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WaveTunnelTM Technology Delivers an Intelligent, Indoor, Broadband Backhaul Solution for the Enterprise with the Performance of Fiber, but Without Costly and Cumbersome Cabling.

SANTA CLARA, Calif.April 6, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Airvine’s WaveTunnel technology has begun to ship to selected enterprise accounts worldwide.  Those deployments have generated great excitement and we are planning on general availability in Q3.  This technology will completely revolutionize enterprise indoor networking by delivering the broadband backhaul speeds required by technologies like Wi-Fi 6/6E, but without any of the limitations of having to pull wire.

Early deployments are with enterprise clients in the multi-dwelling unit (MDU), manufacturing, warehousing, and hospitality sectors.  These clients have a strong need for a high-performance backhaul solution that is quick and easy to install, and can easily accommodate rapid moves, adds, and changes.  The do-it-yourself nature of a WaveTunnel installation is also a compelling feature.

“We are very excited to begin shipments of our ground-breaking WaveTunnel technology.  There has been great enthusiasm on the part of our pilot customers who are eager to get this technology into their production networks.  The pilot phase has been massively oversubscribed.” Vivek Ragavan, CEO, Airvine

New enterprise wireless deployments of Wi-Fi 6/6E require high-performance backhaul. Yet existing cabling may be insufficient – either poor quality, or in the wrong places. Indoor private 4G and 5G deployments face similar challenges in the future as well. Wireless backhaul solutions such as Airvine’s have the potential to be a disruptor in these scenarios.” Dean Bubley, Director at Disruptive Analysis

“Airvine’s solution is very impressive, and it will be a game-changer.  The days of disrupting the enterprise with technicians stringing wire through drop ceilings and heating ducts is over. The future is about quick and effortless installs of broadband wireless backhaul technology.  This is the latest in an industry trend toward Replace The Wire Technology” Claus Hetting, CEO Wi-Fi NOW Events

Airvine is developing an entirely new class of wireless technology that utilizes unlicensed spectrum in the 60 GHz band (57 to 71 GHz in the U.S.) to backhaul indoor enterprise data traffic.  It’s the perfect fit for enterprise customers that:

  1. Can’t tolerate the long disruptions required to pull wire
  2. Need fast and effortless moves, adds, and changes
  3. Have situations where it’s very difficult to pull wire
  4. Are planning additional access networks that require backhaul; Examples here include IT, OT, xR (augmented reality), and private 5G (future)
  5. Have an urgent business need for immediate or temporary connectivity
  6. Need broadband backhaul to support Wi-Fi 6/6E access networks
  7. Lease their facility and want to avoid the large sunk cost of a structured wiring upgrade

The Magic of Airvine technology can be found in the following:

  1. Very high-gain beamforming arrays (~30 dBi) that can easily punch through most building materials.
  2. Sophisticated software that can manage traffic flows and route around obstructions.
  3. Automatic beam steering, which makes installations effortless.
  4. Multi-gigabit/sec data transfer rates.
  5. No RF expertise is required to install and manage the network.

For more on Airvine technology please visit us at www.airvine.com

About Airvine

Airvine is a fast-growing Silicon Valley innovator of intelligent broadband wireless backhaul solutions for the enterprise. The company has developed the industry’s first indoor 60 GHz wireless system that exceeds the speed and rivals the reliability of structured wiring solutions at a fraction of the deployment time and cost. Patented RF innovations extend the range and gain of wireless signals, penetrating walls and steering around obstacles that impede transmission.

SOURCE Airvine

Airvine wins Best Enterprise Wi-Fi Solution at the very prestigious Wi-Fi NOW 2020 award ceremony.

Santa Clara, CA — Today Airvine announced a final Seed financing round with Valley Capital Partners and Orbit Venture Partners, bringing total financing to $7 million.  In conjunction with the Seed financing, Steve O’Hara of Valley Capital Partners has joined Airvine’s board of directors.

Airvine has also emerged as the winner of the Best Enterprise Wi-Fi Solution at the Wi-Fi NOW industry award ceremony. “Wi-Fi NOW is the leading consulting, advocacy, and media organization in the wireless space. It is a huge honor to win this award. The judges are well-regarded analysts from throughout the industry, and it is great to see that our value proposition has been broadly recognized” said Vivek Ragavan, CEO of Airvine.

