Mimosa wants FCC to open 10.0-10.5 GHz band for backhaul

Two-year-old startup Mimosa Networks wants the FCC to open up the 10.0-10.5 GHz band for lightly licensed broadband services that would share the spectrum with the band's current users--ham radio operators as well as federal and non-federal radiolocation services.

Amending Parts 2 and 90 of the commission's rules so wireless Internet service providers (WISPs) and others could use the 10 GHz band for line-of-sight, point-to-point or point-to-multipoint wireless backhaul would relieve congestion caused by backhaul in the unlicensed 5 GHz band, the company contends.

That, in turn, would free up and promote the more efficient use of the unlicensed 5 GHz band for non-line-of-sight services to "end-client, Wi-Fi customers," said Jaime Fink, Mimosa's chief product officer. "It's a good thing to maintain Wi-Fi spectrum for Wi-Fi, if we can," he added.

Mimosa filed a petition for rulemaking with the FCC back on May 1, 2013, but just began publicizing the effort because the commission is now seeking public input on the idea, with initial comments due April 10.

Mimosa said its proposal to free spectrum in the lower part of the 10 GHz band, pursuant to Subpart Z rules, would address the need for efficient microwave backhaul to serve both fixed and mobile wireless broadband services. Lightly licensed users of the newly freed 10 GHz spectrum would refer to a spectrum database for link planning.

"We've actually created a band plan that notches out the places for the ham radio guys to still operate there and also notches out the current usage of amateur satellite," Fink told FierceWirelessTech.

Mimosa suggests dynamic frequency selection restrictions to prevent interference with federal and civilian radar operations. "To protect the very small amount of radar done in this spectrum, if we see it, we get out of it and don't interfere with it," Fink said.  

A major selling point for the 10 GHz band is that it is much less susceptible to attenuation due to rain-fading effects than are higher frequency spectrum alternatives for backhaul, specifically the 60, 70 and 80 GHz bands.

The new band also would be a good alternative to Part 101 microwave bands at 11 GHz, 17-18 GHz and 23 GHz, for which licenses can be difficult to obtain in key service areas. Mimosa's approach for the 10 GHz band would also "use more modern radio techniques than old-school microwave," Fink said.

"We're proposing using a much more modern type of radio that would take advantage of the supply chain of Wi-Fi chips," he noted.

Mimosa contends opening the lower 10 GHz band for sharing would complement the FCC's proposal to make the 3.5 GHz band  available on a shared basis for small cell deployments. The Wireless Internet Service Provider Association (WISPA) said it broadly supports Mimosa's spectrum-sharing approach.

Mimosa, based in Campbell, Calif., raised its Series B round of funding in mid-2013 from New Enterprise Associates and Oak Investment Partners. The 40-employee company was started by Brian Hinman, founder of Polycom, PictureTel and 2wire, and Fink, who was products lead at Polycom, 2wire and Zhone.

Mimosa says it is developing an end-to-end portfolio of technology that targets "Generation Wi-Fi," the younger generation that expects wireless access at speeds above 1 Gbps.

Last month, Mimosa announced a product-development partnership with Airspan. And in January, Quantenna Communications said it would be the exclusive supplier of 802.11ac wave 2 technology to Mimosa for use in multiple, as yet unspecified, outdoor Wi-Fi products. The deal gives Mimosa access to the chip software so the company can enable the radio technology to work at longer distances while maintaining compatibility with Wi-Fi standards, Fink said.

"We're not announcing products just yet. That will be coming relatively soon," Fink added. He added Mimosa is developing an "end-to-end portfolio" to deal with backhaul, as evidenced by its FCC petition, as well as high-capacity access technology and complementary technology for use in client devices.

For more:
- see this Mimosa release and this blog entry
- see this FCC document

Related articles:
FCC poised to open up more of 5 GHz band for unlicensed wireless use
WifiForward adds ballast to demand for unlicensed spectrum
Quantenna, Mimosa partner on 802.11ac wave 2 outdoor Wi-Fi products
FCC: 3.5 GHz will become the small cell band