Wireless tech in Northern Nevada and the Sierras pt. 1

29 07 2011

My work in wireless began in the very early 90’s with Truckee Communications doing tower work.  At that time the bag phone ruled the town because it had more power output than the “bricks”, and let’s face it, neither was fitting into a pocket.  The mainstay communication technology was not cellular but paging (remember beepers!)  Since those days, I have seen several success stories thrive in the area.

One of the products I use all the time comes out of Carson City.  Polyphaser makes a product that absorbs the brunt of a lightning strike at the base of a telecommunications tower.  Without this product, the lightning would travel down the tower and into and destroying the extremely expensive  telecom equipment.  This bit of insurance is used by every major cell service provider in the world and Polyphaser is one of the largest design and manufacturer of these little saviors.

Brightpoint is a company many of us have dealt with but perhaps never knew.  They are a major distributor for cell phones including a lot of the refurb units.  They first moved down the street from my office off Capital but later moved to a larger warehouse in Sparks.  I’ve befriended their engineers at UNR’s MBA program and it seems they are pretty active.   They moved an astounding 99 million handset (not just locally) in 2010.  From their website:

In 2009 Brightpoint was included on the FORTUNE 500, and in 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011 Brightpoint was selected as one of America’s Most Admired Companies by FORTUNE Magazine, ranking in the top 5 of the “Wholesalers: Electronics” category each year.

Great Basin Internet Service was one of the first WISPs and still has a network I’d like to know more about:)  The Reno area has been well served by this service provider even several years BG (Before Google).

The Reno Tahoe market has been a test bed for several carriers as well.  Sprint’s first (THE first but for Monet, a small local provider at St. Paul, MN) EVDO market was Boise 2002, but Reno was only a few months behind.  Still well ahead of the major metropolises like San Francisco that had to wait until Memorial Day 2005.  Clearwire launched their pre-Wimax 4G network in sprint of 2006, and is still trying to build and launch in the Sacramento area.  Samsung had a test facility here for awhile too in the mid-2000’s.  Airpeak had their unique brand of iDEN/GSM network that recently shuttered as well.

In part 2 I’ll discuss a few more successes like Tessco and Commscope that are helping fuel our local economy.

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