Airvine is developing an entirely new class of wireless technology that utilizes unlicensed spectrum in the V-band (57 to 71 GHz in the U.S.) to backhaul enterprise voice and data traffic. The legacy approach to in-building backhaul has always been to use copper cabling. CAT5 was broadly deployed back before the turn of the century, with CAT6 (and soon CAT7) being deployed today. The legacy approach made sense when the goal was to bring wired connectivity to every cubicle in an office building, but those days are long gone. Wi-Fi is now the dominant access technology as it allows the network to support a mobile workforce, but to get the most out of a wireless network a backhaul architecture is required that installs quickly, has the needed throughput, and can easily support moves, adds, and changes. Airvine’s WaveTunnel technology will usher in a new era of the all-wireless enterprise.

Company founder and Chairman of the Board, Hatch Graham, “We are delighted to have completed the seed funding round, which allows us to finish product development and start commercial trials with enterprise accounts from a variety of industry verticals. Our focus is on forward-looking companies that are interested in a more flexible and cost-effective approach that will increase business agility.”

Steve O’Hara said, “We are excited to be part of the Airvine journey. Wireless has long dominated the access space and is now set to take its place as a major backhaul technology. We are always looking for disruptive technologies, and we believe that Airvine is uniquely positioned to change the enterprise backbone industry in a big way.”

Vivek Ragavan, CEO added, “We are very pleased with the team that we are pulling together. It consists of world-class networking and RF experts from across the industry and we are driving rapidly toward product availability in 2021.”

The Big Idea behind Airvine is that the major changes in access networks will require major changes in the backhaul infrastructure that supports these networks. Wi-Fi 6 (and very soon 6E) provide an enormous capacity increase that is way beyond what legacy copper cabling can support. These old networks will need to be replaced with a broadband solution capable of backhauling tens of gigabits/sec. It’s not just Wi-Fi that needs backhauling, the industry is also set to embrace private in-building 5G cellular networks. These wireless access technologies will sweep through enterprise accounts worldwide and will have a major impact on the structured cabling market, which is valued at $7.5 billion a year worldwide.

 

About Valley Capital Partners

Valley Capital Partners backs exceptional entrepreneurs solving hard problems in huge addressable markets that require intense curiosity, intellectual depth, and often, science and deep technology. VCP is backed by some of Silicon Valley’s most iconic investors, family offices, and financial institutions. Valley Capital Partners is based in Menlo Park, California.
http://valleycappartners.com

About Orbit Venture Partners

Orbit Venture Partners is dedicated to providing appropriate levels of capital and significant hands-on guidance to world-class entrepreneurs with pioneering ideas in opportunistic markets. Orbit Venture Partners is based in Rowayton, CT and Menlo Park, CA.
http://orbitvp.com

About Airvine

Airvine is a fast-growing Silicon Valley innovator of advanced high-capacity wireless solutions. The company has developed the industry’s first indoor 60 GHz wireless system that exceeds the speed and rivals the reliability of existing cabling at a fraction of the deployment time and cost. Patented RF innovations extend the range and gain of wireless signals, penetrating walls, and steering around obstacles that impede transmission. Something never before possible within the 60 GHz band.
https://airvine.com

The world loves all things wireless, and this love affair has consumed all the high-value spectrum below 6 GHz. In an effort to continue to meet the demand for more capacity the industry is looking to the millimeter-wave bands, and specifically the V-band up at 60 GHz. This band provides 14 GHz (57-71 in the U.S.) of unlicensed spectrum and its use has been standardized by the IEEE as 802.11ad and ay. The early focus of this spectrum was on residential broadband deployments to better compete with fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) services. We are now seeing a move toward using the V-band for indoor enterprise backbone applications. This band provides a great deal of spectrum, but one must be aware of the propagation challenges when operating at these frequencies. They can be summarized as follows:

1) Free space path loss (FSPL), as defined by Friis, increases as the square of the frequency plus the square of the distance.

Free Space Path Loss (dB) = 20log10(d) + 20log10(f) + 92.45 — where d is in kilometers and f is in GHz

While the math might seem interesting, why do we see greater path loss in the high-frequency bands? It turns out that it all comes down to the size of the receive antenna. At 60 GHz, the optimum antenna size is less than 1/2 a wavelength or about 2-millimeters, whereas, at 6 GHz, it’s an order of magnitude larger. This number gets squared for antenna sizing, and the bigger the antenna the more energy that gets captured. So, yes, a V-band signal will see an additional 20 dB of path loss as compared to a 6 GHz signal, and it doesn’t matter whether you are going 2 feet or 2 kilometers. It’s all about the size of the receive antenna. While this might sound like a negative, it really isn’t.

