Strix Systems has launched an improved outdoor wireless mesh node, with more radios, and more intelligence to handle its own routing decisions.

The new Strix product packs more radios - as many as six in all - into a smaller package and doubles the number of users each radio can support. The result is that outdoor mesh networks can handle more users and traffic with fewer nodes.

The Strix Outdoor Wireless System (OWS) 2400-30 can support any combination of 802.11 radios for client access and backhaul in a 12-by-10-by-6-inch box, which is 30 percent smaller than the company's previous model. Typically, two radios are dedicated for the backhaul connections, one receiving and one transmitting. These links route client traffic over the mesh to nodes that have a wired connection to the Internet or a corporate network.

Users also could plug into these same slots radios that use the 4.9GHz bands, spectrum that is set aside for police, fire and emergency use. In early 2007, Strix plans to release 802.16 radios, which support fixed and mobile WiMax connections. The OWS 2400-30 can hold any combination of these radios.

Version 3.0 of the Strix operating system doubles to 128 the number of users who can associate with each radio. Company executives say that each six-radio node has a maximum capacity of 100 Mbit/s that can be shared among client and backhaul connections, or about three to six times the previous limit.

The software also incorporates a new code that lets each node make routing decisions, a technique that doesn't require an entire network to reconfigure around a failed link. That saves time, allows for building very large-scale networks and minimises latency. Strix executives say internal tests show zero data loss and zero added latency over 10 hops through the mesh. The OWS 2400-30 is available in the US, priced at $4,500.