Alphabet Again Exits Drones: Others Again Jump In, Reports IDTechEx

BOSTON, Feb. 1, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — In 2017, after four years of setbacks and crashes, Alphabet shut its project flying solar-powered fixed-wing drones in the upper atmosphere to beam the internet to those cut-off.

BOSTON, Feb. 1, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — In 2017, after four years of setbacks and crashes, Alphabet shut its project flying solar-powered fixed-wing drones in the upper atmosphere to beam the internet to those cut-off. Facebook then exited its similar project, but the Chinese aerospace industry, Airbus, Boeing, and NASA are progressing them very well. Aloft for years, they will take 5G and 6G communications to everyone, perform surveillance, and more. Meanwhile, Alphabet, parent of the mighty Google, has now dumped its upper-atmosphere balloon version as well.

The Chinese even have a smaller solar drone Mei Ying that survives night and day at the weaker light at 4600 meters for fast establishment of a WiFi emergency-information network and for surveillance in remote regions. Later it may team with 6G upper-atmosphere drones and low-earth-orbit LEO satellites. See the new IDTechEx report, “6G Communications Market, Devices, Materials 2021-2041“.

“The road to commercial viability has proven much longer and riskier than hoped. So we’ve made the difficult decision to close down Loon,” Astro Teller, who heads X, the Alphabet subsidiary in 2021. His balloons in the upper atmosphere were to bring cellular connectivity to remote parts of the world where building a traditional mobile network would be too difficult and costly. Alphabet promised internet connectivity to everyone. This is Alphabet’s third drone exit because in 2020, they shut the wind-power project Makani based on a conductive tether to a large drone. SpaceX has just adopted that idea, promising product in two years.

The Loon helium-filled balloons were powered by solar panels. Artificial intelligence guided them, transmitting internet signals to ground stations and personal devices. The first commercial use was in 2020. With Telkom Kenya, 35 balloons were deployed to provide a 4G LTE network connection to a 31,000 square mile area, including Nairobi. Earlier, they provided cellular service to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.

The business case for Loon has not materialized partly because there is competition from other companies such as Starlink from SpaceX and Blue Origin from Amazon, both of which use thousands of small LEO satellites.

However, a different type of inflatable from the Loon balloons is the unmanned airship, and this can compete with LEO satellites by holding position, carrying over ten times the payload at low cost. Lockheed-Martin and Thales Alenia use a large area of flexible photovoltaics on top, rolling to face the sun. Thales Alenia Space (the joint venture between Thales, 67% and Leonardo, 33%) and Thales signed a contract with French defense procurement agency DGA in 2021 for a concept study of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance applications using this Stratobus™. The first flight will be in 2023.

Raghu Das, CEO of analysts IDTechEx, says, “6G Communications may become an even bigger business than the 5G that is now rolling out worldwide. The Chinese have just sent up a satellite to study 6G physics in the simple environment of space. This is the virgin territory of terahertz electronics called “the terahertz gap”. Meanwhile, IDTechEx offers deep studies on 5G and its specifics, such as low-loss materials. For both 5G and 6G, the software, hardware, and materials opportunities are enormous. Despite this, only some of the giants are successfully participating.”

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Cambium Networks is First to Market a Gigabit Outdoor Point to Point Solution Leveraging the 802.11ax Standard

ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill., Feb. 1, 2021 /PRNewswire/ —Cambium Networks (NASDAQ: CMBM), a leading global provider of wireless networking solutions, today announced the new ePMP™ Force 400 series point to point system with gigabit speed fixed wireless connectivity in the Sub-6 GHz spectrum.

ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill., Feb. 1, 2021 /PRNewswire/ —Cambium Networks (NASDAQ: CMBM), a leading global provider of wireless networking solutions, today announced the new ePMP™ Force 400 series point to point system with gigabit speed fixed wireless connectivity in the Sub-6 GHz spectrum. Service providers and enterprises can rapidly extend connectivity and expand capacity without the cost of licensed spectrum, expensive subscriptions or trenching fiber.

