60GHz: Private Companies & Startups
There's a growing ecosystem of startups and private companies that are focused fully or in part on wireless applications using 60GHz radios.
As I wrote this month, interest in this unlicensed high-bandwidth technology is growing, and companies are working on everything from short-range video streaming to small cell backhaul with the V-Band technology. (See 60GHz: A Frequency to Watch.)
In general, private companies working with 60GHz radios tend to focus on either WiGig (802.11ad) or wireless HD short-range connectivity or wireless backhaul offerings. As you'll see, however, the silicon vendors in this space have sometimes developed both WiGig and backhaul-focused products using the technology.
Chip designers This is currently a very fluid market. One of the leading 60GHz WiGig startups, Wilocity , has just been bought by Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM). More consolidation in this area seems likely. (See Qualcomm Advances WiGig With Wilocity Buy.)
Table 1: 60GHz Chip Designers
|Amimon Ltd.||Tel Aviv||Wireless HD chipsets and modules||$50M+|
|Blu Wireless||Bristol, UK||WiGig & mmWave backhaul||$3.5M|
|Peraso Technologies Inc.||Toronto||WiGig, small cell backhaul||$26M|
|Quantenna Communications Inc.||Fremont, Calif.||WiGig, WiFi||$90M+|
System vendors Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) sparked interest in this sector recently by buying the secretive millimeter wave startup Alpental Technologies Inc. (See Google Buys Alpental for Potential 5G Future.)
Many of the companies working in 60GHz backhaul and wireless links also offer microwave or E-Band products. As you'lll see, a couple of the companies -- LightPointe and SkyFiber -- also have roots right back in the Free Space Optics boom at the start of the 21st century. (See LightPointe Attracts $17M.)
Table 2: 60GHz Radio/System Vendors
|Athena Wireless Communications Inc.||Surprise, Ariz.||60GHz small cell backhaul, links||$250,000 grant|
|BluWan||Paris||60GHz small cell backhaul, mmWave point-to-point backhaul||$3.3M|
|BridgeWave Communications Inc.||Santa Clara, Calif.||4G backhaul||$40M+|
|LightPointe Communications||San Diego||60GHz wireless "bridges"||$70M+|
|Mimosa Networks, Inc.||Campbell, Calif.||60GHz WiFi-based gigabit links||$38M|
|Siklu Communications Ltd.||Petach Tikva, Israel||Small cell backhaul||$30M+|
|SkyFiber Wireless||Bryan, Texas||60GHz Links, FSO||$32M|
|Sub10 Systems Ltd.||Devon, UK||Small cell backhaul||$3.8M|
What about end-user devices? You can buy wireless HD TV streaming devices now. WiGig chipsets are coming out now, and consumer-orientated devices are expected to arrive in force in 2015 as the WiFi Alliance certifies 60GHz devices.
If you you feel like I've missed any private companies in this roundup, feel free to let me know via the message board.
Next time, we'll look at what public companies are doing with 60GHz and the future of the technology.
— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading