Chinese IoT specialist Fibocom is looking to grow its business globally, and in support of that effort has recently launched several new products across its robust module portfolio. RCR Wireless News caught up with Fibocom’s SVP of IoT Overseas Sales Department Dan Schieler to learn more about the new lineup, the challenge of a global expansion and finally, the company’s “make wireless easy” mission.
Fibocom’s latest products are designed to advance wireless solutions for the Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) and AIoT industries, said Schieler. Among those are the 5G Sub-6GHz and mmWave module FX170(W) series, which features the Snapdragon X65 5G Modem-RF System, and the 5G smart module SC161, which supports 5G SA/NSA networks and enables AIoT applications such as VR, AR, door entry systems and telemedicine. Other demos included a 5G Ethernet gateway and a 5G Wi-Fi hotspot, both embedded with 5G module FG160 that supports OpenCPU, enabling 160MHz bandwidth, 4096 QAM as well as Wi-Fi 6E.
Beyond its product launches, Fibocom is firmly focused on expanding into new regions. “The focus is how to expand globally, which includes making products that fit all those geographies,” Schieler shared, adding that doing so means deciphering the right carrier band combinations that are skewed locally and globally. “That is the challenge that we have and is the big picture view of what we’re trying to do,” he said.
Growing trends: RedCap devices and private networks
Speaking more broadly about what is to come in the wireless industry, Schieler believes that efforts around improving module affordability are heating up. “The problem is the modules that are 100-plus dollars aren’t applicable to all applications,” he said, adding that 3GPP Release 17 will address this challenge by bringing further innovation in the IoT space, particularly around reduced capability (RedCap) or 5G NR-Light devices. These devices reduce some of the complexity and capability associated with full-capability 5G devices, allowing for a more appropriate and optimized design intended for mid-tier use cases.
“I think that is going to open a lot more doors for 5G because it will hit a more accessible price point,” Schieler explained. “It also opens up the capability of using more spectrum, which the carriers like because that will make them more efficient.”
Additionally, conversations around private wireless networks, particularly when used in place of Wi-Fi networks, is gaining traction. “There is a good demand for [private networks], and a lot of great utility that comes out of being able to be connect quickly in a small private network as opposed to sharing a public network with 40 or 60 thousand people,” he said.
Increased performance equals increased complexity
While 5G improves network performance and makes things like private cellular possible, it also results in more network and device complexity. “5G is a bit more complicated,” Schieler acknowledged. “More bands are supported and there are different band combinations and features like dynamic spectrum sharing [DSS], so you have to really pay attention when it comes to antenna design.”
But Fibocom wants its customers to leave that complexity to them. “[Let us] make the right decision about how to get the most out of your 5G device. We’re making wireless easy. If we can make the job of wireless enabling our customers’ products and get them through certification and to market, that’s the perfect wireless experience,” Schieler said.