UK start-up Zinwave has revealed a wireless-over-fibre network product that will carry 3G, GSM, Wi-Fi and private radio over multi-mode fibre, and announced plans to support the in-building GSM pico-cells made possible by the low-power licences sold by Ofcom this month.
"The UK is taking a lead in in-building GSM," said Mike Baker, chief executive of Zinwave. "The new licences have tripled the number of operators who can do in-building GSM."
The Zinwave Distributed Antenna System (DAS) carries a wider range of frequencies over greater distances on multi-mode fibre, making it cheaper to distributed wireless systems over fibre in a building, said Baker, and GSM pico-cells could remove a potential barrier. "A DAS is often not cost-effective for Wi-Fi alone, but with two services, the cost equation tips towards DAS."
The products promised earlier this year, consist of a hub which converges radio signals onto fibre, and remotely-attached antenna systems, which can be spread throughout a building ensuring - Zinwave says - overall coverage and central control.
They were shown at the Wireless Event in London last week, and will be on sale by September. Prices are not announced, but will be "lower cost than single mode DAS, and a major cost saving over re-fibring a building," said Baker.
Zinwave is based on research from University College and Cambridge, which has demonstrated (PDF) the ability to carry 802.11b signals 1km over multimode fibre. "We have had a patent granted, and others are on the way," said Baker.
The product will be distributed by Magdalene, a service provider which has run trials of the DAS. "In a trial multi-storey building, we used the DAS to distribute Tetra signals," said Baker. "Other services are being added."
Multimode fibre is attractive because it is cheap, and already installed, said Baker. Also, like Cat 5 cables and unlike single-mode fibre, it is easy for IT staff to terminate the cables without calling in specialists.