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One of the great things about my job leading Cambium Networks’ global go-to-market team is my exposure to the many innovative ways that our partners use our equipment to quench their customers’ ever-growing thirst for high-speed broadband.  I am constantly impressed by the ingenuity and commitment displayed by our service providers’ engineers and product managers, whether they work for established telephone operators, startups or large enterprises. 

I recently had the chance to meet with Allamakee-Clayton Electric Cooperative, a power and telephone cooperative in Iowa whose footprint is mostly within 150 miles of Cambium Networks’ headquarters in the Chicago suburbs. Allamakee-Clayton saw the chance to bring high-speed data and telephone service to a significantly underserved market where 256kbps is sometimes the maximum “broadband” offered from the much larger neighboring incumbent provider. These poor Iowans stuck with 1995-quality Internet speeds would surely welcome the chance to spring forward to 2015 with real broadband Internet. 

Determined to right this wrong, Allamakee-Clayton is deploying a mix of our point-to-multipoint (PMP) products atop its considerable inventory of wood poles. It’s estimated that wood poles are approximately 1/25th the cost of a tower deployment. Another plus – the team’s electric utility experience makes our equipment that much faster to plan and install. In the time it takes for the initial soil check required for a metal tower, Allamakee-Clayton can place a pole and complete an installation. It uses point-to-point (PTP) wireless for backhaul from the pole to the tower or grain silo, which allows the team to rapidly deploy up to 20 Mbps service very economically, even with less than 10 subscribers served per pole at times. Allamakee-Clayton appreciates Cambium Networks’ comprehensive product portfolio, ease of deployment and support. 

This is not the cooperative’s only business and it is relatively new to wireless, but its network is already having a significant positive impact on the community with its service, which provides up to 80x the connectivity speed of the incumbent.  Broadband & IT Manager Jeff Rhodes explained that thanks to some of the new CPE options available, service plans can now extend beyond broadband Internet to voice and just about any connectivity need. The approach is clearly a methodical one, limited only by the height of Allamakee-Clayton’s 70-foot bucket truck.  

We’re not the only one impressed. The cooperative is one of the winners of the United States FCC’s Rural Broadband Experiment, which rewards creativity in advanced rural broadband deployments.  On behalf of folks in northeast Iowa stuck with dial-up speeds, I am rooting for Allamakee-Clayton. 

Every day, we see examples of great engineering and ingenuity with our rapidly evolving wireless portfolio, and we look forward to sharing more of them. We’d also love to hear your stories. Feel free to share them on our forum, FacebookTwitter, LinkedIn or email us

Sprint is at it again: As reported by Fierce Telecom, Sprint is calling for more competition in the wholesale backhaul market to expand its wireless network. During his keynote session at Comptel Plus, Dow Draper, Sprint’s president of wholesale and prepaid, stated that more wireline backhaul sources will bring down access costs and increase the level of investment in new wireless service innovations like the Internet of Things. As with Sprint’s previous efforts to expand its offering with a helping hand from incumbent telcos and WISPs, the number three carrier in the U.S. is offering a prime market opportunity for companies who have existing network infrastructure where it lacks coverage.Blog - telco-wisps.jpg

In particular, rural wireline and wireless network operators alike should take note because there may be a market opportunity for wireless backhaul deployment: 80 percent of Sprint’s markets currently have only one incumbent provider to get wireless backhaul services. But that market inertia might not last long – ABI Research expects the small cell backhaul equipment market to grow at double digit rates and exceed $4 billion by 2020.

The scenario of Sprint working with rural operators to build out its LTE network recalls the big yellow carrier’s Rural Roaming Program from last year, which included “reciprocal roaming agreements”, that extended Sprint service into rural carriers’ coverage areas and vice versa. The move was a subtle acknowledgement that customers everywhere want end-to-end connectivity, and don’t care how it is achieved.

