My good friends over at Sputnik have been very busy. At $185, their new AP 160 (buy it) is probably the least expensive centrally managed hotspot access point in the world. It's got a built-in four-port router so that you can hook up 3rd party wireless access points and manage those, too. And a replaceable antenna, so you can add that higher-gain omni or directional antenna to get long-range wireless coverage.
Sputnik Control Center, the Sputnik AP 120 (buy) and the new AP 160 were built with a simple philosophy in mind: (1) give customers enterprise-class wireless management for commodity-class access points, and (2) keep the technology open and flexible so that customers can test, build, and grow wireless networks in ways that best fit their unique business models.
- Want to offer free wireless? Sputnik is the least expensive way to go, and you get all the management tools and captive portal capabilities to brand your wireless offering.
- Want to charge for wireless access? Sputnik handles all user authentication and tracking, and provides open APIs that let you connect Sputnik Control Center with your preferred billing system.
- Want to offer a mix of open and secure/restricted wireless access at your workplace or school? Sputnik gives you security, control and flexibility.
Sputnik's founding philosophy is paying off: Sputnik boasts nearly 200 paying customers and the list is growing daily.
As Mike Landman, CEO of 3rd Wave, a leading hotspot provider in Atlanta, puts it:
"We looked at a lot of options, but settled on Sputnik because their technology is the most cost-effective and the easiest to deploy--just drop off an access point at the hotspot, plug it into broadband, and you're up and running."
Where else can you build a centrally managed 20-AP hotspot, or unwire a small city, for less than $5,000? Kudos to Sputnik for giving hotspot providers the easiest, most cost-effective, and most flexible tools for building wireless networks. And may a thousand flowers bloom...