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5G fixed wireless access in the unlicensed 5 GHz band

5G fixed wireless access is more than millimeter waves

In the U.S. market, AT&T and Verizon are betting big on delivering 5G fixed wireless access services in millimeter wave frequencies. But, despite that focus during ongoing trial work, 5G fixed wireless isn’t exclusively the domain of millimeter waves.

Jamie Fink, chief product officer and co-founder of Mimosa Networks, explained in an interview with RCR Wireless News, “We don’t do millimeter wave. We are probably the strongest proponents in the last mile of not using millimeter wave when we get into the high-density urban deployments. I think we’ve seen a split between the different mobile guys on whether they’re hedging their bets on using millimeter wave or using the mid-bands. We focus purely on the mid-bands.”

Case in point: In Spain’s Costa Blanca, Mimosa is working with WISP Aeromax to deploy 5G fixed wireless access systems–access, backhaul and client solutions–using the unlicensed 5 GHz band, largely associated with Wi-Fi.

The Aeromax service is billed as “fiber over the air,” and leverages Mimosa’s hybrid fiber/wireless technologies. For rural deployments, Mimosa connects access points to towers; in urban areas, the architecture is based on “MicroPOP hub locations” that connect to CPEs to deliver high-speed residential broadband.

“We’ve developed some fairly new technology,” Fink said. “I think it’s quite similar, to some degree, to what has been used in TDD applications for cellular in the past.” Mimosa calls this proprietary tech Spectrum Reuse Synchronization, which uses massive multiple-input, multiple-output (MIMO) and advanced beamforming. 

“When you run into spectrum availability,” Fink said, spectrum reuse is important. This leverages distributed GPS at all the sites and synchronizes the network so we don’t interfere with ourselves. We can quarter the amount of spectrum that’s necessary across the network at colocation sites and towers. The short range nature of the dense environments we’re dealing with make the use of unlicensed extremely useful. Really, the difference is noise.”




Sean Kinney, Editor in Chief
Sean Kinney, Editor in Chief
Sean focuses on multiple subject areas including 5G, Open RAN, hybrid cloud, edge computing, and Industry 4.0. He also hosts Arden Media's podcast Will 5G Change the World? Prior to his work at RCR, Sean studied journalism and literature at the University of Mississippi then spent six years based in Key West, Florida, working as a reporter for the Miami Herald Media Company. He currently lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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