Monday, April 4, 2016

Mimosa Channels Henry Ford with the First Licensed Backhaul Radio for Everyone - The B11.

   It's vintage American folklore how in the early days of the automobile there were tons of holdouts who still favored horses and saw cars as a fad. Then Henry Ford decided to make a car so affordable that any of his workers might own one, and that insanely bold leap changed everything. And what was once considered a toy for the rich became a mainstay of our culture. 

   Now Mimosa Networks is doing to licensed microwave (a.k.a. "licensed wireless backhaul") what Henry Ford did for the automobile. Likewise they'll be buried with orders from enterprise IT managers who, like early car skeptics, have never really warmed up to licensed microwave (okay... "wireless"). Now they can finally see what they've been missing. Incomparable performance, minuscule latency, higher bandwidths and no interference - a rock solid wireless connection second to none, and which is the true "carrier-class" standard that major carriers rely on worldwide. And what's crazy is that in a universe of licensed radios selling north of $12,000 to $15,000, Mimosa's is priced at under $4,000 (link price, both ends included). 

  "Mimosa is doing to licensed backhaul what Henry Ford did for the automobile."

   No offense to Mimosa, but their pricing reminds me of my most painful dental visit. I'm in the chair getting (qty. 1) root canal and crown for $1,600 when the dentist says into my mouth, "When do you think the Internet will finally be free?" I practically spit the gauze out and asked him when he thought root canals might be free. I mean, where am I supposed to get his $1,600 if I'm giving out free bandwidth, and why should we have free Internet and not free dental care or free textbooks in college - or free (clean) water? Yet I never thought I'd see a licensed wireless link for $4,000, so I guess my dentist's vision (and my night terrors) might not be far off. 

   Anyway, if you haven't heard much of Mimosa Networks, then you will. They won in seven categories at the 2015 WISPA awards, including Manufacturer of the Year. And what Mimosa has done will finally answer my frustration at how licensed wireless makers have all but ignored the enterprise market, relegating that business to VARs with limited means to spread awareness. Consequently, most IT managers have considered licensed wireless as something of a necessary evil, preferring relatively cheap and convenient 5GHz radios wherever possible, like early car skeptics whose horses eventually couldn't keep up with traffic. 

   Stay tuned for my follow on piece, in which I'll explore Mimosa's "B11" licensed radio - what's different about it (lots apparently), pros and cons, and whether I'd recommend it. Meanwhile, Mimosa Networks scores points for being first, but Ubiquity is hot on their heels, recently announcing their own radically priced licensed radio (also at 11GHz, which is generally good for about 10-12 miles a hop). It will be interesting to compare these brands, and I invite anyone who's taken delivery of either of them to chime in and let us know what you think. I also have pending calls to Mimosa execs and Norm Dumbroff, CEO of WAV, Inc., a national distributor, for comments. 


  1. Hi David
    traditional PTP offer today 4Gbps (2Gbps per direction) transport using 112MHz and 4096QAM in a single box. I suppose the difference in price could by driven by such big throughput differences.(cost per bit transported)
    Other added values to care are switching platform used, number and mix of Gb ports , radio performance (systemgain mainly)and bulding materials.
    I dont know Mimosa B11 deeply but could be the right product for some ISP. So, as usual, each prodcut has different segment of applicability..i dont see (IMHO) a revolution here just a well tailored product for a subset of applications.
    Does indication of 4K$ includs antenna and eventually GPS module?

    I like a lot the WIFI DCN management option


    1. Hi Simon... Thanks for your comment!

      Channel sizes and bandwidths vary according to the frequencies your radio uses, and the biggest difference is whether your frequencies are "private licensed" (e.g., 11GHz) or public / license-exempt (e.g., 5GHz).

      Licensed radios - the "cadillac" of wireless, have been hugely expensive and IT managers haven't had the confidence to buy them, again because there's little market awareness. The "revolution" is that the B11 is the first licensed backhaul radio that virtually every corporate IT buyer can afford, and so where (perceived) high price has scared buyers off who aren't familiar with licensed wireless, going forward this will no longer be the case.

      Also, you mentioned ISPs, and licensed backhaul is key to delivering (reliable) wireless bandwidth wherever there's congestion in the public bands.

      $4K does not include antennas, but I'll report back on that and more in my next entry.