Wireless wonders: engineering duo endeavors to get fellow Panamanians online.

Author:Bussey, Jane
Position:TEN UNDER TEN - Company overview



Name: Liberty Technologies

Sector: Wireless networks

Launched: 2003 in Panama

HO: Panama City

CEO: Moises Abadi (r)

COO: Salomon Zayat (I)


MIAMI -- Fellow engineers Moises Abadi and Salomon Zayat are fascinated by cutting-edge technology. But unlike most admitted tech geeks, this duo parlayed their admiration for wireless innovations into a business that has put the latest technology to work throughout their native Panama.

Their venture, Liberty Technologies, recently completed installing Panama's Universal Internet Access Network using what is known as WiMax technology. The company won a $25.5 million government contract late last year to install the free Internet service in public areas, such as schools, hospitals and parks, as a way of benefitting the less privileged.

Abadi and Zayat began working together in the late 1990s, after they were thrown together by happenstance. "We had a common customer who made us join forces for a specific project," Abadi said.

That experience prompted them to launch a first company that specialized in antennas and wireless link installations and then evolved to provide data communications. Later came Liberty Technologies, which began tests in 2002 and finally launched commercially in 2003.

Abadi, who studied computer engineering in Georgia Tech's first undergraduate class, and Zayat, an electrical engineer, soon felt the lure of wireless broadband technology, called "non-line of sight" that does not require cables or other wires for installation.

"Being engineers, we were amazed by it," recalled Abadi, who is president and CEO of Liberty Technologies. "We said it was so amazing it had to be put here in Panama."

Abadi said Liberty was among the first customers for Navini Networks, which had developed the wireless technology and was later acquired by Cisco Systems. Abadi and Zayat, who serves as vice president and chief operating officer, tested the technology in the field in Panama. They tweaked the system and went on to install the network, offering wireless broadband to hotels and later to other businesses in the tourism sector, as well as in residential areas.

WiMax, or Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access, the Intel-backed technology used for larger-scale wireless Internet connectivity, became the next step for Abadi and Zayat. WiMax is important because it delivers "the last mile" of Internet access to homes and offices without cable or DSL...

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