Agile Networks prepares to launch Terragraph technology in Ohio

Canton
Agile Networks' new pilot deployment of a Fixed Wireless Access solution will help address the bandwidth challenge in micropolitan areas (with 10,000 to 50,000 people) starting with Canton, Ohio. (Agile Networks)

Agile Networks is preparing to launch a new pilot deployment of Radwin’s 60 GHz technology in Canton, Ohio, where it will address a connectivity shortfall in the city.

Agile has used a lot of Radwin gear in other areas, but not in the 60 GHz band, according to Agile Networks CEO Kyle Quillen. However, Agile’s engineering team has a lot of experience in millimeter wave spectrum with other vendors’ gear, so they’re not expecting the RF side to be all that different.

Plus, they have a lot of confidence in Radwin, whose gear is based on Terragraph technology, the initiative spearheaded by Facebook. The Terragraph by Radwin 60 GHz mesh solution was developed in collaboration with Facebook, Radwin and Intel.

“What we’re really anticipating is the meshing capabilities and the capacities to be significantly different from what they’ve seen from other manufacturers,” Quillen told FierceWirelessTech.

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The meshing structure affords a lot of flexibility from a deployment perspective, he said, and while everyone is familiar with Point-to-Point and Point-to-Multipoint, Agile believes the meshing capabilities of these radios will afford more opportunity to connect more things and people at higher capacity rates with less infrastructure than alternative solutions that are out there.

Radwin
Radwin is a long-time supplier to Agile Networks.
(Agile Networks)

The Canton deployment is believed to be the first large-scale deployment of the Radwin gear of its kind. It will be deployed in what’s called an Innovation District, where the aging infrastructure has prevented multigigabit speeds from being deployed.

Agile Networks expects to initially deploy a dozen or so nodes in this downtown 10-acre area that is home to some 32 buildings, including offices and high-end apartments. It will turn it on as a test or showcase project with early adopters before extending it throughout Agile’s geography in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

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Agile is using the Radwin gear based on Terragraph technology in part because it's affordable. Terragraph enables multigigabit connectivity at a fraction of the cost of buried fiber as it’s suitable for street level deployments on poles or buildings. The mesh architecture overcomes millimeter wave challenges such as line-of-sight and range and enables cost-efficient expansion of broadband services, according to Agile Networks.

Quillen said he envisions bringing the technology to even smaller communities than Canton, such as those with 2,000 or 3,000 people that have been stuck with DSL over 30-year-old copper, for example. “There’s a real value” in going into a community and lighting it up with a price point that Terragraph offers, which can’t be done with any other wired or wireless technology today in the same way.

“Do I think Terragraph is going to solve every problem for every entity? I don’t think it will,” he said. “Do I think it’s another really, really good tool in the toolkit that we use to address connectivity issues? 100 percent, and I think it will be a game changer when it comes to the price point for the bandwidth and capacity and the flexibility you get from a management and operational perspective.”

That said, Quillen said the company first needs to get through the initial trial phase. But they've already done a lot of planning and expectations are high that things will go smoothly.

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