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Mimosa Gets $20 Million for Rural WiFi Networks Efforts

The company, which is expected to launch its products this year, is aiming to bring high-speed WiFi to rural and developing areas.

WiFi technology

Startup Mimosa Networks is getting another $20 million in financing in its effort to bring fiber-speed wireless connectivity to rural areas and developing countries.

The company, whose founders have backgrounds with such technology vendors as Polycom, PictureTel and 2Wire, has now raised $38 million since its founding in 2012, and will use the new Series C funding to expand its product line and grow global sales, according to officials. The $20 million, announced May 21, came from returning investors New Enterprise Associates and Oak Investment Partners.

Service providers are under increasing pressure for more bandwidth and higher performance from consumers and businesses that are becoming more mobile and are armed with more mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets. Trends like cloud computing, bring your own device (BYOD) and the Internet of things will only increase the demands on carriers.

Carriers are looking to WiFi not only as an offload site for some of the traffic running over their broadband networks, but also as another tool for building more speed and capacity and as another avenue for making money. A survey by Infonetics Research published in May found that WiFi is becoming an important technology to carriers, which continue to grow the number of antennas they use in their networks.

"Carrier WiFi deployments are evolving to deliver the same quality of experience as mobile and fixed-line broadband service environments, and this is driving WiFi networks to become more closely integrated," Richard Webb, directing analyst for mobile backhaul and small cells at Infonetics, said earlier this year. "Operators are betting pretty big on carrier WiFi, but they're also keen to develop ways of monetizing services so that WiFi starts to pay for itself over the coming years. WiFi roaming and location-based services are examples of customer plans that are growing fast."

Cisco Systems and Ruckus Wireless are among the top vendors for carrier WiFi technology. Mimosa officials are looking to differentiate from their larger competitors by initially focusing on rural and developing areas. The company is building scalable and reliable outdoor gigabit wireless platforms designed for service providers, officials said. The technology is expected to launch this year.

Mimosa will integrate 802.11ac functionality that leverages Wave 2 multi-user MIMO technology—a way of improving communication performance by using multiple antennas at both the transmitter and receiver—into multiple outdoor wireless products. In January, Mimosa announced a partnership with Quantenna Communications, which will provide the Wave 2 technology.

"The next great frontier in wireless technology is the ability to transmit independent streams to multiple clients simultaneously," co-founder and CEO Brian Hinman said in a statement earlier this year. "With constantly increasing Internet demands, wireless hardware must leverage these innovations to leap forward in speed and client capacity."

Hinman's previous experience includes Polycom, PictureTel and 2Wire. Co-founder and CTO Jaime Fink also worked with Hinman as CTO at 2Wire.