New 60GHZ FWA spectrum breakthrough could save Tier-1 service providers a fortune
Pharrowtech a fabless semiconductor vendor of mmWave radio frequency (RF) technology has got a grant from the Flemish Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (VLAIO) to ‘field trial’ its high-speed wireless internet for homes and businesses in 2022.
The field trial, conducted with Unitron and Liberty Global subsidiary Telenet, aims to validate the performance of Pharrowtech’s mmWave technology. If successful this paves the way for a new 60GHz band for outdoor fixed wireless broadband access for tier-1 service providers which could save them a fortune on fibre installations.
In tests, Pharrowtech’s mmWave RFIC technology will use Unitron’s network elements along with beamforming and mesh control software developed by Imec’s research laboratories.
Investment will support the next step for advanced gigabit-per-second wireless technology, to speed up a commercially viable broadband internet roll-out.
Optical fibre technology will be too expensive to cater for demand for ultrafast broadband running at over 1 Gbps, according to Pharrowtech. It is also logistically cumbersome and hopeless for roll outs in suburban, rural and some urban locations.
With many areas underserved by fibre, Pharrowtech is proposing a cheap, high performance, carrier-grade 60GHz mmWave solution based on CMOS process technology for this market.
Fibre is time consuming and costly
The technology is reliable and robust enough to cope with the outdoors environment, while delivering superior performance according to Pharrowtech CEO and Co-Founder, Wim van Thillo.
The field trial’s primary focus is to unleash the potential of next generation broadband via millimetre-wave (mmWave) Fixed Wireless Access (FWA). FWA networks provide residential properties and businesses with Gigabit internet access through a wireless connection. The globally available, un-licensed spectrum around 60GHz is perfectly suited to deliver very high data rates, low-latency, cost effective FWA, say Thillo.
The development grant is in recognition of Pharrowtech’s rapid progress towards full commercialisation of its chip and phased array antenna technology, said Van Willo. “This field trial represents the massive business opportunity that mmWave FWA offers. Even in areas as densely populated as Belgium, operators struggle to deploy gigabit internet services fast enough. This project will establish our technology as a key complement to fibre for fast and economical high-speed internet deployments everywhere.”
Telenet’s director of network and infrastructure, Luk Bruynseels, spoke of ‘multiple use cases in scope where FWA technology brings opportunities and important benefits by reducing installation and roll-out costs. “This VLAIO project is a great opportunity for Telenet,” said Bruynseels.