IndraNet seeks another $5m

Two-and-a-half years after first looking for people willing to bet on its technology, secretive Christchurch networking company IndraNet is calling for a second round of public investment totalling $5 million.

Two-and-a-half years after first looking for people willing to bet on its technology, secretive Christchurch networking company IndraNet is calling for a second round of public investment totalling $5 million.

This time IndraNet is revealing some details of its product plans. It has signed a “letter of agreement” with French company Sigma Technologies to “develop and deploy” a network based on IndraNet technology.

Managing director Louis Arnoux says the contract, to develop a new communication infrastructure in Nice, is part of an ongoing project to provide “an integrated set of online multimedia, multilingual applications and services through local city portals”. Nice has around 350,000 citizens and is a French showcase of technology — 60% of its households are connected via ISDN lines.

IndraNet technology takes the decentralised model of the internet one step further — a network that consists only of client devices with no server at all. “To achieve that you need two things: bandwidth and processing power.” The latter is achieved through IndraNet’s strategic relationship with Star Bridge Systems, a US-based company that claims to be able to offer a “supercomputer” for under $US1000. IndraNet signed a partnership deal with Star Bridge in January last year. The Star Bridge systems make use of field programmable gate arrays (FPGA), a processor that is re-programmable on the fly. Star Bridge and IndraNet claim the processors are 1000 times faster than the current generation of desktop PCs.

The networking side of the network is IndraNet’s baby — Arnoux and his team of engineers decided to strip everything back to the beginning and start again to develop a network device and architecture that would change the way networks work. “It’s a fractal layered mesh network that operates over a link,” says Arnoux.

To help reassure investors, IndraNet approached telecommunications consultants Amos Aked Swift to prepare a report into the viability of the IndraNet technology.

“You can compare this to LMDS, which has been available for nearly 10 years to the military but is only recently becoming more accessible to the commercial world,” says the managing director of the New Zealand arm of AAS, Peter Rushworth. He says Arnoux’s technology, pulsed software radio ultra wideband network (PSR-UWB), is capable of delivering “very, very high bandwidth” over a radio network in the 20Gbit/s to 60Gbit/s range.

Arnoux says the $5 million will be only 20% of what the company needs for the next five years; "but we can build our first commercial networks with that money and so generate the remainder".

A prospectus can be found at: www.indranet-technologies.com.

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