Mobile/Wireless Components

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

Company Location Tech focus Funding
Amimon Ltd. Tel Aviv Wireless HD chipsets and modules $50M+
Blu Wireless Bristol, UK WiGig & mmWave backhaul $3.5M
Nitero Austin, Texas WiGig $13.7M
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

Company Location Tech focus Funding
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

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DanJones 7/17/2014 | 5:05:44 PM
Any startups missing? I tried to get them all but feel free to update and I'll add them to the table.
R Clark 7/18/2014 | 3:00:50 AM
Re: Any startups missing? Interesting area.

The only one I can  think of is Aoptix. They've been around so long I don't know if they qualify as 'startup'. But they're doing backhaul using 70-80GHz.

pdonegan67 7/18/2014 | 6:05:32 AM
Re: Any startups missing? Good point. AOptix have a very interesting propostion combining wireless optics and a 60 GHz radio pitched at a number of applications including mobile backhaul.

They reckon they can combine the two data streams and extract the optimal performance across the two to take account of changing enviornmental conditions that might impact either of them.

Very interesting idea. Compelling if they can get it right. Watch this space.
DanJones 7/18/2014 | 12:35:22 PM
Re: Any startups missing? Yeah


AOptix are going to get their own story, I'll also be doing follow-up pieces on some of the other companies listed.
ConradTrust 7/19/2014 | 3:32:43 PM
Sivers IMA, supple new supplier to Ericsson. A tiny MMW-company that seems to make it big next year is swedish Sivers IMA. They are the new supplier of MMW-converter/tranceiver to Ericsson´s 60 ghz small cell backhaul unit PT3060. Now when Ericsson is ready for the upramp of small cell rollout, I can amagine there will be quite some volume for micro size Sivers IMA.

They are involved in six different R&D project funded by the EU regarding small cells technology and backhaul for 5G, and was hand picked by Nokia Networks for research in "backhaul integrated access nodes" in january. 
AmirB52 7/23/2014 | 8:15:17 AM
Re: Sivers IMA, supple new supplier to Ericsson.  
After testing the 3060, I can conclude that:
This is a 2x boxes solution--a product of rather large proportion, thus not suitable for street level deployments.
After learning of the high price, we were unable to justify utilization of such a large and costly solution for our small cell project.
Skepskop 7/23/2014 | 10:30:08 AM
Re: Any startups missing? Hi Dan,


I work for Comsol Wireless Solutions in Johannesburg, we are the AOptix Distributors for sub saharan Africa.  We have tested the AOptix Intellimax product and it is awesome.  They combine their military style FSO platform with an E-Band radio system in the same box.  This provides two mediums which act as redundant devices within the box (no load balancing) so seriously high availabilities can be acheived.  Add in the auto align and ability to mount on towers etc and you get one unbeleivable product!
AmirB52 7/23/2014 | 3:07:47 PM
Re: Any startups missing? Is there a 60GHz model of AOptix product ? It's designed for small cells ?
DanJones 7/23/2014 | 5:13:56 PM
Re: Any startups missing? Not exatly, they use an E-Band system (70-80GHz) with a steering beam too.
DanJones 7/23/2014 | 5:17:43 PM
Re: Any startups missing? Thanks!
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