2) Path loss from foliage is always hard to estimate as it depends on the type of tree, the thickness of the canopy, proximity to the radio, wind, moisture in the leaves, and frequency of the RF signal. There is a very good ITU paper on the subject with an excellent chart that estimates the loss you can expect with different frequencies. Foliage is never your friend, and it gets worse as you move into the millimeter-wave bands. One great way to eliminate the problems with trees is to operate indoors.

Attenuation in Vegetation (PDF)

3) Path loss from rain is almost totally nonexistent in the bands below 6 GHz, but as you move up into the millimeter-wave bands, it becomes quite severe. At 60 GHz, you can expect about 10 dB per kilometer of loss from heavy rain, which is defined as 50 mm/hour. There is an excellent report by the FCC (Bulletin #70) that provides a lot more detail on rain fade and general atmospheric challenges. Again, this is eliminated by operating indoors where you are well away from the elements.

FCC Bulletin #70 (PDF)

4) Non-line of sight (NLoS) represents all sorts of problems for the V-band because diffraction becomes much less of a factor above 10 GHz, which means multipath comes down to reflection, and reflection requires a smooth surface. A rough surface produces a much more diffuse reflection. The end result is that the millimeter bands are going to struggle in any non-line of sight situation beyond about 100 meters. A great way around this problem is to relay the signal using intermediate nodes (repeaters). These nodes can extend the range of the signal and punch through wood, glass, sheetrock, and most other building materials at short distances.

5) Oxygen absorption is a real problem up around 60 GHz, with path loss equal to 20 dB per kilometer. This greatly reduces the range of the signal, but greatly increases the spectral reuse. In high-capacity density situations, the more limited the RF propagation, the greater the spectral reuse, and very high spectral reuse enables an enormous amount of wireless network capacity. In a 60,000 square foot office building the same V-band channel can be used dozens of times without any noticeable co-channel interference. Try that with the Wi-Fi bands down at 2.4 and 5.8 GHz.

6) One great advantage with the V-band is that beamforming is easy to implement because the antenna elements (see section #1) are smaller than a thumbtack and a large phased-array can be packed into a very small enclosure. This enables the transmitter to focus a very narrow beam at the receiver. By creating a narrow beam it is possible to greatly increase the gain as seen by the receiver, which helps overcome a lot of the free space path loss (FSPL) while at the same time limiting co-channel interference. These large arrays also greatly increase the receive sensitivity.

7) This all sounds great, but what about interference? The V-band consists of unlicensed spectrum which opens up the possibility of interference from neighbor networks. This is not a problem with indoor deployments because the very limited propagation characteristics at these frequencies will prevent signals from outside your building, or even on another floor within your building, from leaking over into your deployment. Control over real estate gives you all the protection required. There is a very good whitepaper by the Facebook team for the Telecom Infrastructure Project (TIP) that looks at attenuation at 60 GHz for different types of building materials. The primary building material encountered within an office building is sheetrock which is easily penetrated by V-band signals (see chart on page 1).

TIP mmWave Networks Analysis (PDF)

These RF characteristics make the V-band ideally suited to indoor applications where there is no rain or foliage, interference is non-existent, and very high spectral reuse enables a great deal of wireless network capacity. As with everything wireless, there is no substitute for a field trial of the technology. Today’s enterprise customers will be making use of frequencies in the low-band, mid-band, and V-band. Each has value, but make sure to use the right tool for the job.

The Rise of the All-Wireless Enterprise

In the 20 years since Wi-Fi first emerged, it has rapidly reshaped the networking world.  It is now the primary method for data access in enterprise and residential applications worldwide.  Because of the huge success of Wi-Fi, there is no longer a requirement to pull copper cable to every desktop which fundamentally changes the nature of in-building networking.  Wi-Fi will soon be joined by private 5G cellular networks that run in the CBRS band (in the U.S.) and will greatly improve in-building cellular service.  CBRS uses a very special licensing regime that allows the enterprise to easily acquire the needed spectrum.  The move to the all-wireless enterprise is well underway, but its success depends on spectrum.

The FCC has been hard at work opening up new spectrum for both licensed and unlicensed use.  Their latest effort involves spectrum sharing in the band between 5.925 – 7.125 GHz.  This represents 1.2 GHz of spectrum and the IEEE has wasted no time extending 802.11ax (aka Wi-Fi 6) to operate in the 6 GHz band. This extension is now known as Wi-Fi 6E and merchant silicon is on its way.  Note: Wi-Fi 6 and 6E are certification programs within the Wi-Fi Alliance.

