Etheric’s RDOF Adventure
Etheric Communications will receive funding over the next ten years to deploy high-speed broadband to underserved communities in California.
This will provide Etheric with unprecedented resources to provide desperately needed internet
to rural areas on the wrong side of the digital divide.
Etheric will use this opportunity to fulfill its commitment to the socially responsible mission of making internet available to all who need it, while touching the Earth lightly.
Etheric Communications is the auction winner for Rural Digital Opportunity Fund support in census blocks covering portions of the northern California coast and the Sierra Nevadas.
This is some of the most challenging terrain in the United States.
Fortunately, this is what we do best.
In discussions with education, government and broadband coalitions, the interconnection of communications (internet); fire, environmental and agricultural telemetry; and renewable energy to establish and maintain a robust, clean grid were brought up repeatedly.
Another consistent set of topics focused on transparency and acknowledgement of each community’s own goals for broadband deployment.
The following is a preview of our proposed network.
Etheric is committed to bridging the digital divide, because everyone deserves to be connected to their world, no matter where they live.
To meet the future connectivity needs of consumers, public safety, enterprise and governmental customers, Etheric proposes to deliver 1 Gbps/500 Mbps voice and broadband connectivity using a hybrid approach that relies on a combination of dark fiber, wave services, and licensed and unlicensed mid-band and millimeter wave spectrum.
Some of the assigned areas are quite remote and do not even have basic cellular service. This new infrastructure will improve emergency services capabilities by increasing connectivity in fire and flood zones.
Collaboration is Key
We seek to collaborate with local Internet Service Providers to integrate them into our system, increasing the visibility of quality local small- and medium-sized businesses while saving resources by notably improving fiber connectivity in these regions.
We are in talks with many fiber providers to improve fiber interconnections in this region.
We Are Invested
Etheric has invested significant resources to ensure the success of this program. We have assembled sufficient licensed spectrum to provide Gigabit Tier service using licensed spectrum to more than 90% of the locations within our RDOF footprint.
The remaining 10% will be covered with links using a combination of fiber and unlicensed spectrum.
For middle mile access, we plan to use a combination of fiber and licensed microwave.
Proposed Network Plan
We will leverage our existing management, technology, experience, support staff and other assets to construct, operate and maintain the supported networks. Our proposed network will:
- Deliver 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps) download and 500 Megabit per second (Mbps) upload speeds with low latency to every location in our assigned census blocks.
- Leverage a combination of existing fiber and towers and new construction fiber runs and fixed wireless transmit sites.
- Complete construction in six years or less.
Etheric Networks first launched broadband service in 2003. It currently serves approximately 2,000 residential and 800 enterprise and small business customers across 10 counties in the greater San Francisco Bay Area.
Etheric has grown its coverage area to what is now estimated to be the 9th largest WISP footprint in North America.
Etheric developed custom frequency management software to optimize a large production radio area network in some of the most challenging RF environments in the country.
In 2015, Etheric acquired a dark fiber ring circling the Bay Area to create redundant microwave and dark fiber backbones.
This infrastructure will make launching the RDOF build vastly more efficient and rapid.
Etheric has consistently brought new technology
to market before its peers, ranking 1st nationally in latency, upload and even download at various points in its history.
We deliver service through a combination of fixed wireless, LTE and DWDM/GPON technologies.
Etheric is a preferred partner of Fortune 100 businesses, startups, construction companies, residents and entire communities in and around the Bay Area. We are known for our rapid, professional deployment of reliable broadband to difficult to reach or underserved areas.
We have well-trained climbing techs, own and maintain the tallest tower in the Bay Area, build solar carrier class fixed wireless base stations, own and operate bobcats, and terminate fiber.
Our customers know how to reach us and trust us to keep them connected.
Our proposed network will vastly extend our current operational network, with adjustments in the area of core, backbone and distribution, so that it is scalable, secure and reliable. The 5G core will be integrated into the existing core to enable the 5G RAN and also make our network future proof. The data network will add additional layer 2 edge network enhancements (VXLAN) to enable projection of core compute services to the edge network.
Our proposed IP network design will leverage our existing redundant Data Centers to provide scalable Tier 1 Internet peering.
Currently, BGP connections are in place across myriad direct Internet Exchange locations – from geographically redundant Tier 1 service providers (Level III, CenturyLink, and NTT America) to key content providers (Google, Netflix, Microsoft, etc.) Our proposal adds LTE/5G core functionality to those existing hardened Tier 1 data centers.
The 5G core will thus be a standalone model with redundant core servers, i.e. a greenfield deployment specifically designed for our fixed wireless network.
We will also transition our existing dual stack IPv4 and IPv6 configurations to primarily IPv6.
Backbone & Distribution
Currently in our assigned census blocks there are many gaps and with under- or un-utilized fiber paths.
Although communities and metro fiber owners are supportive and optimistic about the RDOF initiative, projects in counties such as San Mateo, Santa Cruz Mountains and Coastal Fiber Ring still have many gaps and unused fiber paths.
Our proposed solution will bring dark fiber as close as possible to these census blocks and
cut wireless hops in half compared to existing networks in the area. Our Base Stations can obtain from 10 to 40 Gbps of backhaul via fixed wireless. Backhaul traffic will also be aggregated througha cost effective combination of microwave and millimeter wave backhaul.
We currently use Arista routers in conjunction with ADVA and passive DWDM to offer VXLAN, and 5G services at our tower as well as our XXX-3GPP core.
Our proposed mid-band technologies include 3.6 GHz CBRS, 5-6 GHz UNII, subleasing of 2.5, and 3.7GHz. Our millimeter wave will include solutions using UMFUS 24-38GHz, & V-Band 57-66GHz. With these technologies, beamforming, massive MIMO, and advanced RF signal processing promise significantly improved performance.
Where LOS or density otherwise prohibits use of Fixed Wireless, we will also deploy GPON fiber from a distribution Hub (Lit building/Macro Tower/ Gigacell).
In conclusion, our proposed hybrid fiber-wireless solution is both robust and effective, due to its
use of a variety of solutions for Gigabit, 10G, and terrabit services.
Each solution has evaluative tradeoffs with cost, speed, community input, energy efficiency, scalability, and roadmapping – thus offering more flexibility than a homogeneous approach.
With CBRS as a catalyst, our hybrid solution synergizes network building approaches from WISPs, governmental internet services, enterprise and traditional telcos, and fiber companies.