Backhaul: Vubiq enters market as E-Band is acquired

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While backhaul newcomer Vubiq is discussing its planned 60 GHz/5 GHz products with leading mobile carriers, backhaul old-timer E-Band Communications, recently sold off its assets and intellectual property rights.

Vubiq's backhaul products are still in development, with initial production units slated to arrive in the second half of 2013. "We are now under NDA and in discussions with a number of Tier 1 and Tier 2 carriers, and the wave is building for what we hope will be the big ramp-up in 2014," Adam Button, CEO of the Aliso Viejo, Calif., company, told FierceBroadbandWireless.

The vendor's HaulPass backhaul products are targeted at small cell backhaul and will include both 60 GHz and 5 GHz radios, allowing for both line of sight (LOS) and non-line of sight (NLOS) connections. If necessary, "the LOS link at 60 GHz automatically and immediately falls over to the lower frequency connection using 802.11n Wi-Fi in a 4x4 MIMO configuration," said Button.

Vubiq's approach is not unique. In December 2012, LightPointe unveiled its AireBeam G60-DP, a 60 GHz backhaul radio that switches to 5 GHz during the types of humid or moist weather that can impact 60 GHz transmissions.

As with some other backhaul players, Vubiq is hoping to slash installation costs by enabling automatic alignment capabilities in its equipment, which will allow the links on each end to locate one other, eliminating the need for to have a skilled technician on each end to align the beams and optimize the link.

Vubiq is actually a 10-year-old company. It initially created 60 GHz technology for the RFID market before shifting into developing 60 GHz chips and modules for use by R&D labs, universities and government institutions. The company also contributed 60 GHz technology to an HD video capturing system used by the in-goal cameras installed at all 30 National Hockey League (NHL) arenas.

The telecom backhaul market is in a state of flux, with new entrants such as Vubiq dreaming of future beachheads and older vendors--such as E-Band--biding their time as carriers move more slowly than expected in deploying backhaul for network densification.

Earlier this month Moseley Associates of Santa Barbara, Calif., announced it was acquiring--for an undisclosed amount--the assets, intellectual property rights and key employees of E-Band, which launched in 2003. E-Band built its business by supplying 70-80 GHz millimeter-wave wireless terminals using technology licensed from defense contractor Northrop Grumman.

E-Band made a splash in 2010 when it became a key infrastructure supplier for Clearwire's (NASDAQ:CLWR) WiMAX network. However, Clearwire's subsequent shift in focus to TD-LTE, which caused the carrier to stop building out the WiMAX network, negatively impacted many of its suppliers, including E-Band.

In April 2012, E-Band said it secured an undisclosed amount of funding to complete development of a small cell wireless backhaul system. However, a source told FierceBroadbandWireless that the amount raised during that round was believed to be quite small for a known backhaul developer.

Moseley and its wholly owned subsidiaries, Axxcelera Broadband Wireless and CarrierComm, offer wireless solutions from 9.6 kbps to 1 Gbps covering the 250 MHz to 38 GHz spectrum for both point-to-point and point-to-multipoint applications for the broadcast, carrier, broadband enterprise and service provider marketplaces. The company claims to have delivered more than a million radios deployed in over 120 countries.

For more:
- see this Moseley release

Special Report: SDN buzzes as small cell backhaul hushes - MWC 2013 Scorecard

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