Internet is security. The term "wireless" immediately raises questions on the security of the system. Most consumers have experienced the unintentional interception of portable phone signals and cellular phone signals and equate this to wireless. Explain, in laymanís terms, how Canopyís wireless technology addresses these problems.
A First, unlike analog telephone transmissions, digital transmissions of Internet traffic are much more difficult to intercept because of the complex cryptology associated with the technology. Second, like other Internet applications such as secure email or web browsing, users can employ many security applications which prevent eavesdropping on transmissions - whether such security applications are installed on the last-mile link to the userís house or elsewhere in the Internet. Third, a Canopy system provides an over-theair encryption, which cryptographically scrambles the data bits, preventing anyone "listening" to the airwaves from deciphering any messages. In fact, the Canopy systemís over-the-air link may be the most secure leg of the typical userís Internet connection.


Q What are the transmission speeds for Canopy systems?
A Multi-point systems provide a total of 6.2 Mbps at each Access Point (AP) unit. This is divided as 4.7 Mbps on the downlink and 1.5 Mbps on the uplink.


Q What frequency spectrum does a Canopy system operate in?
A The Canopy system operates in the 5GHz-unlicensed National Information Infrastructure band, commonly called the U-NII band.


Q Is it possible to link together multiple systems to form a network?
A Yes, multiple Canopy Access Point Clusters can be combined to create a network.


Q Is there a limit to the number of systems that can be linked together to form a network?
A No, there is virtually no limit in adding capacity or coverage to the Canopy network. One of the unique characteristics of a Canopy system is the fact that it does not cause interference with any other components in the system, which is key to supporting this type of expansion.


Q Since the Canopy product is based on line-of-sight technology, have you encountered significant interference issues?
A Since Canopy systems were always intended to operate in an unlicensed band, they were designed from the start to work in interference-riddled environments. In fact, one of the unique characteristics of Canopy systems is their ability to tolerate interference from other sources. The Canopy technology, unlike many of its competitors, does not cause interference upon other components in a Canopy system because of its low carrier to interference ratio of two to three decibels. For example, in order for a signal to interfere with a Canopy signal, it must be at least 50 percent of the strength of the intended Canopy signal to interfere with the throughput of the Canopy system. Some competing wireless technology signals need to be 16 times stronger than the external interference to operate well.


Q What are the major benefits of a Canopy system for consumers?
A Canopy system offers a wide range of benefits to consumers:
The Canopy system is a more resistant and resilient than other wireless technologies used in similar applications.

A Canopy system can provide high-speed service to any customer within range.

Because of the shorter range than other wireless alternatives, the Canopy system employs a smaller customer unit, which is lower cost and easier to install.

Works in all environments. The Canopy system has been tested in multiple environments, including extreme heat and cold and in high winds.


Q Competitive technology is already available, so what makes the Canopy solution faster and more affordable than other technologies?
A The Canopy system was designed from the ground up, to provide the last mile of high-speed data connectivity for residential and small/medium business. The Canopy system has an impressive C/I (Carrier to Interference) ratio on the order of 2-3 db, significantly better than that of other wireless products available today. Having a low C/I ratio equates to reduced numbers of trouble tickets, fewer calls for support, and reduced truck rolls.


Q Is there any special training required for the end-user?
A No, the Canopy solution is very simple for the end-user to operate and requires no specialized training.


Q What about rain? Doesnít that affect the reliability of a fixed wireless connection?
A In most cases, people asking this question are somewhat familiar with millimeter-wave microwave radio, used at 23, 28 or 38 GHz. And it is true, that you have to build in sufficient margin in the receive signal level to accommodate the fading that occurs due to rainfall at those frequencies. However, even at millimeter-wave frequencies, a well-designed link should be very reliable with a "5 - 9s" availability (that means 99.999%) even if its range will be only a couple of miles in heavy rain areas. In addition, at 5.8 GHz, the UNII band frequency that B2X is using, the attenuation of the radio signal due to rain is insignificant and so rain has no practical impact on the link reliability at all.


