WaveTunnel Update (September 2021)

Progress continues on the WaveTunnel™ (WT) development program with a plan to enter field trials by early October. This is an exciting time as we get closer and closer to releasing this groundbreaking piece of technology. In this update we are including pictures of the unit as it comes together. It is designed to be ceiling mounted or wall mounted, and uses AC power.  When the WaveTunnel becomes generally available (GA) in Q4, the power supply will be integrated into the unit. There will be several installation brackets that will be made available to deal with different situations. In the picture on the right (unit is laying on its side) you can see the opening in the top of the WT device where the installation bracket and Ethernet cables will attach. The unit will stand upright as can be seen in the picture below and to the left.

Each WaveTunnel node consists of two RF boards and one digital board. The RF board (shown below right) will support both a transmit and a receive beamforming antenna array, each consisting of 256 patch elements. The large number of elements in each array enables a very narrow beam with a gain of 28 dBi. This will allow the system to provide a robust broadband backbone in support of enterprise technologies like Wi-Fi 6 and 6E. Each WaveTunnel node can support four 1-Gigabit/sec Ethernet interfaces, with one of those ports being capable of providing POE-out (power-over-Ethernet).

The photo below and to the left is of the digital board.  It controls the unit.

The high gain of the WaveTunnel antenna allows the system to achieve multi-gigabit/sec data rates while also penetrating structures of various types. The use of dual RF boards allows the system to relay data from an upstream WaveTunnel node to a downstream WaveTunnel node. Note: the dual counter-rotating wireless ring configration will not be supported until the product enters GA in Q4.

The system has a range of 100 meters in line-of-sight (LOS) configurations. If there is an obstruction, the system will still provide connectivity, but possibly at a reduced distance.

The Role of Link Margins in Network Design

Link margins can be used to determine maximum distance between nodes. The following charts can be used to plan a WaveTunnel installation.

As the name implies, link margin refers to the extra gain in the system above and beyond what is required to support gigabit/sec connectivity in LOS situations.

20 dB at 100 meters

30.5 dB at 30 meters

40 dB at 10 meters

50.5 dB at 3 meters

60.0 dB at 1 meter

Link margin can also be used to predict performance in the presence of an obstruction. Different building materials have different attenuation characteristics.  The following chart describes attenuation characteristics @ 60 GHz for commonly used building materials, with cavity cinder block being the most challenging.

Attenuation (dB/cm) by material:

Drywall — 0.09 (0.36dB @ 4cm)

Drywall with Semigloss — 0.60 (2.40dB @ 4cm)

Drywall with Flat Paint — 0.09 (0.36dB @ 4cm)

Ceiling Tile — 1.12 (2.24dB @ 2cm)

Wood — 1.30 (2.60dB @ 2cm)

Glass — 4.30 (4.30dB @ 1cm)

Cavity Cinder Block — 11.30 (45.20dB @ 4cm)

From this table it can be seen that a 60 GHz signal can penetrate several layers of drywall even with semigloss paint. As long as the attenuation of any obstruction is less than the link margin at the desired distance, all should be good. Our early recommendation is to only try and punch through one wall at a time. Stay tuned for more updates as we head into the field trial phase.

AIRVINE

Airvine is a fast-growing Silicon Valley innovator of advanced high-capacity wireless solutions. The company has developed the industry’s first indoor 60 GHz wireless system that exceeds the speed and rivals the reliability of existing structured wiring solutions at a fraction of the deployment time and cost. Patented RF innovations extend the range and gain of wireless. signals, penetrating walls and steering around obstacles that impede transmission. Something never before possible within the 60 GHz band.  Additional information on Airvine technology can be found at www.airvine.com.