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Cambium Networks Launch 60GHz multi-Gigabit Wireless Tech

Wednesday, September 16th, 2020 (12:30 pm) - Score 1,714

Cambium Networks has today become one of the first companies to make a new network solution available to UK ISPs that harnesses the 60GHz radio spectrum band, Facebook’s Terragraph technology and Qualcomm’s latest 802.11ay (WiFi) compliant standard to deliver multi-Gigabit wireless broadband speeds.

We covered Facebook’s new Terragraph technology and the 802.11ay standard a few months ago (here), while at the same time noting that they weren’t the first in the UK to play around with the 60GHz band – using mesh style networking to help overcome the usual distance limitations that are inherent to such a weak signal.

NOTE: The 60GHz cnWave’s compact size means it can be mounted on street furniture and is capable of operating in point-to-point, in point-to-multipoint or in efficient mesh modes, for connecting homes, businesses, CCTV networks, public WiFi or as backhaul for 4G and 5G small cells.

Such technologies are generally positioned as being much cheaper and quicker to deploy than Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) networks, while at the same time laying claim to the same sort of multi-gigabit broadband speeds.

The Cambium Networks 60GHz cnWave solution, developed at the company’s UK Wireless R&D centre in Ashburton, offers ISPs another option to give 60GHz a try in the wild. But it’s worth remembering that these are “last mile” connectivity solutions, which generally still need to be fed by fibre optic cable in order to deliver such speeds.

Cambium President and CEO, Atul Bhatnagar, said:

“We are one of the few, if not the only wireless company deploying a multi-gigabit wireless fabric. One of our company’s missions is to bridge the digital divide by providing high performance broadband connectivity to underserved communities around the world.

Our 60 GHz millimetre wave solution brings expanded, cost-effective access at multi-gigabit wireless speeds to homes and businesses everywhere. With this achievement, we are changing the economics of broadband for urban, suburban, rural, industrial and enterprise environments.”

One of the first UK broadband ISPs to give this a go looks to be Boundless Networks and so we’ll be watching them closely.

David Burns, Executive Director of Boundless Networks, said:

“Over the past decade, Boundless Networks has built a strong reputation across its fixed wireless footprint in northern England by introducing disruptive broadband speeds and providing an outstanding service to homes and businesses.

Cambium’s new 60GHz products will once again allow us to offer leading Gigabit services for our clients. 2020 has shown the world why very high performance, secure connectivity is so critical and Boundless is excited to be at the front of the queue to install the new Cambium equipment and help deliver Gigabit Britain.”

All of this sounds wonderful, but as always the proof will be in the pudding whether or not this technology can achieve wide-scale coverage at a lower cost and upkeep than FTTP, while at the same time consistently delivering on those performance claims.

As above, the first commercial kit is only just starting to seep into the market but we’ll naturally be keeping an eye out to see if we can spot any live trials with residential broadband connectivity in the UK.

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4 Responses
  1. Avatar wirelesspacman says:

    Its usefulness to wireless ISPs will depend largely on two things: how much the units cost, and how far they can realistically go without lots of drop outs. We have so far trialed/used kit from two suppliers: Mikrotik and Siklu (note that neither of these are Terragraph, 802.11ay – yet). The Mikrotik Wireless Wire units are good for up to around 130m, and the Siklu Multihaul for up to around twice that. Beyond that, they both kinda work but you see lots of short drops in the connection logs. As Cambium is more of a premium brand, I would guess that the price and range will be similar to Siklu.

  2. Avatar WirelessWand says:

    With the LHG-60 as CPE and the WAP60-GX3 as AP Mikrotik PTMP setup works up to 500m. Wireless PTP Wire works OK upto 200m.
    The key point is pricing with Terragraph. When you have BT retail selling FTTP at such low prices, and Openreach / BT subsidising installs (either increasing their debt or using government money) its tricky for Terragraph to take off. Unless Facebook step up and use some of their cash to reduce install costs!

  3. Avatar West London says:

    There’s a sweet spot that a lot of AltNet providers would do well to look at – here’s looking at you Hyperoptic!

    In many urban areas, FTTP won’t happen for another 5-10 years – if ever. The cost of laying fibre and then connecting residential premises is too high to cover the cost of capital / ongoing service provision.

    Solutions like those from Cambium could work quite nicely if AltNet providers partnered with councils. A simple rollout solution would be:

    1 x fibre connection per street – with the Cambium kit installed on a lamppost (using existing wiring)
    Other lampposts could be used to create the mesh – again using existing power supply and with no need for digging
    A CPE device per property would enable provision without an engineer install

    My road is a case in point:

    – c60 properties
    – Virgin is available but most people have given up on it due to lack of reliability – so everyone is tied to FTTC
    – It’s not in scope for Openreach’s FTTP rollout and no AltNet providers are covering the area
    – A mesh based FTTP solution is something 50-75% households would pay for – most have multiple homeworkers now
    – The council would willingly receive rent for hosting mesh kit on lampposts
    – Assuming 50% take up, the potential revenue is £600 year x 30 households = £18,000 – with little if any chance of subscriber churn because there’s no alternative. Low churn = higher profit when initial capital costs have been covered – and even at £50 it would still be cheaper than Virgin.

    Even if fibre was laid on the main road we’re connected to with terminations to mesh at the end of each street, an operator could pass thousands of homes very quickly whilst doing significantly less digging than usually required (assuming some kind of super high bandwidth mesh isn’t already available that could be deployed along the “main” roads.

    1. Avatar Leex says:

      Reliability is based on specific Street area less than 0.5% of 10-20 Street level specific areas have problems with upstream oversubscription witch virgin won’t bother to fix until They install DOCSIS 3.1 (if your having problems demand the new TARDIS virgin super hub 4 as it supports 32/8 connections to the network even if it’s still on 3.0 network witch is more reliable then hub 3)

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