Q Isnít there a potential problem with interference in the unlicensed bands, such as UNII? What happens if another system is installed nearby and causes interference to the wireless connection?
A It turns out that there is a greater perception of interference problems than actual interference problems! Most cases of interference in unlicensed bands have occurred at the densely populated lower ISM frequencies: 900MHz and 2.4 GHz, where there is less path attenuation and directional antennas more difficult to deploy because they are much larger. B2X staff have not experienced any interference problems in the higher 5.8 GHz ISM or UNII bands. Additionally, there is an FCC requirement that unlicensed equipment must not cause interference to any other systems: see FCC Rules, Part 14.247 and 15.401. In practice this means that there is a huge advantage to the first user in deploying his system.


Q Is this faster than DSL?
A Many businesses today need fast access both upstream and downstream, and most DSL connections cannot support symmetrical access. B2X's service supports symmetrical broadband with the flexibility to increase service levels in the future.


Q How long does it take to get my service installed?
A Because B2X's wireless technology is not dependent on, or limited by, your local phone company and its copper wires, service can be installed in as little as one day. On the average within 2-4 business days.


Q If I am an ISDN, DSL or T1 user, how difficult is it to switch to B2X's wireless service?
A It's fast and easy! B2X can simply plug into your LAN or computer via a standard Ethernet connection and will handle all of your IP addressing and allocation.


Q Is B2X Wireless always on?
A Yes, B2X is an always on device and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


Q Where can the B2X System be mounted?
A Canopy is a line of sight service which means that the B2X System must be mounted where it has direct visibility to the Access Point on the Tower. Typically, the roof or eave is the best location for the equipment.


Q What does the B2X System look like?
A The device resembles a small satellite dish. To see an actual picture click here.


Q Can I keep AOL?
A B2X will significantly enhance your AOL service. In fact, if you want to retain AOL's content, you might consider changing your AOL service to one of their "bring your own access" plans so you can receive the benefits of B2X and AOL in the most cost effective manner.


Q If my computer has an "always-on" connection to the Internet, am I vulnerable to hackers or viruses?
A Anytime your computer is connected to the Internet it is vulnerable to hackers. It does not matter if your connection is always-on or dial-up. The main difference in vulnerability is the length of the exposure. Always-on connections provide a conduit to the Internet that is a two-way street, allowing hackers to exploit the connection and access your system. The longer your computer has uninterrupted access to the Internet, the longer it is vulnerable to a potential hacker.


Q I want to connect to my company's network from home, should I take some security precautions?
A Yes. Information is a key asset you should protect, whether it is company secrets or your personal data. Your company probably has a policy regarding security when you are telecommuting or communicating while on the road. Check with your network administrator to determine your company's requirements. If you're connecting to the office via the Internet, you should use a firewall with Virtual Private Networking (VPN) capabilities to protect you and your company. While the VPN solutions used by many companies, specifically those using the IPSEC protocol, will work with B2X network, troubleshooting and support are not offered. For assistance on setting up or troubleshooting a VPN, please contact your network administrator or the vendor of the particular software that you are using.


Q What is DES (Data Encryption Standard)
A In 1972, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (called the National Bureau of Standards at the time) decided that a strong cryptographic algorithm was needed to protect non-classified information. The algorithm was required to be cheap, widely available, and very secure. NIST envisioned something that would be available to the general public and could be used in a wide variety of applications. So they asked for public proposals for such an algorithm. In 1974 IBM submitted the Lucifer algorithm, which appeared to meet most of NIST's design requirements.

The Lucifer algorithm was adopted by NIST as a federal standard on November 23, 1976. Its name was changed to the Data Encryption Standard (DES). The algorithm specification was published in January 1977, and with the official backing of the government it became a very widely employed algorithm in a short amount of time.


Q Can DES be broken?
A Yes, In 1998 the Electronic Frontier Foundation won the RSA DES Challenge II-2 contest by breaking DES in less than 3 days. EFF used a specially developed computer called the DES Cracker, which was developed for under $250,000. The encryption chip that powered the DES Cracker was capable of processing 88 billion keys per second. More recently, in early 1999, Distributed. Net used the DES Cracker and a worldwide network of nearly 100,000 PCs to win the RSA DES Challenge III in a record breaking 22 hours and 15 minutes. The DES Cracker and PCs combined were testing 245 billion keys per second when the correct key was found. In addition, it has been shown that for a cost of one million dollars a dedicated hardware device can be built that can search all possible DES keys in about 3.5 hours. This just serves to illustrate that any organization with moderate resources can break through DES with very little effort these days.


Check with your B2X representative to find out how we can connect your business.


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