Intel Capital Invests in Spectrum Efficiency Startup
Intel Capital is among a number of investors pumping $7 million of Series A venture capital into Austin, Texas-based GenXComm, a startup developing a chip for analog cancellation aimed at enabling full duplex communications for 5G wireless, cable systems and more.
The aim of GenXComm, which was spun out of a project at the University of Texas earlier this year, is to help systems developers build network elements and end-user devices that will enable network operators to make maximum use of their available spectrum.
"GenXComm's robust simultaneous self-interference cancellation (S-SIX) technology unleashes the full potential of the spectrum used for today's 5G mobile, WiFi and cable networks by allowing channels to be stacked one next to the other with no empty spectrum between them," a spokesperson for the company told Light Reading on Tuesday.
The funding was led by Intel Capital, with participation from existing and new investors Azure Capital Partners, Bandgap Ventures, Capital Factory, FAM Capital Partners, Lip-Bu Tan, UT Horizon Fund and WS Investment Co. The Series A round, which could still attract additional investors, will be used to expand the company’s R&D team.
S-SIX is another take on full duplex communications, as popularized by Kumu Networks during the past couple of years. "GenXcomm tech is an order of magnitude lower in power consumption, greater in bandwidth than its closest rival, and fully backwards compatible," GenXComm told us when we asked about their full duplex implementation. (See Radio Revolutions on the Road to 5G for a full run-down on current 5G radio magic.)
Kumu, in the meantime, says the S-SIX technology isn't ready for a 5G wireless primetime. "They are developing an optical chip (optical delays) for analog cancellation," Joel Brand, VP of product management at Kumu told us in an email. "Such [a] solution has very limited market applicability and that's why they are going after the cable infrastructure side (Remote PHY) while Kumu is going after the many millions of CPE devices -- including cable modems, WiFi APs, and LTE femtocells."
Nonetheless, Brand muses on whether the investment might be a good sign for the wider industry. "With so many M&A transactions in the IC [integrated circuit] space, investors may be warming up too," he suggests.
In general, full duplex concepts appear to be getting more popular with investors and operators in general, making the area one to watch in 2018.
— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading