5G and Beyond

Movandi to Extend 5G mmWave Coverage

5G startup Movandi is getting ready to improve the coverage of high-band millimeter wave (mmWave) 5G with the introduction of its BeamXR repeater later this year.

The RF specialist has built a 28GHz box to show off to potential carrier customers at the upcoming Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona: The product will be available to sample later this year. A 39GHz box is in development.

Co-founder & CEO Maryam Rofougaran describes the repeater as "an affordable way to extend coverage." Early mmWave deployments (mostly fixed) have seen coverage at 1,000 to 2,000 feet: Efficient repeaters would extend that range considerably. (See Millimeter Wave 5G: The Usain Bolt of Wireless?)

The repeater can be used indoors and outside to improve millimeter wave 5G propagation characteristics. As Light Reading has previously reported, the thin signal beams of mmWave can be blocked by modern low-energy-glass (low-e glass), walls, weather conditions and even "human blockage." (See Could 5G Have Found Its Glass Ceiling?, 5G Phone Designers Coping With 'Human Blockage' and 5G Will Change How Your Smartphone Is Designed.)

Rofougaran says the unit can be placed between the 5G basestation and devices such as customer premise equipment (for fixed residential deployments), 5G hotspots and forthcoming 5G smartphones. (See 5G4REAL: MWC19, 5G handsets and some frequency queries.)

She says the repeater can be mounted on outdoor casings such as windowsills to blast the mmWave signal inside a house, or mounted inside to ensure coverage throughout a building.

The CEO says the key potential users of a mmWave 5G repeaters, currently, are operators in the the US, South Korea and Japan. For instance, Verizon is using 28GHz for its 5G Home fixed residential service, while AT&T has deployed its 5G+ mobile service using 39GHz -- at least, so far. (See 5G in the USA: A Post-CES Update.

Movandi, which won Leading Lights awards in the Most Innovative 5G Technology and Female-Led Startup to Watch categories last year, is working to ultimately combine the two mmWave frequencies in one box. (See Leading Lights 2018 Finalists: Most Innovative 5G Technology, Leading Lights 2018: The Winners and Announcing...WiC's 2018 Leading Lights Winners.)

"Eventually, let's say in the US, we have to have both of them [28GHz & 39GHz frequencies] supported in one unit," Rofougaran noted. The company is expecting to unveil such a product in the 2020 timeframe.

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News of the BeamXR repeater comes as Movandi announces a partnership with NXP Semiconductors. The Eindhoven, Netherlands-based chip specialist will collaborate with Movandi on mmWave product development, with NXP contributing products from its Layerscape family of ARM-based processors that will be integrated with Movandi's RF transceiver and systems architecture.

Movandi has also selected LitePoint's IQgig-5G mmWave test system for design validation and production of its BeamXR systems.

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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