UCL-Cambridge research growth story
UCL-Cambridge research spin-out company Zinwave featured on EPSRC Growth Stories app and website
The UK depends on science and engineering for its long-term growth and prosperity. Now the EPSRC have created a mobile phone app and website with a new story added each week called ‘Growth Stories’ which showcases over 50 examples of how EPSRC-sponsored researchers have contributed to the health and wellbeing of the UK economy, including a story about how funded research at UCL and Cambridge University lead to a successful company delivering improved in-building wireless coverage around the world.
Wireless signal coverage inside buildings is often poor because the building materials absorb much of the external signal. Although signal distribution over coaxial cable can be used to overcome this problem, the loss, weight and cost of such systems make them uneconomical for many buildings.
EPSRC-supported research at UCL and Cambridge University as part of the FRIDAY project showed for the first time that it was possible to carry multiple wireless services (such as cellular and Wi-Fi) over a single optical fibre, and that multimode optical fibre could reliably carry wireless services at frequencies above its rated cut-off frequency. These findings were jointly patented and a company, Zinwave Ltd, established in 2002 to commercialise this research.
Zinwave currently provides wireless coverage in buildings around the world, including hospitals, stadiums, shopping malls, airports and power stations. Since its first sales in 2008, Zinwave’s annual revenue has grown tenfold, with systems deployed in Europe, the USA, Australia, China and the Middle East.