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Mimosa's Backhaul Bubbles With Massive MIMO

Dan Jones

Startup Mimosa has made a start on the first phase of its plans to deliver a low-cost, high-speed wireless alternative to fiber.

The Campbell, Calif.-based company is launching the B5 Backhaul Radio and Mimosa Cloud Services (MCS), a network planning and analytics tool which will report back on the performance of the company's radio in the field.

The company is using a 5GHz 802.11ac Wave 2 WiFi chipset from Quantenna Communications Inc. as the baseline for the unit: WiFi silicon is part of what helps keeps the cost down. (See Asus, Quantenna Bring Gigabit WiFi Home.)

Mimosa then layers in the technology that makes its radios smarter than the average WiFi. "We've made enhancements at the lowest layers of the silicon," Jaime Fink, chief product officer at Mimosa -- and presumably no relation to Doctor Fink -- tells Light Reading.

Mimosa is pushing "Massive MIMO" antenna technology as one of the wellsprings of its alt-fiber tech. Maxing the technology out now, the company claims it can run four radios with 4x4 multiple input, multiple out (MIMO) antenna arrays for 16 streams delivering 4 Gbit/s in a single shared channel.

Want to know about the cutting edge in radio technology? Check out our dedicated 5G channel here on Light Reading.

To achieve this, the system "listens" and moves channels if it runs into noise or interference. "The radios are doing constant spectrum analysis," says Fink. The radio can check the channel it is on, as well as non-operational channels, to find the best link.

Combined with GPS data at the radio, such information can be fed back to the Mimosa Cloud Services (MCS) tool to track and map the overall performance of the backhaul radios.

Mimosa is starting with the backhaul piece because that is what it expects wireless ISPs to build out first. "You have to build out from the data center towards the subscribers," comments Fink.

The B5 Radio

The B5 is being sold as a gigabit-link radio backhaul product. Fink expects that this would translate as 400 to 500 Mbit/s being delivered to fixed wireless end-users.

The range of the radios will depend on whether they are being used in urban, suburan or rural settings:

"The range is entirely dependent on the gain of the antenna you're going to be using," says Fink. With the B5 Radio, the minimum range is one mile, but it can reach much further with higher-power antennas. "I'm out testing a link of 110 kilometers this weekend," Fink told Light Reading late last week.

Similarly, Fink expects that capex costs for customer installations will depend on the setting. He says that Mimosa is aiming for an eventual cost of less than $100 cost per customer in urban areas and up to $200 in rural areas. This is obviously much cheaper than fiber runs.

The startup, which has raised $38 million in funding from investors such as New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and Oak Investment Partners , is targeting the gamut of potential wireless ISPs with its products. "I would not count out anybody that has been looking at licensed cellular opportunities, or the satellite guys," says Fink.

Mimosa Cloud Services design capabilities are available now. The B5 Backhaul Radio is available for order in two versions -- a 5GHz backhaul radio with an integrated antenna (B5), and a radio-only version (B5c). The radios will begin shipping in the fall: The list price is $899 for the B5 and $839 for the B5c.

Mimosa expects to re-use some of the concepts in different endeavors in the future too. "This core technology is something we'll be able to use in a number of different spectrum fields," says Fink.

It is planning to introduce customer premises equipment and devices in the near future as part of its bid to supply an end-to-end system using this technology. This could happen as soon as next year, according to Fink. "Easily in the first half of next year... and that's end-to-end -- the backhaul will be up before that," he tells us.

Fink says there are no plans to license its technology yet.

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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User Rank: Light Beer
11/11/2015 | 12:42:00 PM
Re: Pretty ambitious, no?
Line of site, yes. Most microwave based communications require line of site. As for replacing copper and glass, not just yet. For those of us that live on the fringes of major metro areas this is a great alternative to cable and fiber in providing broadband internet to clients. (have you ever used satellite based ISP, blah) I applaud Mimosa and am looking forward to implementing their technology into our ever growing network. 


Keep up the good work...
User Rank: Light Beer
8/24/2014 | 3:09:20 PM
Re: Pretty ambitious, no?
UBNT for sure...

Other vendor?
User Rank: Blogger
8/7/2014 | 1:30:09 PM
Re: Pretty ambitious, no?
Yeah, there's some other interesting plays out there too...
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/7/2014 | 12:44:18 AM
Re: Pretty ambitious, no?
Dan, Entrepreneurs always have bold visions, what I find impressive is that they managed to get investors willing to invest in their bold approach.
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/6/2014 | 2:44:09 PM
Re: Pretty ambitious, no?
My first reaction: does this require a line of sight to work in practice? 

I assume not... so that it can actually compete with fiber. But then does its performance vary with weather and other environmental factors? Wireless tech is great, but actual wires and fibers have some inherent advantages.
User Rank: Blogger
8/5/2014 | 12:18:28 PM
Pretty ambitious, no?
Pretty ambitious of  young startup to come up with the radio technology, the radio network aspects, the CPE, and devices as its starting plan, no?
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