Tarana Wireless has signed up another company to test its fixed wireless technology, with GeoLinks asking the FCC for permission to try out Tarana's offerings in California.
According to GeoLinks' request, the company said it will test prototype equipment from Tarana for "new technologies for Gigabit wireless broadband access to the home in rural, suburban and urban areas." The company said it plans to conduct non-line-of-sight tests in the 3300‐3550MHz and 3700‐3800 MHz spectrum bands at a distance of up to roughly four miles.
The news is the latest indication that Tarana continues to edge toward commercial deployments of its technology. Tarana was one of a number of companies in the early 2010s hoping to sell wireless backhaul technology for small cells. However, the small cell market largely imploded as operators discovered the difficulties around installing small cells in neighborhoods across the country. As the small cell opportunity dried up, Tarana turned its sights to fixed wireless – a related market that can also make use of fixed, high-speed wireless connections.
Tarana officials told Light Reading last year that the company's technology uses a proprietary transmission scheme that is initially intended for unlicensed spectrum bands, including 5GHz and the 3.5GHz CBRS band. The company said it's able to supply 1Gbit/s connections to customers around nine miles away in a line-of-sight scenario, or 500Mbit/s connections to customers around 1.8 miles away in non-line-of-sight scenarios.
In 2019, Tarana notched $60 million in funding from EchoStar and Khosla Ventures. In 2020, it announced an additional $30 million in funding from Prime Movers Lab, Liberty Latin America Ventures and Liberty Global Ventures, among others.
Dish Network's Charlie Ergen has also discussed his interest in the company's technology.
GeoLinks joins Etheric Networks in looking to test Tarana's offerings. Etheric won $248 million in government funding to build connections to thousands of locations across mountainous parts of California. Similarly, GeoLinks won $234.9 million in the FCC's recent Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) auction for rural broadband services.
GeoLinks recently purchased around 10% of Verizon's millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum holdings in major markets across the US, which the company said it may use for services including fixed wireless Internet offerings.
- Tarana plotting pivot from small cell backhaul to fixed wireless
- Some big RDOF winners lean away from fixed wireless
- Verizon sells some 5G spectrum to GeoLinks