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S.L. firm launches digital, wireless Internet service

The SISNA system needs no modem or digital subscriber line

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SISNA Inc. has joined the high-speed Internet access market, offering up fixed wireless service to homes and businesses.

The company, a pioneer internet service provider (ISP), boasts of its ability to provide broadband access to people who cannot get digital subscriber line (DSL) or cable modem service.

"There are several dead spots in the valley where you can't get that type of service, especially in an affordable form," said Morgan Cloward, SISNA's marketing manager.

The service is independent of a landline. No cable has to be laid or modifications made to existing copper wires, he said. The wireless broadband uses electromagnetic airwaves, either radio or infrared, to communicate information from one point to another without any physical connections, though applications work the same as they do on wired networks.

A big selling point for businesses, Cloward said, is that wireless networks can support large numbers of end-users and can cover large physical areas by adding access points to extend coverage.

SISNA claims speeds up to 11 megabits per second. "The slowest wireless speed we record is 512k, which is half a T1," Cloward said, adding that it's typically about 2 mbps, and expandable to 11. The speed is the same upstream or downstream, and service actually improves with more users on the fixed wireless network because they act as "repeaters," strengthening the signal for other users.

The wireless technology is rooted in military applications, where security has been a major design factor. SISNA has built in security provisions offering complex encryption so that its system is more secure than most wired networks, according to Cloward.

Salt Lake-based SISNA started as a traditional dial-up (dial-up is included as a backup with the new service), then migrated into T1 connections and frame relay. It became a DSL reseller, as well, and started experimenting with Enterasys, using their equipment to provide the fixed wireless high-speed access. It's similar to access provided by Sprint, he said, but faster.

Each form of high-speed access has some challenge, and SISNA's is no different. "Sometimes we do get interference, like from an electrical storm," Cloward said. He likens it to the occasional problem consumers may encounter with a satellite dish. "If it's snowing or stormy, the service won't shut off, but it may not be nearly as fast as it could be."

The service includes the Internet Provider (IP) and typically runs about $50 to $60 a month. The consumer must buy the equipment ($300-$500) but then owns it, including a transceiver, which looks like a parabolic antenna and comes with a switch and a router, adding to the level of security and encryption. Pricing is somewhat higher for businesses.

"If you can install your own satellite dish, you can install this yourself, and it has very user-friendly software," Cloward said, but he added that professional installers seem to get somewhat faster speeds.

The service is available from Tremonton to Provo.

For information, call 924-1475.


E-MAIL: lois@desnews.com