Cambium Networks looks to non-traditional channels to take ePMP Bridge-in-a-Box to market

Cambium sells its wireless access infrastructure products exclusively through its large channel, but its newest offering, which is inexpensive and easy to set up, has natural markets which are outside their normal realm, and they want help from partners with access to them.

Scott Imhoff, Cambium’s SVP of Product Management

Chicago area-based Cambium Networks makes fixed wireless access infrastructure which they sell entirely B2B and entirely through channel partners. They have over 3200 partners worldwide through distribution, most of whom are VARs and SIs. They have now developed a new type of product for them, an ePMP Bridge-in-a-Box wireless Ethernet bridge. While it will sell through their standard channels, it also has potential new markets, both prosumer and among different B2B markets like electricians.

Cambium came into being on October 28, 2011, when Motorola Solutions spun out its broadband wireless business unit, as part of that company’s ongoing restructuring. Equity firm Vector Capital purchased the assets, which had two components. Canopy, which makes Point-to-Multipoint wireless lines, had been developed and commercialized internally by Motorola, and was used mainly for residential access in rural markets that didn’t have DSL or cable. The other part, Orthogon, was Point-to-Point solutions and came from the acquisition of a British firm.

“We really are a soup-to-nuts company as far as wireless infrastructure goes,” said Scott Imhoff, Cambium’s SVP of Product Management. “We make solutions that allow operators to bridge networks from two metres to 245 kilometres. We have three architectures — point to point, point to multi point, and WiFi. Very few customers use one element of our portfolio. They build a wireless fabric that meets their requirements.”

Cambium’s offerings are mainly sold to five broad verticals: the service provider space; the enterprise [mainly providing Wi-Fi access with networks for retail and education]; industrial applications, including the Internet of Things; local government; and defense and national security.

The issue with the ePMP Bridge-in-a-Box – ePMP is a term Cambium uses in which the ‘e’ stands for Equalize and the ‘PMP’ stands for Point-to-MultiPoint – is that it has significant potential markets outside those core verticals.

“We are a B2B company and we don’t sell to consumers, but this is a cross-over product, even though we originally developed it for the industrial space,” Imhoff said. The Bridge-in-a-Box includes two ePMP Force 180 Subscriber Modules pre-configured and packaged together to enable plug-and-play operation. It is designed to be very simple to install, with a minimal tool kit and what the company calls nominal experience. It bridges short distances – as short as across a driveway to connect a garage or across a pasture to connect a remote barn. At the same time, it provides 200 Mbps high-speed connectivity which can support services like security camera feeds or extending a LAN. It operates in the unlicensed 5 GHz frequency band.

“We have found that our traditional channel would deploy two of our radios in a point-to-point configuration to do very basic networking,” Imhoff indicated. “It’s much cheaper to do this than lay cable, or to pay service provider fees to two adjacent facilities. With this they can cut that in half. But in addition to our traditional channels, it also fits others. It’s a prosumer opportunity. Professional electricians and others could use this, but they don’t know that it’s there.”

Imhoff said that the low cost – an MSRP of $USD 349 for the complete kit – also opens up the Bridge-in-a-Box to new markets.

So how does Cambium reach them? While the product will be available through Cambium’s regular distributors, they want to take it to market through other ways as well.

“We are looking to use non-traditional channels for us, so we can expose this to the farm market or even outlets like Home Depot,” Imhoff said. “It’s new territory for us. We want resellers who work that prosumer market, and we have to identify and engage those channel partners to do that. It’s happening accidentally today, and we want to eliminate the accidental and make reaching this audience more purposeful.”

Cambium is just now getting started down that path of developing this new channel.

“We hope to have something in place by Q3 or so,” Imhoff indicated.