When the 900 MHz, unlicensed radio band became popular in the ‘90s, it provided the answer to some significant technical issues of that time for SCADA systems.  The 900 MHz band was popular with the first commercial frequency hopping spread spectrum (FHSS) technology providing an Ethernet interface at much higher data rates than what was operating in the serial data networks of the time.  The 900 MHz frequency also provided better vegetation penetration and terrain modeling than the 2.4 GHz or 5.8 GHz also available for unlicensed operation.

At the same time, 900 MHz Ethernet radio did have some limitations compared to the higher frequency bands, including a narrower bandwidth (26 MHz) which limited the number of frequency channels.  Most manufacturers eventually withdrew from the 900 MHz radio modem market to focus on higher speed, higher density wireless networks. But ESTeem saw an opportunity.

Adding Frequency in a Crowded Manufacturing Environment

For many companies, including manufacturing facilities with increasing needs for wireless communication systems, it can be challenging to find ways to accommodate all the networks and devices requiring frequency space in the 2.4 and 5.8 GHz bands. ESTeem decided to solve that problem by developing a radio on the 900 MHz unlicensed band that can operate at higher speeds with complex communication networks outside of WiFi based frequencies.

Its Horizon 900 Series provides the traditional advantages of 900 MHz radio modems with features that expand the capabilities of the 900 MHz unlicensed band:

  • Faster speed: Up to 72 megabits per second, a significant improvement over the maximum 1 Mbps network throughput that’s possible with the frequency-hopping spread spectrum.
  • Mesh communication: The Horizon 900 Series offers the ability to set up redundant and self-healing 900 MHz mesh networks.
  • Improved security:  The Horizon 900 Series enables networks that function similarly to Wi-Fi, with fixed points across a network connected with mobile hardware, but with no actual Wi-Fi capability.  As a result, the systems operating on this band are more secure.   
  • Maximized bandwidth availability: Using the open frequency space, the Horizon 900 Series radios provide network communications with mobile devices in much the same way as Wi-Fi, enabling more devices, lower bandwidth requirements and greater flexibility in bandwidth use. Its ability to enhance network throughput in the 900 MHz unlicensed band sets the Horizon 900 Series apart from other radio systems.  

Enabling Unique Applications

The Horizon 900 Series offers multiple modes of operation such as Ethernet Bridge, Router, Firewall and mobile mode while addressing needs not only found in the most common applications, but also for many unique environments, such as:

  • Automated guided vehicles used as material handling carts in manufacturing;
  • Autonomous vehicles for the agriculture industry
  • Airport lighting control

Ultimately, the Horizon 900 Series enables companies to replace cables with wireless networks that expand capabilities and operate securely.  

Discover the Possibilities

Learn more about how the 900 MHz unlicensed band and the Horizon 900 Series can improve wireless network communications for your company.

ESTeem will host a Horizon 900 webinar on November 3, from 8 am-8:30 am PDT. Register today.