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Indian innovators create deep-tech to provide internet services in rural areas

An India-based start-up has developed an innovative wireless product that offers fibre-like bandwidth at a fraction of the cost of fibre to help telecommunications operators deliver reliable, low-cost Internet services to suburban and rural areas.

A press release explained that providing internet access to remote places in countries like India is difficult because laying fibre is expensive. There is a need for wireless backhaul products that are low cost, with a high data capacity and have a wide reach. The currently available wireless backhaul products either do not provide sufficient data speeds or the required range or are very expensive to deploy.

The company’s wireless product, GigaMesh, is based on patented millimetre wave wireless technology for Mesh Architecture. Unlike other wireless backhaul solutions, it forms multiple point-to-point (multi-P2P) links of multi-Gbps capacity. At the centre of this solution is a packet microwave radio system with an electronically steerable and flexible narrow beam architecture.

GigaMesh reduces network congestion and also makes existing infrastructure 5G-ready. A single GigaMesh device can provide up to 40 links with 2+ Gbps capacity each, communicating up to a range of 10 kilometres. The flexibility in range makes it suitable for decongesting dense urban networks and extending rural coverage. This approach to high-speed multi-P2P communication yields up to a six-time reduction in capital expenditure (CapEx) per link, as compared to the state-of-the-art P2P wireless solutions.

With an in-built ability to dynamically reconfigure 80+ Gbps capacity per tower remotely through software, GigaMesh brings in Software Defined Networks (SDN) capability to telecom backhaul, thereby reducing the operational costs significantly.

The deep-tech start-up was incubated at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bangalore and supported by the DST-ABI Woman Startup Programme under the Department of Science and Technology (DST). The company has been granted patents in India and the United States.

The technology has been converted to a scalable product, solving several telecom needs of the country. The product has been tested on the field and also integrated with partner products for its upcoming commercialisation.

The company is currently conducting a field trial at the Indian Institute of Science (the university campus). In this field trial, the company has already achieved data streaming at multi-Gbps speeds across the campus. The Indian Institute of Science aided the organisation in connecting with investors, providing business mentorship, and giving it space to conduct product field trials. The DST-ABI woman startup initiative also organised a weeklong trip, which provided the team with valuable inputs from the US VC ecosystem to prepare for the launch in the United States market.

The digital start-up ecosystem in India is witnessing huge growth. It is currently the third-largest tech start-up ecosystem in the world. Last year, more than 1,600 tech companies developed in the country, which takes the total number to 12,500. India’s technology industry contributes around 8% relative share to the national gross domestic product (GDP), with 52% relative share in services exports, and 50% share in total foreign direct investment (FDI), based on FDI inflows for the period April to September 2020. The information technology sector is expected to close FY21 with a revenue of US $194 billion.

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