Zinwave names former Ericsson small cell, DAS expert as CTO

Slavko Djukic
Zinwave CTO Slavko Djukic

It’s no surprise that the new chief technology officer at Zinwave, former Ericsson executive Slavko Djukic, is optimistic about the prospects for the company’s indoor DAS deployments even as operators pare back their spending on DAS in big public spaces.

“The market is slowly but, I think, surely changing directions,” he told FierceWirelessTech.

While the carriers are not spending as much as they used to on DAS, having covered a lot of public spaces over the last several years, “when it comes to the enterprise market, it’s been vastly underserved overall,” Djukic added.

The enterprise market is where Zinwave is focused and the company said its unique platform is ideal for in-building wireless coverage for enterprise customers. What differentiates Zinwave, a subsidiary of McWane, is its platform, which it calls UNItivity.

The company described the platform as “future proof,” meaning that its wideband architecture will support any frequency from 150 MHz to 2700 MHz, accommodating current and future bands without having to upgrade the hardware. Zinwave also said its all-fiber architecture makes it more reliable and easier to install than traditional DAS solutions.

That means, for example, that for the 600 MHz band that is the subject of the current incentive auction, with Zinwave, “that 600 MHz band will pass through the existing product without any modification,” he said. “It’s a very user-friendly, simple one layer system that you put in once, and you should be set.” With the other DAS vendors, the 600 MHz modules will need to be added in order to upgrade the gear.

It’s too early to talk about the details of 5G and what frequency bands will definitely be used indoors. But, “for us, any frequency band that 5G will go into the buildings on, whether it be commercial licensed spectrum that we have today or any future unlicensed, in let’s say 3.5 or 5 GHz, as long as our product is wideband enough to support those frequencies, we’ll be able to support 5G or any other technology that comes on.”

Djukic said he’s looking forward to driving Zinwave’s wideband DAS development into new territory as enterprises, building owners and mobile operators look to expand in-building wireless services beyond the biggest stadiums and venues. And he is well aware of Zinwave’s products, having used them when he was at Powerwave in the 2007-2008 timeframe, where he led the technical indoor and outdoor DAS solutions for North America, Central America and South America.

“I’m still optimistic and know that a platform like this one that’s truly wideband and mostly fiber can serve very well the enterprise needs,” with quick, simple, elegant and affordable solutions, he added.

Before Zinwave, Djukic most recently served as Ericsson’s head of strategy and solutions for small cells, DAS and Wi-Fi. Prior to that, he worked in a global technical role for Corning, where he was responsible for expanding the company’s global indoor building solutions and acted as the technical lead in Corning’s 2011 acquisition of Mobile Access.

Zinwave also sees opportunities to expand with carriers. “We think that gone are the days” of feeding the DAS systems with big, full-blown base stations, he said. In the enterprise, small cells—picos and micros—make a lot of sense, and they’re more economical.