10 September 2012
DALLAS–Nothing is ever small in Texas, whether it's livestock or technology solutions.
That thought was probably running through Mark Doucet's mind as he pondered a better way to deliver high-bandwidth communications systems a few years ago.
When the concept for what would become Skyfiber first germinated with him, Doucet was looking at competitive wireless communications systems the size of refrigerators costing as much as a Ferrari. The alternative was fiber in the ground, and any time a new high-speed network is being built in a given area, the ground gets torn up and locals inconvenienced.
"It's one of those what-if moments. What if we could take this cool technology and reduce the size and the scale of it and start building citywide networks..to get broadband to the home."
What emerged is Skyfiber's Optical Wireless Broadband technology, which uses lasers to transmit data, line of sight, at speeds up to 1.25 Gbps.
The technology has its powerful promise (think campus networks) and its obvious drawbacks. It won't work in heavy fog, necessitating backups like wireless or wired network infrastructure. And building the network, while straight-forward and relatively inexpensive, is a different approach than most building owners or network operators are used to.
But Doucet, as of the spring of 2012, was getting good reviews at major communications shows and proving the technology's effectiveness in trial operations.
Sitting behind part of Skyfiber's technology, which looks strikingly like the robot character WALL-E, Doucet explains the origins of his company, how the technology works and the business challenges: