A new offering from Cambium Networks aims to make it easier for fixed wireless access (FWA) providers to also support fiber broadband connectivity. The company introduced the new offering, dubbed Combo PON, today.
It is expected to ship this quarter and Cambium expects to see existing FWA customers using it, said Sakid Ahmed, Vice President, ePMP Business at Cambium Networks, in a pre-briefing with Telecompetitor.
“With BEAD funding coming out, some of the biggest targets for that are fiber operators that are looking to connect rural America,” said Ahmed.
“Before that happened, rural America was connected, not by AT&T or Verizon, but by wireless internet providers. Those guys are going to be enabled by the government money to deploy fiber, so when we look at that audience, we have customers from Texas to Michigan to Ohio to Minnesota.”
He cited the example of an FWA provider that is looking to deploy fiber to a community of 30 homes in “the middle of nowhere” and is currently testing the new Cambium offering.
Alternatively, a company that traditionally uses fiber broadband and needs to get connectivity across a lake might use the Cambium offering to extend that connectivity wirelessly, Ahmed said.
Cambium Combo PON
Combo PON is a combination of hardware and software.
Customers will buy a management suite of software that handles both FWA and fiber.
“The same person who’s doing installation and support will use a common set of tools across fiber and wireless,” Ahmed explained.
The line also includes an optical line terminal (OLT) that would go in a provider’s network operations center or in an outdoor enclosure, as well as customer premises equipment – an optical network terminal (ONT).
One of the ONT options can be installed outdoors, which is in keeping with the FWA traditional approach to installation used by many FWA providers, Ahmed noted. FWA installers typically put a dish on the side of a house and a cable that also carries power via PoE goes from the dish to inside the home. Combo PON uses the same approach.
“Our outdoor ONT is PoE-powered,” Ahmed said.
The Combo PON supports both GPON and XGS-PON, according to a press release.