By Claus Hetting, Wi-Fi NOW CEO & Chairman
A Silicon Valley startup is promising to make enterprise cabling a thing of the past: Airvine’s patented 60 GHz radio technology blasts through walls to deliver an all-wireless, ultra-high capacity enterprise network backbone. Airvine says the value of its addressable market could exceed $10 billion USD over 5 years.
Innovation in 60 GHz wireless may thus far have been decidedly underwhelming but now a remarkable Silicon Valley-based startup is poised to reinvent the category: Airvine’s superfast 60 GHz backbone technology is promising – in time – to replace indoor network cabling altogether.
Airvine’s ‘WaveTunnel’ creates an ultra-high capacity backbone (for example to connect Wi-Fi APs) that blasts through walls. The network can be reconfigured in hours and sometimes in minutes, explains Airvine CEO and wireless industry veteran, Vivek Ragavan. “Airvine technology not only replaces or adds to existing enterprise cabling infrastructure but offers a range of other big benefits such as faster speeds, fast reconfigurations, and all of this at a cost much lower than for example deploying fibre infrastructure,” Vivek Ragavan says.
The system is Cloud-managed and deployed as a ‘wireless freeway’ (ring and spine) of self-organising 60 GHz WaveTunnel nodes delivering multi-gigabit capacity at inter-node distance of up to 100 meters including walls as obstacles to line-of-sight, Airvine says. The company’s secret sauce is the design of the RF subsystem, modem, and sophisticated antenna array technology that penetrates interior walls using highly directed and steerable beams.
Airvine says the technology to develop this type of radio network backbone at low cost has only recently become available and that they are thus far the only company developing such products. Three patents have been awarded to Airvine with a fourth pending, the company says.
Airvine says first phase use cases include warehouses, premium housing, heritage buildings, K-12 education, and in some cases even higher education campus networks. “It can cost thousands of dollars for a campus network to move a workstation cluster just a hundred feet. With WaveTunnel location changes like this are virtually free,” says Vivek Ragavan. In later phases of market development, Airvine expects the addressable segments to include convention centres, malls, corporate buildings, and healthcare facilities.
The company says there are 5 million commercial buildings in the US alone and that over 90% of them have legacy fixed wired backbones requiring upgrades as the demand for enterprise bandwidth continues to rise. The opportunity is to install reconfigurable wireless backbones as an add-on or even as a replacement to legacy wired infrastructure, Airvine says.
The aggregate throughput of the WaveTunnel system will typically be 6.3 Gbps – which is higher than current CAT5 rated speeds – growing to 20-40 Gbps for second generation system, Airvine says. “The WaveTunnel backbone can be installed in hours as opposed to weeks in the case of fixed cable of fibre. Add to this the extreme flexibility in adding to or reconfiguring the network, and we believe WaveTunnel is the future of the wireless enterprise,” says Vivek Ragavan.
Get all the details about this remarkable new startup and meet CEO Vivek Ragavan of Airvine at the Virtual Wi-Fi World Congress on October 6: Breakthroughs in Wi-Fi innovation. For free streaming of the event & registration click here.