“The ePMP Force 425 is an amazing upgrade from the previous generation and the very first 802.11ax based optimized fixed wireless solution in the industry,” said Josh Luthman, President of Imagine Networks. “It gets us fantastic spectral efficiency, the hardware is unmatched, and we get to use the ePMP software we have been comfortable with for several years. The ePMP Force 425 also opens up numerous opportunities to leverage sub 6 GHz unlicensed spectrum in an affordable manner for various point to point applications.”

Network operators can extend coverage with cost-effective backhaul for enterprise access, fiber extensions, Wi-Fi access or CCTV networks with the ePMP Force 400’s flexible hardware design, 80 MHz channel support and improved over the air efficiencies providing up to 1 Gbps speed. The ePMP Force 425 is ideal for service providers looking to deliver high-capacity access services to residential and business customers. It also serves as a low-cost backhaul for MicroPoP’s and outdoor Wi-Fi access points that require high capacity at moderate range without the overhead of licensed microwave. With an integrated Small Form-Factor Pluggable (SFP) port and optional Gigabit Passive Optical Networks (GPON) Optical Network Unit (ONU) module, the ePMP Force 425 also makes a great fiber extension to reach places where fiber cannot be cost justified.

“We were very impressed by the performance of the product and equally excited about the opportunities it presents us for extending broadband connectivity,” said Marijan Rengel, CEO of Pro-Ping Telekom. “The affordability of the platform, 1024 QAM modulation, flexibility of the hardware and ePMP user interface makes this an ideal choice for our network.”

“Cambium Networks listens to service providers and enterprise network operators, and we are pushing the envelope to develop affordable gigabit wireless solutions that deliver a low total cost of ownership,” said Sakid Ahmed, general manager of ePMP and cnVision business for Cambium Networks. “The ePMP Force 400 series, leveraging a leading 802.11ax technology platform from Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., builds on top of the field proven ePMP fixed wireless architecture, and expands fixed wireless broadband capability without the overhead of licensed spectrum.”

“We are pleased to work closely with an innovative collaborator like Cambium Networks as fixed wireless solidifies its place as a powerful option for high speed internet access,” said Ganesh Swaminathan, senior director, product management, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “Delivering high performance 802.11ax capabilities to these offerings with the Qualcomm®Networking Pro 800 platform can ensure high-capacity, stable, and high-speed experiences for today’s most demanding environments.”

The ePMP Force 400 is a global product supporting specific channels dependent on local country regulations. The system includes an SFP port making it easy to extend the fiber network. With an innovative optional range extender attachment, the ePMP Force 425 can offer an additional 6 dBi of gain without installing a completely new dish. The new radios support LINKPlanner™ planning software, cnHeat™ heatmapping modeling tool, and the cnMaestro™ management system. The radios are IP67 rated for rugged outdoor environments.

The ePMP Force 400 is available in two variations:

Force 425 – equipped with a 25 dBi integrated dish antenna Force 400C – connectorized with two RP-SMA RF interfaces for dish or horn antennas

For more information, register to attend our free webinar “High-Capacity Enterprise Access & Low-Cost Backhaul: Introducing the ePMP Force 400 Series” on February 02 at 9 am US Central time.

Cambium Networks’ solutions are available through Cambium’s global network of partners.

About Cambium Networks

Cambium Networks empowers millions of people globally with wireless connectivity. Its products are used by commercial and government network operators as well as broadband service providers to connect people, places and things. With a single network architecture spanning fixed wireless and Wi-Fi, centrally managed via the cloud, Cambium enables operators to achieve maximum performance with minimal spectrum and low overhead. Cambium empowers a growing ecosystem of partners who design and deliver multi-gigabit wireless solutions that just work.

Qualcomm is a trademark or registered trademark of Qualcomm Incorporated.

Qualcomm Networking Pro Series 800 Platform is a product of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

Imagine Networks and Pro-Ping Telekom references are used with permission.

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SOURCE Cambium Networks