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UK WISPA Autumn 2023 Members Meeting

3rd October 2023

Last week, the UKWISPA Autumn 2023 Members Meeting took place in Glasgow. Members of UKWISPA are dedicated to providing dependable internet services throughout the UK. This two-day conference was packed with a comprehensive agenda, making it an exceptionally informative event!


Day One

Gigabit Radio and Spectrum Update

Ian Corden, a UKWISPA advisory board member, delivered an update on the Gigabit radio report commissioned by UKWISPA. He discussed the expected availability of spectrum in two key bands:

  • 24.45 to 27.5 GHz: SAL framework – local licenses expected from Ofcom in 2024.
  • 40.5 to 43.5 GHz: Low and Medium power (auctions expected for urban areas).

  • Corden also highlighted the crucial role of Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) in supporting Gigabit networks, emphasising three key aspects: Timing and Early Equity, Investment and Value, and Impact and Benefit.

    Alta Labs WiFi-6 AP UK Launch:

    Alta Labs, a US-based networking technology organisation, launched its high-spec access points and network switches alongside a cloud-based management tool designed for network management from ‘everywhere’. Matt Hardy and Phil Crawford provided an overview of their product portfolio and discussed their future plans, which include a comprehensive end-to-end access point, switch, and router solution.


    BDUK Project Gigabit Update:

    Stephen Bage presented an update on Project Gigabit, a £5 billion program aimed at enabling hard-to-reach communities to access lightning-fast gigabit-capable broadband. In numbers:

  • 100,000 vouchers connected
  • 12 areas under contract
  • Procurements and contracts launched with a value of £2 billion
  • Up to 1.1 million premises in scope
  • BDUK expected to have delivered around 1 million premises by end of 2023.

  • The target is 85% coverage by 2025, currently tracking at 76% as of September 2023, with a goal of 99% coverage by 2030, prioritising sub-superfast areas. The interventions aim to deliver gigabit-capable connectivity to at least 1.56 million people by the end of 2025. Additionally, DSIT will release a consultation early October 2023, to outline the governments’ approach to FWA.

    New Gigabit mmWave Offerings:

    Andrea Skliros from Intracom, provided insights into their proposition for delivering ultra-broadband FWA for residential and enterprise users. Their WiBAS and UltraLink portfolio enables Point-to-Multipoint technology operating in the Millimetre-wave (mmWave) spectrum. This technology is capable of delivering fast speeds of up to 1Gbps per user. Moreover, it extends its coverage to serve remote suburban and rural areas.


    Enabling mmWave spectrum for new uses

    Ofcom is enabling the industry to use a large amount of spectrum in the 26 GHz and 40 GHz bands (together, “mmWave spectrum”) for new services, including 5G. The 26 GHz and 40 GHz spectrum bands, which together comprise 6.25 GHz of spectrum, have both been identified for mobile services globally, and for 5G in Europe. Making mmWave spectrum available for new uses has the potential to deliver significant benefits to people and businesses in the UK. This policy offers operators the opportunity to access very large contiguous blocks of spectrum, which can enable services requiring very high capacity and speeds.


    The Future:

    Our very own Managing Director, Ian Bushrod, offered insight into the upcoming launch of the lifecycle service portfolio which is about to become available. These services are designed to be vendor-agnostic, aimed at enhancing, extending, and complimenting partners’ portfolios. They enable quicker entry to the market, offer additional revenue streams, and increase profit margins for partners.


    Day Two:

    The Next Generation of Fixed Wireless Access:

    Mike Calabrese, VP of Worldwide Sales at Tarana, gave a presentation which shed light on how Tarana have created the industry’s first instance of ngFWA, known as G1 Platform. The G1 Platform, not only inherits the rapid deployment advantages of FWA, but also boasts the performance, capacity and interface rejection capabilities essential for delivering dependable, high-speed broadband connections on a large scale. This innovation represents a fully matured wireless alternative to last-mile fibre.


    Industry Discussions with Transmitair:

    David Burns, the chairman of UKWISPA, engaged in a thought-provoking discussion with Richard Watson, a seasoned figure with two decades of experience in the wireless industry. The conversation traced the industry’s evolution from its inception, navigating through various twists and turns. The session involved great audience participation, making it an engaging and informative discussion for all attendees.


    Device Management and WiFi Optimisation:

    Alexander Tarran, from Axiros, delivered a presentation highlighting how the capabilities of Axiros Software can manage Any Device, Any Service, Anything protocol, Anything via their AX69 and AX WiFi products. The AX69 serves as the entry-level solution, tailored for Tier 2 and Tier 3 operators and enterprises, providing a single platform for device troubleshooting, firmware management, and configuration of internet access, network and telephony services. While the AX WiFi software offers an array of features that are designed to enhance wireless network performance, including tools for signal strength assessment, channel analysis, and troubleshooting. All Axiros Software solutions are available through MSD.


    Simplify Customer Support and Improve Operational Efficiency:

    John Knox, representative of Calix, introduced the SmartLife Portfolio, designed to ensure that the exceptional subscriber experience at home extends seamlessly to businesses and communities. The portfolio comprises three components:

  • SmartHome: Equips subscribers with tools to enhance, operate, and secure their connected lifestyle through a growing range of SmartHome managed services.
  • SmartBiz: Empowers small business customers to maximise productivity and drive customer engagement.
  • SmartTown: Delivers secure, managed WiFi experiences across the entire community.

  • Additionally, Knox demonstrated the Calix Cloud, a suite of cloud-based applications that empowers service providers to streamline their operations, optimise network performance, and deliver outstanding subscriber experiences. Calix Cloud encompasses a set of platforms that enable service providers to efficiently create and manage innovative services, leverage data and insights, and automate network operations.

    Delivering Hybrid Solutions with Cambium’s ‘One Network’ Platform:

    Marc Jackson unveiled the Cambium One Network, a platform designed to streamline and optimise a diverse range of technologies from one centralised hub. This empowers Internet Service Providers (ISPs) by offering enhanced efficiency and cost-effectiveness in the management of their network operations. It enables ISPs to consistently deliver exceptional online experiences to both residential and business subscribers.


    Whalebone DNS Security:

    Tim Sagar presented three Whalebone software solutions – PeacemakerPro, Content Filtering, and Immunity – aimed at providing additional layers of seamless security for customers while browsing. While the software runs discreetly in the background, organisations can focus on expanding their networks and continually enhancing the online safety and experience of their users. In conclusion, it was a great two days in Glasgow! Attendees gained insights into industry developments, cutting-edge technology, and community contributions. The event highlighted the dedication of UKWISPA members in advancing the nation’s telecommunications landscape, paving the way for a brighter and more connected future.


    Finally, congratulations to all the winners of the UKWISPA 2023 Awards! The winners are:

  • Best Community Engagement - Wildanet
  • Rural Hero - Mike Hicks, CFWN
  • Best Hybrid Fibre/Wireless (sponsored by Cambium Networks) - Alncom
  • Best Customer Experience (sponsored by Calix) - Wildanet
  • Innovation - WISDM by Wireless Coverage
  • Gigabit Wireless Project - GigaAir
  • Outstanding Team Member - Thomas Richardson, Village Networks

  • MS Distribution is the industry leader in delivering fixed wireless deployments. We don't simply offer a single piece of hardware or service; we provide end-to-end procurement for smooth installations that reduce project demands, workload, time, and costs. To learn more, please contact our friendly team:

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    MS (Distribution) UK Ltd.