January 10, 2017
Slavko Djukic joined Zinwave as Chief Technology Officer in December 2016. His background is in DAS and small-cell systems, with 18 years of experience in indoor wireless technology development. He most recently served as Ericsson’s head of strategy and solutions for small cells, DAS and Wi-Fi. Prior to that he was with Corning. He spoke to AGL’s eDigest over the phone about the new challenges facing the DAS industry.
What is your role as a Chief Technology Officer?
Djukic: My role with Zinwave will be defining where we go with our technology platform. What do we need to do with our existing platform to address the current environment, as well as down the road in terms of product research and development?
How has the DAS market evolved?
Djukic: Traditionally, DAS OEMs in the last 20 years have done well when operators were spending a lot of money, especially when AT&T formed the Antenna Systems Group and spent a lot of money on DAS. In both 2014 and 2015, carrier spend went somewhere else as the builds reached a point of saturation, that is why we are looking to tap the great potential of the enterprise market. It is a good opportunity for companies like Zinwave that have not been around as long, to grow and capture the enterprise market, which has been moving toward the practice of BYOD [Bring Your Own Device].
The enterprise market is particularly price sensitive. How do you approach that?
Djukic: At the end of the day, you must meet the enterprise’s needs in a cost-efficient way. It is not just the product cost, but the services as well. It is the total cost of ownership.
We have one box covering cellular and public safety frequencies. If we cover the frequency bands, we will be able to support any technologies. It is about being able to pass that frequency band through our product. There are no additional modules to plug in or added filters. That is the appeal of our solution.
How will DAS proliferate in enterprises that don’t want to buy a system?
Djukic: We need to crack the code, if you will, on the enterprise market. We need to figure out how the traditional model, which started with towers and expanded into public venues like stadiums, airports and convention centers, needs to be adjusted to take advantage of opportunities in the enterprise space.
We are looking at how the platform will evolves as the operators or neutral hosts may or may not move into the in-building space as we move into the unlicensed spectrum. What is interesting is the new Citizens Broadband Radio Service [which has a three-tiered authorization framework for commercial uses] in the 3.5 GHz band. Will it be the wireless operators inside the buildings or a whole new class of operators deploying neutral networks on unlicensed spectrum inside of enterprises?
What are the technical challenges posed by enterprises?
Djukic: The enterprise market is not like a stadium where they have only a few events a year, and you have lots of time to update the system. With an enterprise, you want to go in once and be done with it, so you cause the least disruption to the business.
With frequency-specific products, you will need to do a lot of system upgrades as the FCC makes new bands available in the future. This is why Zinwave looked attractive to me coming in.
With a wideband, all-fiber architecture, we are well positioned to grab market share as the industry figures out the business models that help make it reality. If new frequencies become available, all we need is the RF source to plug into the existing DAS. We don’t have to update the remotes, amplifiers, filters and antennas.