Hi @Massimiliano thanks for the thoughtful questions and concerns about dealing with the evolution of our market vs. fiber, and previous generations of technology.
For those not wanting to read the details, a quick 6-series update, we are just about final with the FCC/CE on certifications and mass production starting mid-August. For the USA/Canada folks, the 6 GHz FCC Automated Frequency Coordinator (AFC) process is on track to getting outdoor 6 GHz certifications likely in late Q1 2023. Hopefully you saw details of some of the successful testing at Resound for Gigabit RDOF tier speeds out at 3.5 miles!
@Massimiliano you make an excellent point about adopting new technologies, and I’ll be honest that 11ac for example, provided mostly speed/channel improvements with little technology advantage to address noise vs. 11n, both being OFDM solutions. So for dense PTMP environments especially vs. rural, it was a not an easy decision for WISPs to switch or make a change in investment in a long legacy of PTMP technologies without some major improvements which could not easily be made with legacy OFDM technologies and new antenna techniques.
Mimosa clearly differentiated and led in PTP technology where we found huge success with the new speeds, price/performance, and ability to own L1/L2 source code in the chip to handle noise isolation. Even Tier 1 mobile network operators are now using our PTP technologies due to their ability to isolate in-channel noise at attractive costs. Meanwhile, we also took a lot of what we learned regarding isolation and PHY layer improvements, and applied it to MicroPoP scenarios in PTMP and found a lot of success in residential markets competing with fiber.
But this had still not met the density/scale or noise levels of course needed in urban areas - OFDM simply couldn’t tackle the noise easily, with the only option to add many narrow beam antennas trying scaling “manually” to isolate the APs. As you suggest not a lot of WISPs would not change deployment style or equipment until a much improved technology existed, none of the new solutions technically could scale, requiring extreme density of very narrow antennas - clearly not a recipe to compete with fiber in very dense markets.
Moving to the new 6-series, everything is completely different with new noise isolation techniques, which is why we decided to rethink the antenna designs this time around. Up until the 6-series, we never had taken advantage of beamforming other than TX power improvements. Now with 8x8 TX/RX beamforming, the beamform lobes that are actually narrower than 30 degrees, but they are also dynamically adjustable in null positions on a per client basis. So our 1st priority is to build a wider AP/sector that scales better that can still handle the isolation of a narrow beam antenna. We understand not everyone will want/afford 4 radios per site for 360-degree coverage, and we will also next year offer connectorized versions for ISPs that wish to customize/isolate manually with narrow beam antennas, of course that means no beamforming advantages, but an 8x8 radio is well suited for this too!
Also, with OFDMA comes new micro size Resource Units (RUs) that makeup the operating channel (as opposed to OFDM where the full channel size is a single RU in 11n/11/ac), so you can now isolate the impact of noise to the impacted RUs in the case where that noise could not be mitigated with beamform nulling.
There are also side benefits of OFDMA dividing RUs dynamically to each client transmission simultaneously in the upstream. This allows us to scale # of clients significantly over 11n/11ac, and reduce latency 4-5x, obviously this is also an important factor as we widen an antenna, you’d expect to have additional clients in the sector.
I personally believe that new 11ax based OFDMA technologies are the first new technologies for WISPs in well over a decade in the middle bands, to be able to address denser markets both in interference mitigation and scalability of the access points, as opposed to managing mass numbers of very narrow beam sectors which were better for noise but counter intuitive to scaling.
With new interest in PTMP from even T1 operators now, and big 100M and 1Gbps government funding programs fueling growth in some markets, we’re more committed than ever to make sure unlicensed spectrum can be viewed even more so as a reliable fiber alternative. They also encouraged moving towards carrier grade orchestration at the management layer, adding NETCONF support and massively evolving the MMP (management platform) to handle mass deployments. Many of these larger ISPs have also really pushed us to be totally focused on resiliency and carrier grade capabilities, so I hope that that the WISP market will enjoy a lot of the benefits of these investments and reduce the early frustrations early on.
PS a lot more to come as well in the 6-series, from dual-channel CPE (the A6 is already dual-channel ready), and also beamforming CPE types, and connectorized OFDMA APs to name a few.