Movandi Makes MmWaves At Mobile World Congress Los Angeles 2021

12 months ago on August 01, 2023

Movandi, founded in 2016 by former Broadcom executives, aims to solve the propagation challenges associated with the deployment of 5G in the higher mmWave spectrum bands. And if you have been paying attention, it’s a big issue as only when high and mid-bands are pervasive will the true vision of 5G be possible. Movandi focuses on a complete set of solutions that include silicon, software, and systems that include radio frequency (RF) chips, integrated antenna modules, algorithms, and reference platforms. 

The company made several announcements at Mobile World Congress Los Angeles (MWCLA) this week, and I would like to share my takeaways.

Silicon and antenna enhancements  

From a silicon and antenna perspective, Movandi introduced three enhancements that are worth further investigation. The first centers on a new chipset supporting wireless backhaul, 5G New Radio unlicensed spectrum, and fixed wireless access (FWA) applications. The Movandi 60 GHz MV6055 covers the entire unlicensed band between 57 and 71 GHz and integrates 16 channel beamforming with up and down-conversion in one form factor. This capability is significant from my perspective because it reduces the overall footprint making deployment more flexible. Pairing the new silicon with Movandi's MV3504 synthesizer and antennas also allows operators to deliver fiber-like speeds over 1.2 miles at considerable cost savings relative to laying fiber. The company also announced expanded mmWave frequency support for its BeamXR smart repeater family. These silicon enhancements allow the repeaters to operate within the 24/26 GHz, 28 GHz, and 39 GHz spectrum bands, thus opening up a greater addressable market globally. 

From an antenna standpoint, Movandi announced a 5G mmWave phased array antenna module (PAAM) optimized for Open RAN deployment scenarios. As Open RAN proof of concepts continues with some immediate greenfield deployments with Rakuten in Japan and Dish Networks in the United States, this solution could position the company for future design wins. The design blends improvements in radio frequency power efficiency, cost, and antenna count. Power consumption represents one of the significant contributors to an operator's operational cost structure. Thus these enhancements on the surface seem compelling.

Smarter and more efficient repeaters   

By definition, a repeater amplifies a signal, and mmWave networks will require densification to extend propagation. At MWCLA, Movandi announced several enhancements to its 5G BeamXR family of repeaters. First, the company is now supporting solar power, which should allow operators a great degree of flexibility to install repeaters in areas underserved by electrical access. This green capability could undoubtedly be a game-changer, especially in rural geographies. Second, Mondavi plans to provide mmWave indoor coverage with its sub-6 GHz repeater modules that should sample in the second half of 2022. Indoor deployment is a massive challenge for mmWave, given the need for line of sight and propagation contention created by glass, metal, and drywall. Finally, Movandi is partnering with Airfide Networks to support mesh networking for indoor and outdoor use cases. The solution will essentially leverage a cloud-native architecture to cluster 5G small cells with artificial intelligence software to dynamically determine optimal signal propagation routes. In my opinion, the aggregation of these new enhancements could position the company for future success. 

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