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5G

Startup Verana Networks targets mmWave 5G RAN

A new startup appears set to tackle the market for 5G radio access network (RAN) hardware running in millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum – a space the company says is poised to "enable new applications" and "create incremental revenue" for 5G operators.

Launched by a pair of former Airvana executives, Verana Networks was founded earlier this year and closed its Series A funding in April.

"We have not said much publicly yet. Current plan is to start talking more about what we are doing as well as our investors, board members and team in mid-October," Amit Jain, Verana's founder and chief commercial officer, wrote in response to questions from Light Reading. He declined to provide any further details.

Jain and Verana CEO and founder Vedat Eyuboglu both hail from small cell vendor Airvana, where Eyuboglu was the co-founder and CTO. CommScope acquired Airvana in 2015.

Several members of Verana's small team of employees listed on LinkedIn also trace their careers through Airvana, CommScope or other small cell players including chipmaker Qualcomm.

And though Verana's website is woefully lacking details and information about the company's strategy, products and plans, a blog post by Jain last month points to Verana's potential focus on mmWave customer premises equipment (CPE). Such gadgets typically sit inside or outside customers' homes and offices, receiving signals from a nearby tower and routing them into a Wi-Fi access point for fixed wireless Internet services.

As Jain notes, CPE for mmWave 5G has been a sour spot for some operators. Verizon, for example, is likely waiting for the Qualcomm's QTM527 mmWave antenna module and X55 baseband chipset – which could potentially support farther and more stable connections – before restarting the rollout of its mmWave 5G Home fixed wireless Internet service.

Verana is jumping into the mmWave 5G market at a timely moment. Although the US has so far been the only country to see widespread deployments of 5G in mmWave spectrum, operators in other countries are widely expected to begin their own mmWave 5G deployments in the coming months. Signals in mmWave spectrum can often support blazing-fast speeds, but are hampered by propagation characteristics that limit transmission distances to a few thousand feet.

Nonetheless, operators are hoping to use mmWave 5G to develop new lines of business, including challenging cable and other wired Internet suppliers with fixed wireless access (FWA) Internet services.

Verana isn't the only startup hoping to cash in on technological improvements to 5G in mmWave spectrum. Movandi, Mixxcom, Pivotal Commware, MixComm, Guru and Gapwaves are among those looking to aid transmissions in mmWave spectrum that, until recently, was considered mostly unusable for commercial applications.

Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading | @mikeddano

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