5G announcements include RF extender technology for millimeter wave and chipset development for home equipment...
Verizon has announced two partnerships for 5G, one involving Movandi for amplifying millimeter wave coverage in public spaces and buildings, and another involving Movandi, NXP Semiconductors and Qualcomm Technologies to develop 5G chipsets for customer equipment.
The news was part of multiple 5G announcements from Verizon. On the consumer front, Verizon said it will be launching 5G service in parts of San Diego on 28 May; the company said 5G consumers will get upload speeds 30% faster than 4G. On the development side, it said it has adapted its seven 5G labs in the US and UK, designed as incubators for the 5G technologies, to make them operate virtually.
On the chip partnerships, the first involves Movandi Corp., Pivotal Commware, and Wistron NeWeb Corp. (WNC) to provide extender technology to amplify millimeter wave coverage in public spaces and buildings. Movandi is an Irvine, CA, startup co-founded in 2016 by brother and sister team Maryam and Reza Rofougaran, who were involved in building the wireless business at Broadcom and claim to have pioneered the development of RF CMOS across cellular, microwave backhaul, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS/GNSS, NFC, femto cell, and other standards including the integration of multiple standards into a single chip.
We asked co-CEO and cofounder Maryam Rofougaran about this announcement. She told us, “While modules will actually be shipped by WNC using our technology, we have been working closely with Verizon for a couple of years on developing the solution. Our chip sets are qualified and use our own technology.”
The company calls its technology BeamXR. BeamXR addresses the issue of 5G coverage limitations caused by the propagation characteristics of radio signals at millimeter wave frequency bands. Millimeter waves are unable to penetrate physical barriers, including buildings and trees. That makes it hard to provide effective indoor coverage as well. The inability to go through objects means 5G requires line-of-sight, or strong indirect beam. With the BeamXR active router, millimeter wave signals can be boosted to penetrate buildings or bend the signal around a building. It essentially distributes a 5G signal more effectively, enabling greater coverage while supporting low latency in hard-to-reach places.
Rofougaran told us, “We are addressing the propagation challenge which helps accelerate large-scale 5G commercialization by reducing infrastructure costs, simplifying deployment and increasing network capacity without impacting latency.” She also said that sub-6GHz capacity will fail to meet customer demand by 2023, and with operators needing to go to millimeter wave to meet the capacity requirements, Movandi’s 5G enhancer will enable cost-effective capacity and coverage.
Movandi’s other products include its BeamX RF front-end for fixed wireless CPE, mobile devices, small cells, and open radio access networks (ORAN) radio units. These products target deployments across the complete 5G ecosystem from consumer and enterprise markets, to IoT, mobile, artificial intelligence (AI), software defined networks and automotive.
Separately, Movandi raised $27 million in funding last month, in a round led by WRVI Capital, along with Cota Capital and DNX Ventures. That latest investment brings its funding total to $67 million.
Chipset partnership for home equipment
In its other partnership announcement, Verizon said it also partnering with Movandi, NXP and Qualcomm Technologies to develop the latest chipset technology to enhance experiences and expand coverage for its 5G home customers. We contacted NXP for comment but were unable to obtain a response at the time of writing.