Mimosa takes WiFi from ‘cloud to client’ for WISPs


When Silicon Valley start-up Mimosa Networks raised a $20m Series C funding round in the summer, it brought a whiff of nostalgia, for the days when fixed wireless and local loop technologies were in vogue.

The company has subsequently launched two products, one a gigabit-speed backhaul radio and now its first access radio, which uses a souped-up WiFi variant to support WISPs.

Based on the new 802.11ac standard, combined with proprietary beamforming techniques and the higher power levels permitted in the US for 5GHz fixed wireless, the technology promises to support an inexpensive network ($1,000 per access point) with data rates of 100Mbps or more over 5-6 miles.

The A5 access point will support 250 radio connections and harnesses Multiuser MIMO 11ac chips from Quantenna. Technically, the MU-MIMO element means the AP could host 1,000 connections though this would not be a real world scenario, said chief product officer Jaime Fink.

In words which echo the heady days of unlicensed spectrum WiMAX, Fink insists this is not just a solution for WISPs in rural areas with no wireline infrastructure, but can outdo DSL in suburban areas of developed countries, which fiber has not yet reached.

Along with the C5 client devices and the backhaul radio, Mimosa is building out a portfolio which it dubs ‘cloud-to-client’. It says the AP plus client are “the world’s highest capacity low cost outdoor solution and the first with MU-MIMO”.

“We’ve taken Wi-Fi technology and reused it to deal with the efficiency issues and spectrum interference issues we see with Wi-Fi today,” Fink told VentureBeat. “This announcement is the real meat and differentiation of our company with last mile access.”

The B5 Backhaul Radio, launched in August, runs in 5GHz spectrum too and boasts coordinated Massive MIMO technology, which enables colocated radios to deliver 16 MIMO streams and 4Gbps of throughput while sharing the same channel. The B5 radio conducts constant spectrum analysis to find the best, interference-free radio link, according to Mimosa.

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Caroline has been analyzing and reporting in the hi-tech industries since 1986 and has a huge wealth of experience of technology trends and how they impact on business models. She started her career as a journalist, specializing in enterprise and carrier networks and in silicon technologies. She spent much of her journalistic career at VNU Business Publishing, then Europe’s largest producer of technology publications and information services . She was publishing director for the launch of VNU’s pan-European online content services, and then European editorial director. She then made the move from publishing into technology market analysis and consulting, and in 2002 co-founded Rethink Technology Research with Peter White. Rethink specializes in trends and business models for wireless, converged and quad play operators round the world and the technologies that support them. Caroline’s role is to head up the wireless side of the business, leading the creation of research, newsletters and consulting services focused on mobile platforms and operator models. In this role, she has become a highly recognized authority on 4G systems such as LTE and WiMAX, and a prolific speaker at industry events. Consulting and research clients come from major mobile operators, the wireless supply chain and financial institutions.