ZinWave Ltd, a UK start-up, will emerge from stealth move next quarter with technology that enables multiple forms of wireless traffic within buildings to be carried over the multimode fiber used for data, rather than relying on a separate installation of the more expensive single-mode.
Mike Baker, CEO of the Cambridge-based company said single-mode fiber is a lot thinner than multimode (seven microns versus 60), so any alignment issue becomes a lot more complex to resolve. However, single-mode’s lower signal dispersion results in better frequency response, which makes it the preferred cabling for voice carriers, both over distance, where it requires less repeaters, and in buildings.
This leads to a situation in which buildings will typically have a single-mode riser (the vertical cabling) for enhanced mobile reception and a multimode riser for IP data traffic including WLAN. The task ZinWave’s founders set themselves was therefore to enable what Baker called the first level of convergence or wideband wireless traffic over multimode, with the signal quality that usually only single-mode fiber enables due to its reduced dispersion. The distance over which that quality would need to be achieved is 550 meters, which he said is the consensus requirement that enables you to wire 95% of the world’s buildings.
ZinWave’s proposition is to group the base station deployed in the basement of a building by a mobile operator for cellular access with a cluster of access points for WiFi, put a ZinWave hub in front of them, and run a multimode riser up through the building, talking to ZinWave antenna units deployed on each floor.
These AUs will be able to house radios for cellular (GPRS, 3G, HSDPA, or any of the generations of CDMA) as well as WiFi, Personal Mobile Radio technologies such as TETRA in Europe or iDEN in the US, and potentially WiMAX, said Martin Cassidy, senior VP for business development at ZinWave.
He said the infrastructure will replace the current BTS/single-mode/pico-cell for cellular and Ethernet switch/multimode/APs-on-each-floor for WiFi, and the hub should be ready for commercial launch in the second quarter of this year
Baker said ZinWave will target building owners and management companies with its technology, as well as large corporate tenants renting a number of floors of a building, who might want to have a hub and AUs installed on their behalf. Though it won’t be trying to sell the technology to mobile operators, he said: we’ll also be targeting them to validate the technology so that their accredited installers can implement it with their blessing.
As for the potential competition to what it calls its Distributed Antenna Systems, Baker said ZinWave sees various pretenders. The most serious is Andrew Corp, but they still require single-mode on the riser and coaxial cabling on the horizontal.
Cassidy said pricing of the hub and AUs has yet to be finalized, with details to be revealed as they near general availability. The technology will become available first in the UK, and the US will be its second market, he said.