The evolution of wireless technology, coupled with the emergence of smart cities and demand from organizations, particularly in the transport sector, for robust, high-bandwidth connectivity, has opened a whole new set of applications for the wireless industry, InfiNet Wireless CEO Dmitry Okorokov told Telecom Review ahead of Mobile World Congress 2018.
What will InfiNet Wireless be showcasing at MWC 2018?
MWC is quickly becoming a mainstay on our event calendar as it attracts visitors from all our target sectors, particularly operators, WISPs and enterprises that are active in the ‘smart city' arena. In fact, this year marks the third consecutive year that we will have a stand at the event.
This year, we will be showcasing our high capacity wireless solutions designed specifically for various smart city applications such as traffic management and optimization, remote environmental and health monitoring, security for communities and individuals, etc.
Prominent among the InfiNet solutions for smart cities is the InfiLINK XG 1000. Released at MWC 2016 and now in full production, this product family is able to provide real throughputs of up to 1 Gigabit per second over the air in 5 GHz license-free frequency bands, effectively doubling the capacity of InfiNet's previously highest performing product family, the InfiLINK XG.
Speaking of the InfiLINK XG, we will be showcasing the latest models which now support brand new frequency bands such as the entire range in 2 GHz, 3 GHz and 4 GHz, as well as a few enhancements to our already existing 5 GHz and 6 GHz versions. They have all been designed specifically for backhauling all types of access points in the standard WiFi frequency bands, 4G/LTE basestations for high-capacity connectivity, public safety networks, etc.
Also on display will be our new generation InfiMAN 2x2 product family, complemented by a brand new smart antenna basestation sector unit (known as the Qmxb) and a new range of subscriber terminals fitted with higher transmit power modules whilst achieving even better spectral efficiencies. All our wireless solutions are able to operate perfectly in both line-of-sight (LOS) and non-line-of-sight (NLOS) conditions.
What do you think were InfiNet's greatest achievements in 2017?
In terms of performance, 2017 was another year of strong double-digit growth for us as we saw our revenue increase by 22% year on year. What was really nice about that is the revenue split - we have traditionally seen most of our revenue (approx. 85%) come from operators and WISPs. However, over the last couple of years, we have started winning more and more projects in the mobile sector (particularly trains, shipping and open site mining), public safety (security surveillance) and the enterprise market. As such, today I would say that approximately 50% of our revenue comes from operators and WISPs with the balance coming from these three other markets.
In 2017, we also made significant investments in headcount (up by 25%) and particularly in R&D. Our R&D budget actually increased 30% year on year, our largest investment to date. This is another testament of our commitment to our customers to continue to stay on the leading edge of technology and offer them the most robust, high capacity, cost-effective solutions.
I expect these investments to pay dividends starting in Q2 2018, when we will start announcing the launch of several innovative solutions for our target markets, including operators, WISPs, mobile applications and enterprise.
How is InfiNet Wireless contributing to the smart cities movement?
We have been operating in the smart city space since its very inception, particularly when it comes to security surveillance and traffic monitoring applications.
In terms of security surveillance, if we look at just the UK alone, over 200 municipalities have deployed InfiNet Wireless networks to support these applications. Another big win for us was a project with the city of Rio de Janeiro that deployed our wireless broadband network specifically to support existing CCTV and newly-expanding IP surveillance systems across 26 targeted areas of the city.
Similarly, for traffic monitoring, our point-to-point (P2P) solutions have been deployed by mega-cities such as Atlanta, Georgia, in the United States, to help improve traffic flows and cut vehicle emissions.
InfiNet Wireless is uniquely positioned to deliver the robust and reliable wireless networks that can serve as the cornerstone of smart city projects, all based on three key benefits:
- Higher Throughput: InfiNet Wireless provides unmatched coverage and throughput. The cost-effective PTP solutions provide an unprecedented net capacity of up to 1 Gbps over long distances, in both line-of-sight (LOS) and non-line-of-sight (NLOS) conditions.
- Best Quality/Price Ratio: Combining its advanced MIMO radio technologies with the best data management and transmission protocols available in the marketplace today, InfiNet Wireless allows its customers to benefit from a carrier-grade infrastructure for all their data requirements, supporting bandwidths from as low as 1 Mbps up to 1 Gbps on a “pay-as-you-grow” basis.
- Wide Range of Frequency Bands: InfiNet Wireless carrier solutions support a wide selection of frequency bands ranging from 2.0 GHz all the way up to 6.4 GHz, all supporting advanced networking features and full quality of service (QoS).
Where do you see opportunities emerging for the wireless industry?
A few years ago, the only real applications for wireless technologies were for backhauling or as a back-up for operators and WISPs. This is in fact still the case in some emerging markets like Africa. That being said, the evolution of wireless technology coupled with the emergence of smart cities and demand from organizations, particularly in the transport sector, for extremely robust, high-bandwidth connectivity, has opened a whole new set of applications - ones that cannot be served by fixed networks or fiber.
Can you update us on InfiNet's plans for 5G?
First off, as far as 5G goes, I believe we are still in the research and proof-of-concept stage, so the actual 5G deployments and the actual mass products and 5G-based service are a few years down the road. That being said, what everyone can agree on is that regardless of what the 5G standard will look like, regardless of frequency bands, or actual applications that it will serve, 5G will require a lot more bandwidth across the board, be it for backhauling or last mile functionality.
This is where we come in. While we aren't in the business of making 5G products per say, like we have been for the past 21 years, InfiNet will provide robust, high capacity network solutions for 5G applications.
What other plans do you have for InfiNet in 2018?
From a revenue perspective, we have set ourselves some extremely aggressive targets and plan to increase market share, particularly in emerging markets like the Middle East, Africa and LATAM. Also, we will look to build on the success we saw in 2017 in the mobile application (trains, ship-to-ship, ship-to-shore, open pit mining) sector and plan to triple our revenue here.
All that being said, what we are doing on the R&D side really excites me. With the development of 5G and looking at how the technology landscape is changing, we have challenged ourselves to push the boundaries and completely revolutionize our solution portfolio. For example, we are working on several cutting-edge solutions to address specific market segments. Starting in Q2 2018, we plan on releasing new solutions for WISPs, telcos and enterprise users.
I would venture so far as to say that 2018 is a watershed year for us, and the solutions we release this year will serve as the foundation for our growth over the next three to five years.