Sprint’s creative solution to driving connectivity in rural areas brings to mind our work with telephone companies and other wireline carriers, whose business model for fiber connectivity does not work in low-density population areas. This leaves telcos and other wireline providers with no choice but to seek alternative methods to realizing new revenue streams.

One of our customers, Big Bend Telephone, has discovered fixed wireless broadband to be quite a cost-effective solution. This family-owned business in west Texas wanted to provide high-quality connectivity to customers on the fringes of or just outside its traditional coverage area, and chose Cambium Networks’ wireless access and backhaul equipment to serve its most remote subscribers.

“We have hung our hat on being innovative and creative. We are not afraid of finding a new way to do things. You can’t solve problems if you are locked onto a particular discipline of thought,” said Rusty Moore, general manager and COO, Big Bend Telephone.

Thus far, customer satisfaction remains high – in fact through its wireless network, Big Bend has won over 1,000 new customers from a neighboring incumbent DSL provider by offering services superior in bandwidth. For more about our suite of solutions for telcos and wireline providers, download the case study on Big Bend, visit our website or read my blog post on last-mile access

A decade ago, water cooler conversation went from discussing the latest happenings on the “Lost” island and just how bad Jack Bauer’s day could possibly get to, “Did you see the video of Blog - Youtube Bday_.jpgthe guy at the zoo?” His banal take on elephant anatomy – “the cool thing is they have really, really, really long trunks” – was the first video uploaded on YouTube, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. Now viewed 23 million times, “Me at the Zoo” paved the way for lo-fi viral hits such as Charlie bit my finger – again! and slicker fare like Psy’s Gangnam Style, currently the most viewed YouTube video of all time with over two billion views.                                               

YouTube was a clarion call to the technology industry that video streaming was finally here and going to be huge. Despite being last to market, it vaulted over its competitors so quickly that Google snatched up the brand for $1.6 billion, 18 months after the elephant video was uploaded. Naturally, the service also made waves in the broadband industry, which had to adapt to the new normal of on-demand viewing. A year after YouTube was acquired, Netflix launched its streaming services, which is the single biggest driver of broadband for Cambium Networks. We continue to evolve our technology to suit video streaming demands, whether for residential subscribers or governmental agencies. 

Ten years on, the media landscape is continuing to change through YouTube. It is planning to launch a paid subscription service as soon as this year and premiere its own original feature-length films starring digital breakouts. Along the way, it’ll continue its role as the world’s largest music streaming site and  star maker – lest we forget that Justin Bieber got his start on the ‘Tube’. 

For our part, we’ll make sure that YouTube content continues to stream beautifully over your screens so you have something to bring to the water cooler. To mark YouTube’s birthday, take a trip down memory lane and tell us your favorite YouTube clips in the comments below: Here’s a list to get you started.

In his State of the Union address, one of the things President Obama said was the average American family should save about $750 this year due to “lower gas prices and high fuel standards.” That seems like good news for everyone. But while consumers are enjoying the cost savings, the story is quite different on the other side of the pump. A drop in oil prices is having widespread repercussions across businesses, industries and global economies.Blog - Oil IIot.jpg

An article in Marketplace notes that “when oil prices drop, size and location matters.” Small businesses operating in marginal oil fields where yield is lower and drilling costs are higher are feeling a deep squeeze. Canadian oil giant Suncor has laid off 1,000 employees in Alberta and two of its competitors, Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Houston-based Civeo Corp., have also cut significant percentages of their Alberta workforce. Effects are stretching across Canada as the country’s projected federal surplus is looking more like a deficit this year and next.

On a more positive note, Norway is faring comparatively better with the ability to stimulate its economy if need be and exports in other sectors rising due to a weaker Norwegian currency. And despite warning in Harvard Business Review that investment in renewables tends to taper when oil prices decline, a report from Mercom Capital Group showed a 175 percent increase in renewable energy investments from 2013 to 2014 – just one of the many year-over-year growth metrics recently outlined in Computerworld.

While seasons come and go for all industries, what is important is consistently streamlining operations to better weather economic cycles. The industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) purports to address this critical need for efficiency and the market opportunity is tremendous: the latest data from Accenture reveals that it could add as much as $14.2 trillion to 20 of the world’s major economies over the next 15 years. 

Here’s just a selection of possible IIoT applications in the oil sector:

  • Automation of operations for oil and gas field systems, components and devices

  • Broadband communications and monitoring of the environment around offshore oil platforms to ensure compliance with EPA regulations

  • Real time video monitoring and surveillance

  • Preventative maintenance reporting

As consumer IoT app developers increasingly turn their attention toward this lucrative market and IIoT gathers steam, we’ll be watching this space closely. We are committed to helping networks rise to the challenge of connecting all of these sensors and devices, no matter where they are deployed. If you are currently implementing an IIoT application, we’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below or on our forum

The PTP 820 product group is thrilled to hit the road and hopefully meet you during its first scheduled stops in the US.

At these free technical seminars, we’ll offer subject matter experts and hands-on training. Most importantly, we’ll gather feedback on your deployments. You’ll also have a unique opportunity to interact directly with the product team in an informal setting, make suggestions and share experiences.PTP820 Collage (2).jpg

Highlighted topics will include but are not limited to:

  • The PTP820 product overview – PTP 820S, PTP 820C and PTP 820G feature and benefits

  • Design and Configure a link utilizing LINKPlanner

  • Bill of Material Review

  • Hands-on lab for PTP820

  • Live Demo with Traffic Generator

This tour will be global so be sure to check our website for updated locations. Don’t see your city/country listed and interested in attending a seminar? Tell us your whereabouts in the comments below or on our forumFacebookTwitter or LinkedIn, and we’ll do our best to pay you a visit. 

Want proof that wireless networks can keep patients healthier? According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, merging wireless technology and medical care can reduce emergency room admissions and lead to better preventative care.Blog - Remote Healthcare.jpg

The article leads with a heart disease patient who takes his blood pressure and blood oxygen levels at home, in addition to weighing himself. This data is transmitted to his doctor, who analyzes it and makes adjustments to the patient’s blood pressure medication regimen without a checkup. In addition to monitoring known conditions, medical professionals can use these patient-generated data feeds to spot abnormalities that they would want to investigate with an in-person check-up.

Reported results are positive: One hospital in North Carolina noted that through remote healthcare monitoring, hospital admissions fell 74 percent in 2013 and an additional 54 percent in the first eight months of 2014. A medical center in Pennsylvania noticed that fewer of its congestive heart failure patients were readmitted to the hospital if they participated in a pilot remote monitoring program.

Using wireless technology to transmit this potentially lifesaving data would be invaluable in any setting, from the case studies on cardiovascular patients outlined above to monitoring outbreaks in unconnected or under-connected areas. However this influx of data begs for a networking solution that allows for custom prioritization such that doctors and nurses see first what needs to come to their immediate attention.

With our experience in handling different types of data, Cambium Networks’ equipment has been engineered to prioritize traffic such that network operators can maximize performance based on subscribers’ usage patterns and needs. Our software can also dedicate data rates to certain bandwidth-intensive applications such that users who mainly go online for checking email and web surfing aren’t adversely affected by users who frequently stream video or make VoIP calls, for example. To apply these attributes to remote healthcare monitoring, our equipment can prioritize traffic and dedicate data rates to monitoring high-risk, in-hospital patients, and relegate data from discharged patients who are self-monitoring their conditions from home to lower rates, just as an example.

We believe that the future of healthcare and achieving better patient outcomes hinges on increased adoption of remote monitoring technologies and a deep understanding of what information it can provide. To this end, we are continually developing our wireless broadband technology to ensure that it meets the needs of healthcare professionals today and tomorrow.

As with any burgeoning breakthrough, the more data we have on how remote monitoring supports higher quality medical care, or the more feedback we receive to inform our research and development, the better. If you operate or have built a network for remote healthcare purposes, we’d love to hear about your experiences on our forum or in the comments below.