As MWC draws to a close the hype for 5G continues, if I wanted to I could write about 5G announcements from Mobile World Congress until July. It was refreshing then to hear from Steve Collins the CTO of NetComm Wireless about how they are expanding their 4G capability products.
The company has just launchedthe IFWA-600, a network-grade LTE CAT 16 device with the capacity to deliver Gigabit (Gbps) speeds, while providing support for global LTE FDD and TDD bands, including the CBRS band in North America for shared wireless broadband use of the 3550-3700 MHz band (commonly called the 3.5 GHz band).
The IFWA-600 is designed to meet the spectrum availability, geographic and service level requirements of network operators and service providers in global markets.
The system is designed for service providers to install. It includes an antenna and gateway on the exterior of a home and connects by Ethernet to an interior router that services the house and provides power to the gateway.
In another sign of the things to come, the IFWA-600’s integrated antenna design also includes network diagnostics, which will become essential as we move to millimeter wave beam forming strategies.
The system can support CAT 6 or 9 but is CAT16 capable for the performance variant, which is being deployed by some carriers looking forward to 5G. While NetComm Wireless’ history started with supporting services providers in Australia and New Zealand it has grown its business to become a global one, with customers worldwide including AT&T.
An interesting aspect of the IFWA-600 is its ability to provide to the Citizen Broadband Radio Service [CBRS] operating at 3.5 GHz, which is the same spectrum, used by nbn in Australia. In the US the CBRS Alliance has been gaining support by companies looking for alternative spectrum strategies.
The system is an ideal solution for Rural and Suburban areas where copper replacement alternative service providers are looking to deploy higher speed solutions. At the heart of the solution is Qualcomm’s MDM9x50.
Given that the system is powered via Ethernet from the home the expectation is that it can support greater distances for remote locations with the triple play services considered basic by consumers today.
“As well as bringing triple play services to rural areas, our network-grade Intelligent Fixed Wireless Access technology combines the hardware and intelligent software design, remote management and network diagnostics needed to ensure that customers get the broadband speed and performance they sign up for, even during peak times,” said Steve Collins, Chief Technology Officer, NetComm Wireless.
While traditionally rural areas are considered too costly to support with triple play solutions, NetComm’s IFWA-600 promises to deliver with current technology while keeping an eye on the future.