The emergence of Wi-Fi 6 and 6E and the opening up of 1.2 GHz of new spectrum is creating a wireless perfect storm.  The tremendous throughput of this technology, approaching 10 Gbps (theoretical), is made possible by using 160 MHz wide channels, advanced beamforming techniques, and multi-user MIMO (aka spatial multiplexing).  The latter enables a single access point to communicate with as many as 8 users at the SAME time over the SAME RF channel.  Each of these data streams can approach 1 Gbps, which means a 30,000 square feet office building with 150 heavy data users can easily be supported with half a dozen Wi-Fi 6E Access Points, and with 7 non-overlapping 160 MHz channels in the 6 GHz band, there is no meaningful interference.  This fundamentally changes the nature of enterprise in-building networking.  No more having to pull wire to every desktop, now it’s about connecting a handful of broadband access points back to the wiring closet.

So, what is the optimum way to backhaul Wi-Fi 6/6E and private 5G cellular access points?

One option is to use shielded CAT6A cable with a solid core and a plenum rating.  This is more expensive, thicker, and harder to pull than CAT5, but it can deliver the throughput required for Wi-Fi 6 and 6E AP’s and it can support PoE (power-over-Ethernet) at distances up to 100 meters.  As a result, CAT6A has become the default structured cabling solution in most new enterprise builds, but it has its limitations.

  1. Moves, adds, and changes (MAC) can be extremely problematic as it involves techs pulling wire through ceilings and walls, and change is the only certainty in today’s enterprise.
  2. Installs take a long time, especially in a retrofit. It’s not just the time spent pulling wire, but the time it takes to get on the contractor’s calendar.
  3. It’s not consistent with an increasingly mobile workforce. The network must be as agile as the workforce it supports, and the use of copper cable tends to fix the location of Wi-Fi AP’s.
  4. It can be very expensive to deploy in certain situations

There is a very good paper by Siemon called Zone Cabling for Cost Savings (14-11-10-zone-cabling-for-cost-savings.pdf) that looks at the cost to deploy different types of structured cabling.  Shielded CAT6A with a solid core and a plenum rating is seen as the optimum enterprise solution, but @ a cost of over $500 per drop (installed).  The cost to pull wire is dominated by the cost of labor, which can vary greatly depending on location.  Because labor is such a big part of the equation, the normal practice is to add a second drop during the install.  It doesn’t cost much more to double up on the cables once the techs are onsite, but if you have to come back later it can get very expensive.  This does have an impact on the quoted cost per drop.  In the example above, it is approx. $500 per drop because the cost is amortized over 72 drops to 36 different locations.  If the goal is to connect a single broadband access point, then a single drop is more than enough.  The Siemon paper also looked at the cost of moves, adds, and changes, which can get very expensive even with a zone cabling approach.

The bottom line when pulling cable is that it’s usually best to overbuild in hopes of avoiding expensive moves, adds, and changes in the future.  The chart below is from that report.

The emergence of millimeter-wave technology operating in the V-band offers a compelling option to legacy wired solutions.  There is enough spectrum in these bands (14 GHz) to match the throughput of fiber, but with all the flexibility of a wireless solution.  Note: the FCC has also been busy opening up spectrum in the millimeter-wave bands.

  • V-band standards (802.11ad and ay) from the IEEE have enabled the merchant silicon industry to develop the needed chipsets
  • The V-band is well suited to indoor deployments as it avoids rain, foliage, and long distances, all of which are a problem at 60 GHz
  • Moves, adds, and changes become effortless when using radios to backhaul Wi-Fi 6/6E AP’s
  • Advanced antenna technology and wide channels enable the technology to backhaul at rates approaching 10 Gbps. See the blog titled “7 Reasons to Love the V-band” for more on antenna technology.
  • It’s a perfect fit when the density of endpoints is fairly low as is the case with powerful Wi-Fi 6/6E AP’s.
  • There is NO need to overbuild as it is easy to add capacity at a later date.
  • Expect millimeter-wave radios to be very cost-effective, and to operate in ring configurations for reliability and even lower cost.

CAT6 should continue to do just fine in data centers, but in office buildings and factories look for wireless backhaul solutions to begin to dominate.  Backhauling with millimeter-wave radios is a perfect complement to Wi-Fi 6/6E and private 5G cellular access points as they begin to roll out in today’s more forward-looking enterprises.