As fiber and wireless jockey for a piece of the FCC Rural Development Opportunity Fund (RDOF) payout, Resound Networks and Airspan Networks Inc. have achieved fixed wireless access data speeds that may make wireless an even more competitive choice to close the digital divide. Using 6 GHz spectrum at a distance of over three miles in real-world testing, the two companies achieved speeds of 1 Gbps download and 500 Mbps upload, using Airspan’s Mimosa A6 and C6x WiFi 6E OFDMA (orthogonal frequency-division multiple access) technologies.
“This test demonstrates the importance of this eagerly anticipated band to deliver fiber quality services via wireless in rural areas nationwide,” said Tyson Curtis, CEO of Resound Networks, which is a wireless ISP that serves New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. The test exceeded Resound Networks’ gigabit-tier distance expectations by 50 percent, he added.
Resound Networks plans to use the Airspan technology to “expedite the deployment” of gigabit services to more subscribers in rural markets than it previously had planned. “Resound is committed to expanding gigabit-tier services as we rapidly expand into new markets,” Curtis said.
Resound Networks tested the Airspan Mimosa 6-series FWA solution using new 160 MHz wide channels that will become available within the 6 GHz band, demonstrating up to 1.84 Gbps aggregate speed to subscribers. The Airspan A6 outdoor fixed wireless access point also boasts up to 7 Gbps total capacity.
“We are in tandem introducing a long-range, multi-gigabit-capable band with the 6 GHz band, as well as the next generation of massive MIMO, OFDM and interference-canceling technologies,” said Eric Stonestrom, Chairman and CEO of Airspan Networks.
The 6 GHz band is in the final steps of being made available by the FCC for coordinated outdoor unlicensed use. “With very low noise characteristics versus 5 GHz unlicensed bands, larger 160 MHz channels, and significantly improved propagation versus millimeter wave band solutions, the 6 GHz spectrum band is the best choice for high reliability longer distance gigabit services,” Stonestrom said. The Airspan Mimosa 6-series will be commercially available this summer.
By J. Sharpe Smith, Inside Towers Technology Editor