Small-Cell Startup Goes Big On Backhaul

Small-cell and backhaul chipset startup DesignArt Networks announced on Thursday a software pack that boosts capacity on its backhaul system-on-chips (SoCs).

The Israel-based company says its Unified Mobile Backhaul software bundle and reference design enables quad-carrier microwave and wide-channel millimeter wave links with capacity up to 2 Gbit/s and power consumption of "just a few watts." The system supports concurrent point-to-point links across spectrum from 6GHz to 92GHz.

Along with the new backhaul software, DesignArt also claimed some early market traction for its small-cell and backhaul silicon. The company said that two of its customers are in field trials or initial service deployments for Long Term Evolution (LTE) small cells based on its DAN3400 base station SoC, but would not reveal the names of the vendors or operators.

The company also said its backhaul SoC has been used in field trials of non-line-of-sight (NLOS) backhaul in sub-6GHz spectrum for 3G small cells.

"We're not just this little startup anymore," says Joachim Hallwachs, VP of marketing at DesignArt. "We're not trying to sell something, we are selling something."

DesignArt was founded in 2006, has gone through two funding rounds and has not disclosed much it's raised so far. But Hallwachs says the company is not looking for funding now. (See Moto Invests in DesignArt.)

Why this matters
Small cells and the backhaul needed to support them are hot technologies for mobile operators now as they look for cost-efficient ways to add capacity to mobile data networks. To some, small-cell backhaul is considered an unresolved issue with various technology choices, including, fiber, Wi-Fi, DSL or microwave, and uncertainty about achieving low-cost targets. Activities from startups like DesignArt make this part of the market all the more dynamic and interesting.

For more
Small cells and backhaul will be big in Barcelona next week at Mobile World Congress.

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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