News Release Details

wi-lan's libra 5800 fixed wireless access product receives fcc approval


SEPTEMBER 30, 2003 - 09:00 ET


High-capacity Non-line-of-sight 5.8 GHz W-OFDM Product Now Available in the United States

Wi-LAN Inc. (TSX: WIN), a global provider of broadband wireless communications products and technologies, today announced its LIBRA 5800 product series has been approved by the Federal Communications Commission for use in the 5.8 GHz frequency band in the United States. The LIBRA 5800 uses Wi-LAN's patented
W-OFDM (Wide-Band Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing) technology to achieve high-capacity NLOS (non-line-of-sight) network performance.

"This is our first commercial W-OFDM product available for sale in the United States," said Dr. Sayed-Amr El-Hamamsy, president and chief operating officer, Wi-LAN Inc. "The US is our largest product market and the 5.8 GHz frequency has proven to be very popular there. We expect the high-speed capacity, enhanced features, and non-line-of sight capabilities of the LIBRA 5800 series will significantly grow our sales in the US."

"LIBRA 5800 will complement the other fixed wireless access product series that Wi-LAN has to offer to the US market, including the 2.4 GHz VIP 110-24 and our other very successful 5.8 GHz product, the Ultima3," said Nico Roelofsen, vice president global sales, Wi-LAN Inc. "LIBRA 5800's use of W-OFDM technology makes it well suited to dense urban environments, where its high capacity and robust non-line-of-sight capabilities enable much better subscriber coverage than spread-spectrum systems or conventional single-carrier systems. This significantly improves the business model of urban broadband wireless service providers."

LIBRA 5800 is the 5.8 GHz version of Wi-LAN's third generation series of Non-Line-of-Sight (NLOS) Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) products. LIBRA is the only product series in commercial use today that uses the same W-OFDM technology, commonly known as 256-FFT OFDM, that has been approved as the mainstream physical
layer in the IEEE WirelessMAN Standard and in the current draft of ETSI HiperMAN. This Wireless Metropolitan Area Network (WirelessMAN) 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 with a range of up to 66 kilometres (41 miles) in a point-to-point line-of-sight 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 line-of-sight 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 and weatherproof single unit design.

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
against 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 is comparable to LIBRA 5800, and the effective spectral efficiency of these products is much less than LIBRA 5800 because they use approximately twice as much spectrum:

  LIBRA 5800 256-carrier System 802.11a-like 64- carrier Systems
(1) Effective (TCP) throughput
rate per sector 22 Mbps 24.4 Mbps
22 Mbps 24.4 Mbps
(2) Channel size (spectrum
use) 10 MHz 20 MHz
10 MHz 20 MHz
(1)/(2) Effective spectral
efficiency 2.2 bits/second/ 1.2 bits/second/
Hz hertz
2.2 bits/second/Hz 1.2 bits/second/ hertz

LIBRA's NLOS capability significantly increases fixed wireless access subscriber coverage over levels delivered by conventional wireless products. 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'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 center 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 line-of-sight 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 line-of-sight 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 center 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 approximately 20 MHz per channel, making them less robust in crowded radio frequencies.

The current hardware is capable of supporting several generations of enhancement to the system software. 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 WirelessMAN (North America) and emerging ETSI BRAN HyperMAN (European and international) standards.

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

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 broadband fixed wireless access equipment business. Wi-LAN's current line includes the following key

  LIBRA AWE / Ultima3 VIP 110/24
Key Technology W-OFDM (1) MC-DSSS (2) VINE (3) / 802.11b
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. LOS 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


(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 (LOS) 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 or Non-LOS) 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 increases fixed wireless access subscriber coverage, from conventional levels of
50% or less, to levels that can exceed 90%, making the wireless service provider's business model much more compelling, particularly in high-density urban areas.

(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, offering businesses, including telecom service providers, and government enterprises effective, economic and secure wireless solutions for provision of high-speed communications. Wi-LAN specializes in high-speed Internet access, data network extension, and wireless data and telephony backhaul, utilizing its high quality products and industry-leading technologies. Wi-LAN believes its W-OFDM patents are necessary for the implementation of devices using the IEEE standards WirelessMAN, 802.11a or 802.11g, the ETSI BRAN HiperLAN/2
standard or the current draft of the proposed ETSI BRAN HiperMAN 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 ( and an active member of the WiMAX Forum ( Wi-LAN's common shares trade on The Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol "WIN." Detailed information on Wi-LAN can be found at

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Wi-LAN Inc.
Ken Wetherell
Corporate Communications and Investor Relations
(403) 207-6329
(403) 273-5100 (FAX)
Wi-LAN Inc.
Global Sales
(403) 273-9133
(403) 273-5100 (FAX)

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