News Release Details

Wi-LAN and Hutton Communications Demonstrate New 5.8 GHz Fully Integrated Outdoor Fixed Wireless Access Product at Customer Day in Dallas, Texas

07/22/2003



CALGARY, Canada and DALLAS, Texas - July 22, 2003 - Wi-LAN Inc. (TSE:WIN), a global provider of market-leading broadband wireless communications products and technologies, and Hutton Communications Inc., a distributor of commercial wireless communications and related equipment, demonstrated Wi-LAN's new LIBRA 5800 series products recently in Dallas, Texas. LIBRA 5800 is the license-exempt 5.8 GHz version of Wi-LAN's third generation series of Non-Line-of-Sight (NLOS) Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) products. In a matter of hours, Wi-LAN and Hutton set up a broadband point-to-multipoint network that demonstrated streaming DVD-quality video and music and large file transfers over a four mile (6.4 kilometre) link for a line-of-sight building to building configuration, and over a one mile (1.6 kilometre) link for a non-line-of-sight building to vehicle configuration. Wireless equipment operators, resellers and system integrators experienced real-time broadband wireless performance that no other product has demonstrated.

"I have seen other 5.8 GHz products that claim non-line-of-sight performance, but I have never seen anything like this," said Ron Ryan, Senior Vice President Sales & Marketing, Hutton Communications, Inc. "I have never before seen live video and music and large file transfers all happening at the same time flawlessly in a true non-line-of-sight situation. The other demonstrations I have viewed only measured the RF connection and the signal strength. This product is truly unique."

"LIBRA 5800 provides access to customers in metropolitan markets who could not receive service using conventional fixed wireless access equipment," said Jim Johnston, President of Johnston Technical Services, a wireless systems integrator. "This product really opens up new opportunities for broadband wireless service providers."

LIBRA's NLOS capability significantly increases fixed wireless access subscriber coverage, allowing service providers to reach many more customers within a service area. NLOS also makes installation much simpler and less costly, reducing the service provider's required investment. Installation and network set-up is further simplified with quick start menus and PDA support eliminating the need for a laptop computer. LIBRA also offers tiered service management through CIR/MBR (Committed Information Rate / Maximum Burst Rate). The lightweight single unit design eliminates the need for expensive accessories and coaxial cable, is faster and less expensive to install, and can be mounted indoors or outdoors without the need for any climate control.

These characteristics combine to significantly improve the service provider's business model by providing an improved return on a smaller required investment and a much shorter investment payback period.

"LIBRA 5800 greatly improves our business model since we now can deliver high speed wireless service to the many customers that we were not able to connect before", said Mike Bender, Director of Engineering at airBand, a wireless Internet service provider headquartered in Dallas, Texas. "We are really excited to begin deploying this product."

"Wireless WiFi "hotspot" operators like T-Mobile and Clearwire, an MMDS license holder, came to evaluate Wi-LAN's non-line-of-sight technology and investigate how this product may help them with current and future deployments. Backhaul options are essential for local area networks, especially for the increasing popular WiFi networks," said Phil Metcalfe, Regional Sales Manager, Wi-LAN Inc. "This product delivers a raw 32 Mbps of backhaul capacity without requiring line-of-sight to the base station. That is 20 times what operators can expect from a T1 line and is far more scalable than DSL service, without the line-lease charges."

LIBRA is the only product series today that uses the same W-OFDM (Wide-band Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing) technology that has been approved as the mainstream physical layer in the IEEE WirelessMAN Standard 802.16a and in the current draft of ETSI HiperMAN. This wireless Metropolitan Area Network (wireless MAN) W-OFDM delivers robust outdoor NLOS performance that Wi-LAN has proven in various commercial networks in over 30 countries worldwide. LIBRA 5800 delivers powerful and spectrally efficient performance of up to 32 megabits per second (Mbps) data rate in narrow 10 MHz channels and a range of up to 66 kilometres (41 miles) in a point-to-point configuration, or an aggregated data rate of up to 192 Mbps per six-sector cell and a radius of up to 35 kilometres (22 miles) in a point-to-multipoint configuration. LIBRA 5800 also features multi-layered security and has tiered service management and user-friendly network management, all in a new lightweight, easy to install, weatherproof, single unit design.

"We had a full house in Dallas and all attendees were keen to learn about LIBRA 5800," said Nico Roelofsen, Vice-President, Global Sales, Wi-LAN Inc. "IEEE representatives were very interested to see the product that is the closest thing to the IEEE Standard 802.16A available today."

Orders are being accepted today for Wi-LAN's LIBRA 5800 products. To place an order, or for more information on the LIBRA products, please call Wi-LAN at (403) 273-9133, or email info@wi-lan.com. LIBRA 5800 will be generally available in August 2003 and alpha customer demand has been strong. LIBRA 5800 deliveries will be allocated as required to ensure broad dissemination of the products. Hutton Communications is planning to demonstrate the product to its value-added resellers soon.

More about LIBRA 5800
LIBRA 5800's effective throughput is very competitive with other 5.8 GHz OFDM-based wireless offerings, and its effective spectral efficiency is best-in-class. This allows customers to provide more throughput with limited spectrum. The following table compares the throughput and spectral efficiency of LIBRA 5800 with wireless products based on 64-carrier W-OFDM that is similar to the IEEE Standard 802.11a. While 64-carrier IEEE 802.11a-like W-OFDM products boast a maximum link rate of 54 Mbps, the effective (TCP) throughput it is comparable to LIBRA 5800, and the effective spectral efficiency of these products is much less than LIBRA 5800 because they use twice as much spectrum:

LIBRA's multi-layered security makes it one of the most secure network solutions available in the market today. Physical layer security is built in through Wi-LAN's patented W-OFDM technology and user-configurable centre frequencies. Security at the MAC layer features a proprietary radio frequency (RF) protocol, individual unit identification codes and VLAN tagging. The network layer features IP address filtering, and network management security is provided through protected SNMP, FTP, ping or TELNET access and a password-protected user menu.

