Introducing Mimosa 5G Fixed Wireless

By Jaime Fink

It’s incredibly fitting as Mimosa celebrates our 5th anniversary this month that we today launch our eagerly anticipated 5G Fixed Wireless solutions.

For many years, fixed wireless has been the only broadband solution in rural areas where small independent Wireless ISPs or WISPs play a vital role and are often the only option serving local communities. We’re excited for the thousands of WISPs who have graciously worked with Mimosa over the years in proving out much of our technology – starting today, they’ll enjoy a huge jump in consumer speeds up to hundreds of Megabits per second, or over 8 times the speed of what the FCC now calls broadband. This represents a huge upgrade for rural areas.

I am also very excited about new opportunities within city areas where the bulk of the population resides, and where connectivity and speeds have also languished. To scale fixed wireless in city areas, there were only two options - get more spectrum, or get far more spectrally efficient in existing crowded spectrum.

Mimosa 5G Fixed Wireless introduces new Spectrum Reuse Synchronization (SRS) technologies that can easily reduce spectrum utilization by 400% across neighborhoods. This is driving a new category of ISPs, Municipalities and Cooperatives, that can leverage Mimosa 5G Fixed Wireless solutions as a fiber-fast alternative, covering high density areas now at up to 1/10th the cost.

To simplify ISP network design and deployment, Mimosa developed two reference architectures, the rural 5G GigaPoP for deploying high-capacity tower sites, and the urban 5G MicroPoP for scaling Mimosa 5G Fixed Wireless broadly across dense neighborhoods.

Here’s a few examples of ISPs that have started to deploy already!

Let’s talk a bit about the economics of delivering scalable internet access. When we founded Mimosa, the broadband industry had just begun to stagnate - the costs and ROI to push fiber into neighborhoods and homes far exceeded the healthy investment levels where DSL had originally prospered. Besides, nobody really needed a Gigabit of speed, or would pay more for it.

Don’t believe me? A state rural “vanity project” recently began digging, netting out to $37k spent per home connected. Even at a more practical $1,200-$3,000 per home, it’s not a healthy investment opportunity if the ROI is anticipated at 3-6 years.

2016 brought the topic of fixed wireless to the mainstream press, as nearly every major LTE cellular carrier waxed eloquently about 10 Gbps fixed broadband speeds with new 5G technology by 2020. What incredible magic was being conjured to reach these speeds? Pick your favorite new buzzwords, Massive MIMO, phased array beamforming, millimeter wave spectrum – but most importantly, they simply are proposing to eat up gobs of very limited use spectrum at 28 GHz and above.

Real-world deployments, as well as physics, have clearly demonstrated exactly why the mmWave spectrum isn’t suitable for last-mile consumer access – physical propagation characteristics and extremely common foliage and obstructions that can change constantly, and cannot be overcome. In typical suburban neighborhoods, line of sight is virtually required for that spectrum to operate. Don’t get me wrong, mmWave spectrum is fantastic for critically needed backhaul infrastructure between base stations where fiber may not be available and line of sight can be planned. The one thing in common, however, is that 5G Fixed Wireless requires new unique base station and client technology at each home – so the past legacy, and future interoperability with mobile 5G smart phones is simply not important.

At Mimosa, we took the other path to scaling – getting much more spectrally efficient – so that we could better reuse lower sub-6 GHz spectrum, providing significantly improved signal propagation to reach enough homes to be economically deployable. Synchronizing network transmission is a well-proven technique to reuse channels in cellular and fixed networks. Mimosa 5G Fixed Wireless cost-effectively brings our SRS technology together with the fastest commercially available radio speeds, high-order MIMO and beamforming - making it easier than ever to deploy fiber-fast speeds as a high quality consumer service.

With the original vision that we laid out 5 years ago now coming to fruition, it’s an incredibly exciting time for the hard working Mimosa employees as we witness ISPs starting to broadly deploy broadband using this 5th generation wireless technology across the globe. Looking to the future, the industry-leading caliber of new talent that continues to join Mimosa, along with game changing innovation that we continue to deliver, paint an incredible picture for our connected future.