Streetlight Company Aims to Support Wireless Connectivity for Neutral Hosts

Signify, formerly known as Philips Lighting, now offers streetlights that can also support connectivity to wireless networks, including cellular networks.

“We replace the light fixture, not the pole, to build out wireless mesh networks in the last mile of cities,” said Malik Ishak, Director of Smart City Connectivity at Signify’s BrightSites business unit, in an interview with Telecompetitor.

Ishak noted that the equipment is being tested by a neutral host provider interested in potentially making the connectivity available to wireless carriers. The technology also has been deployed to support smart city deployments in North America, including public Wi-Fi, fixed wireless access, traffic monitoring/ parking and public safety applications.

The wireless technology underlying the Signify uses spectrum in the 60 GHz band.

“5G can ride over the 60 GHz,” said Ishak. “We’re the transport layer.”

At the application layer, he said, “you can have fixed wireless access transmitting to buildings, public Wi-Fi access points on poles, or cameras on poles for traffic monitoring, parking applications and public safety, etc. DC power is now drawn from the light fixture.”

The wireless technology supports speeds of 3.8 Gbps for each of four antenna sectors over distances of 150 meters between light fixtures, according to Ishak.

Streetlight Wireless

Streetlights may be owned by the municipality or the utility company, Ishak explained.

“In addition to utilities and municipalities looking to deploy smart city networks, we’re approaching neutral hosts, internet service providers and mobile operators,” he said.

Signify already has relationships with many utilities and municipalities that own poles, many of whom are interested in smart lighting that can save on energy and maintenance costs. As the pole owners contemplate the move to smart lighting, they are also showing interest in supporting smart city initiatives and the revenue opportunity that may come with also adding wireless connectivity through such existing assets, Ishak said.

Updated to state that Signify was formerly known as Philips Lighting

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