San Jose, CA-based start-up Wavion has a new technology which would be on interest to service providers and infrastructure equipment vendors: It is a new category of wireless AP. Wavion's spatially adaptive AP appears to be the first MIMO-based metro-scale AP. The company says it goes a long way toward addressing vexing performance and penetration issues currently facing metro-WiFi equipment--and in the process, also addressing similarly vexing profitability issues for metro service providers. Wavion's technology has received the backing of blue-chip investors such as Sequoia Capital and Elron Electronics Industries, who invested $22 million in the company.
Conventional metro WiFi APs use simple diversity antennas which are hobbled by short range and limited capacity. They are also adversely affected by multipath and omni-directional noise reception. To overcome these shortcomings, providers deploy APs densely, thus increasing infrastructure costs without always being able to improve transmission quality or eliminate spotty coverage. Another shortcoming of current metro WiFi APs is that they are based on commoditized semiconductors originally designed for indoor networks. Metro WiFi, however, is by definition an outdoor deployment, and outdoor deployments must face challenges such as much higher levels of electromagnetic interference, much higher multipath delay-spread and much faster moving objects and users such as cars.
The current generation of metro WiFi networks face another problem: Inability significantly to scale in capacity to meet future demands. There is but a limited available spectrum, and these limitations will become even more pronounced as thousands of clients and APs are added each year, increasing the level of interference. This is where Wavion's spatially adaptive technology comes in. Spatially adaptive AP aims specifically to optimize outdoor metro WiFi networks and do so without requiring any changes to standard WiFi clients. Rather than use a single commoditized radio and diversity antenna, Wavion APs use custom-designed application-specific integrated circuits and embedded software to combine the power of a total of six antennas and six radio transceivers. The result: Enhanced range, coverage, capacity and scalability. Wavion achieves these gains relative to conventional APs by using technology incorporating two innovations: digital beamforming and Space Division Multiple Access.
For more on Wavio's new metro AP:
- see this press release
- read this wi-fitechnology report
- read Jim Barthold's telecommunications report
For more on Wavion's technology:
- check out the company's Web site