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I spent this past week with our North America, Caribbean and Latin America sales teams and partners. Connecting the Unconnected and Underconnected resonated with the interactions these groups.  It was enlightening and refreshing to learn about all of the opportunities and applications they were executing on – with multiple common applications and challenges but also unique considerations not only between North America and South America; but also within sub-regions of each.blog - imhoff fixed wireless.jpg

Industrial and Transportation Markets

One of the common themes was the level of activity in the industrial and transportation markets – perhaps a reflection of the improving economy.  Both regions are deploying PTP and PMP systems, using Cambium’s entire portfolio to enable the following applications:

  • Supervisory, Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) networks;

  • Extend the video surveillance to remote critical infrastructure implementations;

  • Platform-to-ship and ship-to-ship networks.    

In the North America heavy rail market the use of PTP 650 to replace leased lines and reduce the operating expenses was highlighted; but more interesting was the advancement of positive train control driving the need for PTP and PMP networks.   The objectives were consistent across the various applications – improve operational efficiency of the organization; and or improve the safety of the employees and surrounding community. 

Video Surveillance continues to be a significant demand driver for fixed wireless broadband networks.  The uniqueness of the implementations across various market segments is worth mentioning.  

Enterprise Video Surveillance

An automobile dealership with facilities across the US and Canada is implementing video surveillance at each of their lots to not only to reduce theft, but also provide evidence to counter injury claims made by visiting patrons; and allow sales staff to respond quickly to customers browsing the lots.  

Residential Video Surveillance

Residential security firms are now providing video monitoring services to multi-tenant dwellings and facilities (parking lots in particular) where transport of the video can effectively only be handled by FWBB.  

Government Surveillance

National, State and Local governments in both continents continue to deploy video surveillance networks to protect life and property – nothing new there except the rapid expansion of High Definition cameras providing evidentiary quality video that demands far bigger pipes to transport that historic low quality black and white video.

I was also pleased to see an ever increasing level of sophistication in the networks being designed with particular focus on Quality of Service, Multicast as opposed to Unicast, and information assurance technics to secure the networks beyond encrypting the traffic.  Clearly, the end customers, network operators and system integrators are looking beyond simple data rates in selecting the equipment providers and in designing their networks. 

FWBB is largely thought of as an alternative to Digital Subscriber Line (DSL), Fiber, and Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification (DOCSIS) (aka “Cable”) networks providing broadband access to residences.  What the last three days have reminded me is the extensive use of FWBB to provide communication networks to industry and enterprise – globally!


The FIFA world cup broke the record for online video streaming, with 24 million unique viewers streaming 15 million hours of content from the FIFA multimedia services alone. Demand for NetFlix and other streaming services are driving FCC regulations and tense discussions between content providers and service providers. In the near term, network operators are challenged to find ways to provide video content and maximize customer satisfaction with the network they have today.

Simple bandwidth caps fall short of the needs of service providers and users. The need is to maximize the efficiency of the network by providing users what they need quickly and freeing up network capacity for other users. Tailoring a link to perform the way that users consume data improves overall data flow, and overall customer satisfaction. Cambium solutions provide you tools to do that.undefined

Our PMP products provide settings to control Maximum Information Rate (MIR) and measure Quality of Service. These capabilities are supplemented by a “Burst Bucket”: a token system that provides high capacity to a single user for brief periods of high throughput, for example when a subscriber is streaming a video. The PMP 450 system includes an even more sophisticated control, which we refer to as MaxBurst MIR which puts network operators in control of the rate at which the burst bucket allocates capacity. Find out more about these capabilities in the PMP 450 MaxBurst MIR solution paper.

For health, safety and economic concerns, wireless communication is one of the most regulated industries in the world.  Virtually every country in the world has at least one regulatory body responsible for wireless communication. Some have multiple agencies to ensure an adequate level of bureaucracy. Sound hopeless? Well if the recent FCC website crash sparked by John Oliver’s net neutrality rant on “Last Week Tonight”Blog-Imhoff_finger_on_pulse.jpg is any indication, the natives are restless.

Effective regulatory management drives innovation, improvement in a society’s standard of living, and fuels the country’s economic engine. The FCC’s regulatory efforts led to the national deployment of 911, and before that the public-switched telephone network, deferentially referred to as POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service).  Today, the FCC’s and other regulatory bodies’ purview includes rural broadband access, net neutrality, ensuring broadband access by educational institutions, and accelerating 4G services – all challenging topics that require balanced perspective.

Ineffective regulatory management results in loss of innovation, poor utilization of precious RF resources, poor or non-existent telecommunication services, and ultimately slows gross domestic product growth. The challenge for regulators is meeting the needs of government, network operators, business and citizens, by enabling technically and economically viable solutions from industry through their regulatory requirements.

Additional 100 MHz Available for Fixed Wireless Broadband

This past week, alignment was achieved between the FCC, Cambium Networks, and network operators with the PTP 650 and ePMP™ achieving approval from the FCC to operate in 5150-5250 MHz, that comply with the new rules for U-NII devices adopted under Docket No. 13-49. The industry, including Cambium Networks, the Wireless Internet Service Provider Association (WISPA), and network operators; actively participated in the FCC’s formal process in suggesting, refining and ultimately finalizing the revised rules.  The regulation opened up additional spectrum with specific rules and manufacturers are bringing forward solutions to take advantage of the spectrum allocation, and network operators can advance new and enhanced communication solutions to their customers – all good.

Notice Concerning Future Use of 5.725 - 5.85 GHz

On the other hand, an element of Docket No. 13-49, the Revision of Part 15 of the Commission’s Rules to Permit Unlicensed National Information Infrastructure (U-NII) Devices in the 5 GHz Band, will in Cambium Networks’ opinion severely burden network deployments of longer-range wireless links for services such as broadband access and backhaul. The rule change imposes significant new costs on manufacturers of such devices to comply with the new standard. In those rural areas where fixed wireless architecture is the only viable access solution, the rule change would make broadband deployment effectively impossible. Cambium Networks and other affected and engaged parties have petitioned for reconsideration and or formally affirmed the petitioner’s position. The FCC has recently published its Public Notice starting the clock on public responses to the submitted Petitions for Reconsiderations; offering the public an additional opportunity to react to the FCC’s revised rules – more to follow on that topic.

Citizens Broadband Radio Service 3550 – 3650: Potential for More Spectrum

Continuing on its path to drive effective utilization of precious RF resources, the FCC recently adopted a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) in GN Docket No. 12-354 seeking comment on proposed rules for a new Citizens Broadband Radio Service in the 3550-3650 MHz band.  The proposed rulemaking includes provisions to open up additional spectrum in two principal manners that Cambium Networks believes is in general beneficial to the intended user base; albeit not without technical challenges and limitations that must be carefully considered by all parties.


So while recognizing that regulators have a complex job, it’s up to all constituents – network operators, manufacturers, and the general public – to engage, study and seek to influence the regulator’s directives. Only then can everyone’s best interests be considered and reflected in regulatory decisions.

 

With the release of “The Empire Strikes Back” in 1980, the world met Yoda, the tiny Jedi giant of Dagobah. He amused Star Wars fans then as now with his unique phraseology and sage presence, miraculously levitating Luke Skywalker’s X-wing fighter out of the bog with this prelude: “Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? Hmm. And well you should not. For my ally is the Force.”Yoda and Luke.jpg

For Yoda and the other Jedis out there – the network engineers we work with to do what was once impossible – we proudly present the ePMP Force 100, our new ally in stretching wireless broadband to new frontiers. As a pioneer in wireless networking, Cambium Networks continues to perfect the alchemy behind getting more out of the invisible lines – radio frequencies (RF) – that fuel high-quality Internet connectivity far from fiber networks. The ePMP Force 100 is the latest in our powerful line of wireless access solutions that give network architects more options for delivering the connectivity that subscribers want to maximize ROI.

Onboard the ePMP Force 100 are updated tools in software release 2.1, increasing network Metachlorians to help Padawans become Jedis:

  • eFortify controls the Force with new algorithms mitigating internal and external interference, the dark side that can overtake vulnerable systems – the Force 100 can defeat even the baddest of Siths - Darth Vader. With 2.1, network engineers can further optimize the system’s RF performance with the option to operate with enabled or disabled carrier sense.

  • eCommand offers a whole new graphical user interface (GUI), which allows engineers to restore order to the galaxy by detecting interference and analyze spectrum to plan, provision and monitor the network.

  • eDetect provides a snapshot of the network to reveal the sources of external  interference and the impacts on the network. Through learning where weakness lies, network managers can confidently troubleshoot without fear of compromised performance.

The Force 100 is just the beginning – not even lightning (get it?) can stop it. If you’d like to join the “rebel forces” of Cambium Networks, check out ePMP, talk to fellow Jedis on our forum or sign up to be a beta tester.

One of the challenges in developing new technology platforms is to address both the initial set of requirements (what customers need today) and future requirements (what customers will need tomorrow). System architects are challenged to build products with the flexibility and agility to address the challenges of a rapidly evolving world. 

Cambium launched the PTP 650 platform back in November of last year. Reflecting on the enhancements and growth of this platform since the launch, it is a true testament to the underlying architecture of the system and the team of engineers behind it. The PTP 650 has expanded to support an ever-widening array of applications:  

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- Enterprise access
- Video surveillance
- Small-cell backhaul
- TDM services
- Rapid deployment of broadband services

The portfolio started with the original PTP 650 which addresses traditional long-range sub-6GHz backhaul solutions delivering up to 450 Mbps. In February, the PTP 650S was introduced in a new smaller form factor tailored to short-range, high-capacity non line of sight links. Just last week, the PTP 650L was launched targeting fast payback and tremendous ROI for business services and video surveillance deployments. Each of these variants of the 650 platform feature the signature platform feature Dynamic Spectrum Optimization™ (DSO) -- the in-band on-line spectrum analyzer that constantly self-optimizes the network.

PTP 650 features provide high performance, reliability, security and versatility, and continue to stand as unique capabilities in the industry. The platform includes future-proof technologies such as IPv6, Synchronous Ethernet, 1588v2, optical fiber interfaces, standard PoE input and PoE output, split frequency operation, spatial diversity ensure that investments in the PTP 650 platform today will continue to payoff down the road.

Cambium’s customers use the PTP 650 in unique and interesting ways. Check out how the PTP 650 is helping deliver medical support for major sporting events, supporting rapid deployment of business continuity services, and serving as critical infrastructure for e-911 services in rural communities. And these are just a few of the thousands of connectivity problems being solved every month around the world with Cambium’s PTP 650 portfolio.  We would love to hear about the problems you are solving today and the opportunities you see heading towards you. Our team of system architects is already at work on the next round of enhancements with great anticipation of meeting the next challenge.

Every major sporting event provides the communications industry an opportunity to show off the latest equipment and timing systems at its stadiums and venues, and upgrade communications and surveillance infrastructure in host cities. While you are broadcasting to the world, you need precise timing, very low latency, and highly reliable systems to ensure flawless execution. The 2014 FIFA World Cup set some trends and gave us a glimpse of the infrastructure Brazil will have in place for the 2016 Summer Games.undefined

Before we begin, we need to level set. Let’s remember 12 cities in Brazil hosted the World Cup, which required significant infrastructure developments across all cities, including seven new stadiums and five renovated stadiums. Maracanã in Rio de Janiero, the largest stadium in South America, holds 71,159 seats (the new San Francisco 49ers Stadium called Levis’s Stadium will have 68,500 seats, expandable to 75,000).  On top of this, Brazil still needs to finish Olympic venues and also some new airport terminals – minor details.

  • Live streaming: But amazingly throughout the tournament, football – yes, football – could be viewed on the streets. If you weren't lucky enough to be in the stadium, you joined thousands of your new best friends on the street to watch live streams of the matches. Many major international cities have adopted these mobile giant screen TVs, which frequently use microwave point-to-point backhaul to deliver live feeds.

  • Video surveillance: Given the crowds, local police forces implemented video surveillance in many areas to manage local security.  If you ever wonder how security shows up within 30 seconds of an incident, you now know why:  Host cities don’t want them to make headlines.  Cambium Networks installed a video surveillance network in Salvador, Bahia built specifically for the World Cup to ensure local security and safety. 

  • Stadium connectivity: Lastly, the stadium is the most challenging because you have to telecast a match to the world while ensuring spectators’ safety, so there must be a lot of video surveillance on site with very accurate time stamping. And let us not forget the fans that want to let the rest of us outside how much fun it was and how lucky they were to be in the stadium. There would have been various communications layers on site such as cellular, Wi-Fi and possibly small cells to handle the traffic being generated by over 70,000 fans with smartphones. Data offloading from cellular networks was definitely stress tested.

So as we look back on the 2014 FIFA World Cup, let us not forget what it takes to host such an event across 12 cities. And from a personal standpoint, that Spain needs to do some serious soul searching.  Parabéns aos brasileiros para hospedar uma Copa do Mundo FIFA tão espetacular!

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