Using licensed spectrum to backhaul Wi-Fi traffic
SmartPoint™ technology enables the ZoneFlex 7321-U access point to use licensed spectrum for backhaul instead of wireline facilities like Ethernet. This greatly improves the flexibility and ease of deployment of Wi-Fi services. It is no longer necessary in have to wait for a wireline facility to be deployed before turning up service. These types of deployments can use either paired or unpaired licensed spectrum, although the normal practice is almost always to use unpaired spectrum (aka WiMAX spectrum) for this purpose. SmartPoint makes use of a USB port on the ZF 7321-U and an external cellular dongle from the usual suppliers. SmartPoint can enable cellular backhaul at multi-megabit speeds.
SmartPoint has proven to be very popular with mobile operators looking to quickly deploy large numbers of Wi-Fi access points in widely distributed areas, as it doesn’t require that wireline facilities be provided. This can include convenience stores, gas stations, coffee shops, restaurants, bars, etc. In areas where large numbers of APs are deployed, like airports and convention centers, wireline backhaul would always be used, but for locations that need just a single AP, this is the perfect solution.
Other applications for this technology include disaster recovery and transportation. In disaster recovery, the AP can use a cellular service to maintain connectivity when the wireline facilities become unavailable, usually because of a cable cut or other failure. Transportation applications involve deploying Wi-Fi APs on trains, busses, and ferries. In some case the cellular uplink is from a collocated router and in other cases it is direct from the AP.
Please note: The 7231-U is a carrier specific product that requires customization for the USB driver. As such, minimum quantities of 1000 units are required for purchase.
- Cellular backhaul via a USB port and an external dongle
- Opportunities for carriers to monetize underutilized unpaired spectrum
- Backup for critical connectivity in the event of a wireline facility failure
- Strong solution in transportation applications like trains and ferries
- Easy driver provisioning using SmartCell ™ Gateway or ZoneDirector Controllers