“5G is predicted to boost global GDP growth by $3 tn cumulatively from 2020-35”: Maryam Rofougaran, Co-CEO and COO, Movandi

Movandi’s new BeamX 28 and BeamX 39 solutions provide a fully integrated RF front-end system in a modular, high performance design to support a broad range of 5G millimeter wave applications, from base stations, small cells, and mobile broadband access points

Maryam Rofougaran, Co-CEO and COO, Movandi

What are the new innovations that Movandi is working on in RF space? 

The major advantage with operation at millimeter wave frequencies is that it represents a significant increase in channel bandwidth. With 5G trials underway, the industry is searching for innovative radio solutions that effectively utilize the high frequency spectrum, millimeter wave networks. However, operating in the millimeter wave band presents several unique technical challenges versus traditional connectivity and cellular systems. These include the requirement for high performance in low cost bulk CMOS foundries; overcoming transmission losses caused by distance, blockage and non-line-of-sight conditions; and the fact that to achieve longer range, beamforming antennas are often required, adding to system complexity.

Movandi has stepped up to solve these challenges – we are focused on addressing some of the critical issues of 5G including; high power consumption and thermal issues during transmit, low antenna radiation inefficiencies, line of site and blocking, high path loss, self-install and more. We have continued to innovate and solve these 5G challenges over past few years. Movandi has transistioned beyond a semiconductor component company and more of a system solution company with a pioneering technology that can mitigate shortcomings of 5G, its range and coverage issues.

How do you plan to compete with established players like Qualcomm and Intel on 5G space? 

In early stages, it will be more about cooperation and interoperability than competition. The 5G ecosystem needs to be developed and made more mature. While many engineers attempt to use existing technology building blocks, Movandi has taken a unique approach by developing an entirely new foundation for 5G devices by using a system level design approach.

No. of patents that Movandi has on 5G?

With over 40 patents filed to date, Movandi designed a complete system combining the entire front-end and antenna system rather than a mix and match of individual components. In contrast to traditional expensive, bulky and inefficient millimeter-wave antennas, Movandi’s mmWave antenna arrays are more compact, more power-efficient over a wider power range, more spectrally efficient, and cheaper to produce.

The 5G and millimeter wave value chain itself is seen as generating up to $3.5 trillion in revenue in 2035, supporting as many as 22 million jobs. 5G is predicted to boost real global GDP growth by $3 trillion dollars cumulatively from 2020 to 2035, roughly the equivalent of adding an economy the size of India to the world in today’s dollars.

5G Operators that Movandi is working globally whether on fixed or mobile space and what solutions are you offering to operators? 

We have started sampling an industry breakthrough and innovative approach to radio frequency (RF) front-end design with Movandi BeamX solutions for fixed and mobile networks. Movandi’s BeamX solutions are truly unique since they were designed and optimized as a complete RF front-end and provide unmatched performance, cost and size advantages that unlock the potential of 5G and other multi-gigabit networks.

Movandi’s new BeamX 28 and BeamX 39 solutions provide a fully integrated RF front-end system in a modular, high performance design to support a broad range of 5G millimeter wave applications, from base stations, small cells, and mobile broadband access points. The complete RF front-end solution optimizes the antenna to baseband interface and integrates RF, PA and LNA, up and down converters, and frequency synthesizer/PLL. The combination of Movandi’s RF front-end with advanced beamforming algorithms and calibration techniques deliver superior performance in emerging mmWave networks.

How Beam X 5G RF solutions will help 5G operators for different use cases and deployment scenarios? 

Operating in the millimeter wave band presents three unique technical challenges versus traditional connectivity and cellular systems. First, traditional approaches to RF design break down, requiring new and innovative architectures to achieve high performance in low cost bulk CMOS foundries. Second, higher frequencies have greater transmission losses caused by distance, blockage, and non-line-of-sight conditions, depending on the environment and the application. Finally, to achieve longer range and coverage, beamforming antennas are often required, adding to system complexity.

Our BeamX front-end integrates RF, antenna, beamforming, and control algorithms into a modular 5G millimeter wave solution targeted for Customer Premises Equipment (CPE), small cell, and base station applications. Our technology is configurable to support different baseband/modem SoC solutions and is uniquely positioned to become the complete RF and antenna system, from baseband interface to antenna, for new applications in 5G, indoor gigabit access, the last mile, and satellite networks.

The innovative approach to BeamX can unlock the huge potential offered by much greater bandwidth, spatial reuse, and frequency reuse, which supports much higher performance systems in the same regions with low cost and optimized power consumption.

We are breaking the paradigm of traditional fabless semiconductor companies by combining new innovation and world-class experience in RF integrated circuits, antennas, systems, and algorithms design disciplines to address the challenges of millimeter wave deployments. Providing the highest levels of performance and maintaining a great deal of modularity and flexibility ensure that 5G and millimeter wave technology can be broadly deployed in real-world scenarios across a broad set of use cases and deployment scenarios.

Movandi is considered to be the most innovative 5G startup globally. Explain your future plans on RF space? 

Today, we’re reaching a level of maturity with what can be achieved purely through silicon integration in the radio design. Now with semiconductor integration in a radio design, we’re going to have to look at the areas for integration with the things that have not been traditionally integrated together. This is true from a design methodology and from an understanding the limitations of the IP – in order to break through to the next level of performance and capability.

At Movandi, we have taken a unique approach in the industry, going far beyond the role of a traditional fabless semiconductor company. It requires solutions to be designed as a complete system combining the entire RF front-end, versus today’s solutions that are simply a mix and match of individual components. As engineers and we must look for new innovative approaches from the device level to the system level and relentlessly challenge old assumptions.

Integrating the RF front-end, antenna, beamforming, and control algorithms into a modular 5G millimeter wave solution you can provide a new level of integration and a complete system that enables the performance, range, cost, size and power requirements to enable multi-gigabit connectivity in a small form factor. This is a platform for future innovation and performance breakthroughs that have not been seen in the past.

Movandi’s 5G architecture has already attracted industry accolades – as one of the most significant improvements in millimeter wave networks and high frequency spectrum communications – with far-reaching benefits now being validated and designed by manufacturers. Consumers will soon be able to buy devices that are far superior to what is on the market today. The possibilities are game changing: mobile phones with multi-gigabit wireless speeds and double the battery life; high quality wireless connectivity with virtually no drop offs, 4x the reach and more bandwidth for connecting multiple devices; laptops that can download information 10x as fast; and instant connections for virtual reality and artificial intelligence applications. And with all of these benefits, carriers can actually charge consumers less.

These benefits have already been proven in the lab. Although there is still a lot of work to do, we are confident that we can achieve this next big moment in the mobile industry, making 5G mmWave in mobile networks and devices very soon.

What is the amount of funding you have received from Cota Capital, Sierra Ventures and WNC? 

We have had an oversubscribed Series A and B rounds with these leading investors. The company completed its Series A funding of $9M in October 2016 and its Series B funding of $20M in March 2018.