LIBRA 5800's flexible and scalable design supports both point-to-point and point-to-multipoint applications, and can be configured with either an integrated antenna or an external antenna. For point-to-point applications, LIBRA 5800 series includes Rapid Deployment (RD) and Extended Range (ER) products, and for point-to-multipoint applications Access Point (AP), Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) and Long-range Customer Premises Equipment (LCPE) products are available. The point-to-point systems can deliver a data rate of up to 32 Mbps and a range of up to 66 kilometres (41 miles). The point-to-multipoint systems can deliver an aggregated data rate of up to 192 Mbps per six-sector cell and a radius of up to 35 kilometres (22 miles), with up to 2000 CPE's or LCPE's per sector. Subscriber coverage is further improved by LIBRA 5800's 10 MHz channel size. Only 12.5 MHz separation is required between centre frequencies, allowing up to 10 non-overlapping channels to be deployed in the 125 MHz available in the 5.8 GHz license-exempt frequencies (5.725 GHz to 5.85 GHz). LIBRA 5800's narrow 10 MHz channel size makes it relatively simple for customers to avoid interference by utilizing radio frequencies that are not being used by others, compared to competitive offerings that use 20 MHz per channel, making them less robust in crowded radio frequencies.

The current hardware is capable of supporting several generations of system software enhancements. Features such as dynamic modulation, dynamic power control, and additional network management features are being made available, as the market requires, via over-the-air software upgrades. Also, current products will have a migration path to future products based on the IEEE 802.16a (North America) and emerging ETSI BRAN HyperMAN (European and international) standards.

Wi-LAN Key Product Characteristics
Wi-LAN has been providing market-leading fixed wireless access products since 1995, and OFDM-based products since 1999, so Wi-LAN customers are buying products from the most experienced company in the fixed wireless access equipment business. Wi-LAN's current line includes the following key products:

LIBRA AWE VIP
Key Technology W-OFDM MC-DSSS VINE
Target market Urban ISP’s (4) Enterprise / ISP’s (4) Enterprise / ISP’s (4)
Coverage Excellent NLOS (5) Line-of-sight Structured NLOS (5)
Range Up to 66 km. Up to 75 km. Up to 60 km.
Base station capacity (per sector) 2,000 CPE’s (6) 1,000 CPE's (6) 500 nodes
Frequencies available 5.8 GHz / 3.5 GHz 5.8 GHz / 2.4 GHz 2.4 GHz

Notes:

(1) The W-OFDM Advantage
Wi-LAN's patented Wide-Band Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (W-OFDM) technology is a variation of OFDM that further improves its characteristics. The signal reception is corrected for distortions, allowing greater transmission speeds, and the signal is processed to maximize the range and multipath resistance. W-OFDM allows spectrally efficient, non-line-of-sight, point-to-multipoint wireless networks to be implemented while minimizing interference with adjacent networks.

(2) The MC-DSSS Advantage
Wi-LAN's patented Multi-Code Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum technology (MC-DSSS) makes it possible to multiply the carrying capacity of traditional spread spectrum systems by as much as ten times.

(3) The VINE Advantage
Wi-LAN's patent-pending Versatile Intelligent Network Environment (VINE) technology permits the implementation of long distance, medium subscriber density, broadband Internet access networks a node-at-a-time. VINE networks deal with Non-Line of Sight (NLOS) limitations in a cost-effective manner by using an anypoint-to-multipoint topology. Established network nodes can be used as repeaters for other nodes that do not have either Line-of-Sight or direct connectivity to the base station node.

(4) An ISP (Internet Service Provider) is an organization that provides Internet access to its customers. Other services, such as voice communication and video broadcast, may be bundled with the Internet access service.

(5) NLOS (Non-Line-of-Sight) capability allows fixed wireless access networks to be configured without the requirement that antennas at the customer premises locations be visible from the base station antenna. This capability significantly increases fixed wireless access subscriber coverage, from conventional levels, allowing service providers to reach many more customers within a service area and making the wireless service provider's business model much more compelling.

(6) CPE (Customer Premise Equipment) is the equipment that resides at the customer premise location.

Wi-LAN Customer Support
As part of the Wi-LAN turnkey wireless network solution, the company provides engineering services to help customers and business partners plan and install wireless networks. From preliminary engineering service, such as system design and maintenance planning, to consulting and on-site service and training, Wi-LAN offers a full range of engineering services to help customers get the most from their wireless network equipment.

About Wi-LAN Inc.
Wi-LAN is a global provider of broadband wireless communications products and technologies, specializing in solutions for secure wireless provision of high-speed data and telephony over distance for enterprises and telecom service providers. Wi-LAN's broadband wireless access products are known worldwide for their high quality and industry-leading technology. Wi-LAN believes its W-OFDM patents are necessary for the implementation of devices using the IEEE standards 802.16a, 802.11a or 802.11g, the ETSI BRAN HiperLAN/2 standard or the current draft of the ETSI BRAN HiperMAN proposed standard. Wi-LAN licenses its W-OFDM technology and has executed non-exclusive W-OFDM license agreements with semiconductor companies. Wi-LAN is the Chair Company of the OFDM Forum (www.ofdm-forum.com)and an active member of the WiMAX Forum (www.wimaxforum.org). Wi-LAN's common shares trade on The Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol "WIN." Detailed information on Wi-LAN can be found at www.wilan.com.

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