Indian women-led startup develops deep-tech for low-cost internet services
Published 1 April 2021
Astrome, a women-led startup, has developed an innovative wireless product that gives fibre-like bandwidth at fraction of cost.
This would help telecom operators deliver reliable low-cost internet services to suburban and rural areas. Providing internet access to remote places in countries like India is difficult because laying fibre is too expensive.
This has resulted in a need for wireless backhaul products that can deliver low cost, high data capacity, and wide reach. However, currently available wireless backhaul products either do not provide sufficient data speeds or the required range and are very expensive to deploy, industry watchers opine.
It is here that Astrome has sensed an opportunity. Their wireless product called Giga Mesh could enable telecom operators deploy quality, high-speed rural telecom infrastructure at 5 times lower cost. Rural connectivity customers and defence customers who have already signed up for pilots will soon witness the demonstration of this product by Astrome.
The deep tech startup, incubated at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore and supported by DST-ABI Woman Startup Program of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India proved their millimeter-wave multi-beam technology in the lab in 2018, for which the company has been granted a patent in India and US.
Since then, the technology has been converted to a powerful and scalable product called Giga Mesh, which can solve much of the last mile connectivity telecom needs of our country. The product has been proven on the field and also integrated with partner products for its upcoming commercialisation.
The Multi-beam E-band product, Giga Mesh, packs 6 Point-to-Point E-band radios in one, thereby distributing the cost of the device over multiple links and hence reduces capital expenditure. The radio provides long-range and multi-Gbps data throughput at each link.
Features like automatic link alignment, dynamic power allocation between links, and remote link formation help operators achieve significant operating expenditure cost reduction.
Astrome is currently conducting a field trial at Indian Institute of Science university campus. In this field trial, the company has already achieved data streaming at multi-Gbps speeds across the campus.
“Indian Institute of Science played a very critical role by helping us connect with investors, providing business mentorship, and giving us space to conduct our product field trials,” said Dr. Neha Satak, Co-founder & CEO at Astrome, while recalling a weeklong trip organized under the DST-ABI woman startup initiative which provided her with valuable inputs from the US Venture Capital ecosystem, to prepare for the launch in that market.