Small towns and villages can’t wait for fiber. The Village of Standard in Alberta, Canada and Connect Mobility, Inc. (Connect) created a unique partnership to connect its 376 residents in 190 homes and businesses. This high-speed internet project using 60 GHz cnWave technology from Cambium Networks proves that fixed wireless can reliably and efficiently extend the fiber core to deliver gigabit speeds to business and residential locations.
Over the years, the Village of Standard had received many promises regarding internet speeds. Each time, they ended up with subpar services. Some residents in the center of the village received great service while others on the outer edges of the Village received poor service. Previously, one provider offered 25 Mbps to Standard – on a good day. But when everyone was online, it lowered to 6 Mbps in the downlink and 3 Mbps in the uplink. Additionally, residents waited up to two weeks to get a provider out to repair their system.
The village, which has one full-time staff member at its village office and one staff member for village operations, was not equipped to manage a complex network. Standard needed to bring in an outside group to help operate and maintain the network. While a fiber-to-the home network would certainly deliver the bandwidth needs of the village, the cost and time required to deploy fiber was simply not a viable solution.
Standard called on connect mobility, an Internet Service Provider, to install, operate and maintain the network. The Village of Standard and Connect partnered to deploy Cambium Networks’ 60 GHz cnWave distributed broadband mesh platform throughout the village. The mesh network provides fiber-like speed to residents throughout the village, and the network was deployed in a fraction of the time and a fraction of the cost compared to fiber. Through the Connect/Standard partnership, along with coordination with the local electric power utility company FortisAlberta, the team utilized select power poles for attaching cnWave V5000 distribution nodes (DN) throughout the village. The V5000 DNs utilize millimeter wave (mmWave) technology to interconnect each DN with neighboring DNs to create a resilient and redundant wireless mesh. The distributed mesh DNs also wirelessly connect to subscriber homes and businesses via compact cnWave V1000 client nodes (CN) mounted on rooftops and walls.
In addition to the gigabit wireless mesh network around the village’s core, Standard wished to also provide internet service to approximately 20 farms and acreages farther away on the village outskirts. Connect deployed Cambium Networks’ ePMP 3000 point-to-multipoint fixed wireless solution to a 60-foot tower near the center of the village to enable high-speed connectivity for the families outside of Standard.
Cambium Networks’ Canada regional distributor MBSI WAV also played an important role in the project. Along with engineers from Cambium Networks, MBSI WAV provided guidance, training and design assistance to help get the project rolling. Connect started installation work the day after the onsite training. The project team utilized Cambium Networks’ wireless network planning tool, LINKPlanner, to create the initial network design.
FortisAlberta was very supportive of the project and assisted the Village and Connect through every project step. Connect worked closely with the utility provider to create the design, walk through the village to select the poles and develop the network design.
Connect Mobility has installed 35 60 GHz cnWave V5000 DNs and three 60 GHz cnWave V3000 CNs at a fraction of the time and cost compared to fiber-to-the-home technology. Subsequently, Connect added three V3000s to build redundancy in the village’s network.
While the deployment was quick, there were a few challenges to overcome. For example, the layout of the poles was not ideal in all locations, and in some cases, the DNs were mounted to metal standoffs to overcome some line-of-sight obstructions, as well as to optimize the 60 GHz channel plan.
The Village purchased the V1000 antennas for subscriber homes and generously paid for the antenna installation to make the transition easy for their businesses and residents.
Connect Mobility owns, operates and maintains the network for the Village of Standard. The Village will monitor tree growth and keep them trimmed so that the line-of-sight connections between poles remain unobstructed.
A unique aspect of this public/private partnership is that local residents are also involved, and this has created technical growth opportunity for a few residents. The village recommended two people locally that wanted to learn how to install the subscriber antennas. These two installers have completed training and are installing the equipment for subscribers as needed, both within the village as well as in the outlying farms and acreages
CONNECT MOBILITY COMPLETED THE INSTALLATION and turnup of 38 sites in just 21 days, including the 60 GHz cnWave and ePMP 3000 devices.
Connect can provide residents up to 1 Gbps of download speed, a dramatic improvement compared to the village’s previous service speeds, and comparable to the capabilities of fiber. Cambium Networks is continuing to enhance the cnWave platform through software enhancements as well as new CN models. The Village of Standard will benefit from Cambium Networks’ innovation, enabling additional capacity and expansion of the network as needed.