Full Spectrum, now Ondas Networks, doubles down on 802.16s

Full Spectrum, a wireless networking firm that makes software-defined radios, has changed its name to Ondas Networks. The name change comes as the company has doubled down on the mission critical IoT (MC-IoT) space across verticals such as electric, gas and water utilities, energy, and government and transportation.

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Over the past two years, Ondas has been working with the IEEE, Utilities Technology Council (UTC), the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and a group of US electric utilities to develop a new wireless Industrial Internet standard, 802.16s, which was published late last year. The new standard, an iteration of the old WiMAX standard, is based partly on Ondas’ intellectual property.

IEEE 802.16s offers increased reliability and security for industrial internet applications. It addresses several unique requirements of industrial sectors that have slowed adoption of industrial IoT solutions: the standard operates in the VHF and UHF frequencies, where utilities tend own licensed spectrum; it offers connectivity across large geographic regions using less power than other standards; it can optimize throughput for challenging and asymmetrical network conditions and can prioritize data at the application and device layer. The standard can be used for things like advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) backhaul, grid edge and distributed energy resource (DER) management, and substation automation.

“The Industrial Internet has massive potential to generate efficiency and productivity throughout our customers’ operating environments. LTE and Wi-Fi-based data networks aren’t built to handle the unique MC-IoT demands of industrial operators,” said Ondas co-founder and CEO, Stewart Kantor, in a statement.

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The IEEE 802.16s standard is also expected to serve the growing demand for private wireless networks among industrial verticals. The IEEE 802.16s standard allows for a network to be completely disconnected from the public Internet, which is an important requirement for industrial IoT. Future offerings based on the 802.16s standard may appear attractive to utilities and other industries because they can use their own spectrum, and control the upgrade and maintenance cycles themselves.

Past attempts at targeting utilities and other industries with private licensed wireless networks have so far fallen flat. AT&T partnered with Nokia to offer a secure, high capacity LTE network for smart grid applications, but the offering hasn’t gained much traction among utilities yet.