1Gbps wireless broadband trials to begin


9 Aug 2005

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A new technology known as WiFiber, similar to terrestrial fibre used in deploying metropolitan area networks (MANs) but deployable within a day and capable of carrying gigabit per second (Gbps) broadband services, is to be trialled in the Irish market.

An agreement between US firm GigaBeam Corporation and Irish wireless broadband player WiFi Projects for the distribution of WiFiber products in Ireland was signed following the recent issuance of a trial license by the Commissioner for Communications Regulation (ComReg), the first such authorisation in Europe for the technology.

“Ireland is our first initiative in developing market acceptance for WiFiber in Europe and other international markets. We believe that there is a significant market for WiFiber technology in these markets,” said Louis Slaughter, chairman and CEO of GigaBeam.

GigaBeam WiFiber operates in the 71-76 GHz and 81-86 GHz radio spectrum bands. This portion of the radio frequency spectrum has been authorised by the Federal Communications Commission for wireless point-to-point commercial use. Use of these frequency bands for commercial use was pioneered by GigaBeam’s founders.

GigaBeam’s technology, utilising these large blocks of authorised contiguous spectrum, enables multi-Gbps wireless communications through use of gigabit Ethernet protocols. The current speed achieved by GigaBeam’s WiFiber 2 and anticipated WiFiber G Series product lines is 1Gbps – equivalent to 647 T1 lines or 1,000 DSL connections. GigaBeam also plans deployment of future products capable of 10Gbps which is the 10 Gigabit Ethernet protocol standard.

GigaBeam’s WiFiber technology is similar to terrestrial fiber in terms of speed and reliability for deployment in MANs. However, WiFiber has a substantial advantage over terrestrial fiber because WiFiber can be deployed in a day and costs less to deploy than terrestrial fiber. Terrestrial fiber can take months to deploy and also require significant regulatory and environmental approvals prior to installation.

Allan Brennan, managing director and founder of WiFi Projects, commented: “WiFi Projects is thrilled to be working with GigaBeam in penetrating the Irish market. We have received enthusiastic support from the Irish communications regulator, ComReg, which has given us approval for a number of test and trial installations already and expects WiFiber technology to be widely deployed.”

By John Kennedy