Ranplan: indoor-outdoor network mapping startup claims big lead

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We sat down with Alastair Williamson, CEO of Ranplan, to find out what was what with the Wireless Network Simulator (WNS) software startup. Born out of a rather academic research project in 2006, the company took a leap of faith in 2012 – moving into developing a product based on its findings.

This gave birth to iBuildNet, a software offering that lets customers plan their network deployments, comprised of a tool and database that lists devices and infrastructure parameters. With support for cellular and LPWAN, Williamson said that 5G and IoT technologies are going to complicate planning – as operators deal with interference between their macro-cell and micro-cell infrastructure in cities and buildings.

We sussed that Ranplan was being used in the LinkNYC project, mapping the municipal WiFi project in the Five Boroughs of New York. Williamson said that there were other similar customers in NY, as well as in the UK and Colombia. The Ranplan CEO stressed that the platform’s combination of indoor and outdoor simulation capabilities was the special sauce – and a unique feature, with Williamson saying that no one else was doing a planning tool that combined inside with outside.

With MNOs as customers, and with its own customers using the system as a basis for other service offerings, Williamson said that the next phase for the project, which has grown to £2.7m in annual revenue, was to use self-learning algorithms to spot potential problems in the networks as they are planned.

Demos at the booth showed that the platform was able to drill down in great depth, to show what network conditions individual users or devices would experience in both building floorplans and 3D outdoor maps. Williamson said that the system was accurate to around 3dB – which is around 95%. He believes this is industry leading.

By Alex Davies at Rethink Internet of Things (Riot)

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