STARTUP PREPS SUB-W, FULL-DUPLEX CHIP

EETimes:: GenXComm is gearing up a Series A round to fund at least two tapeouts to bring its interference-canceling technology to market. The startup believes that it will enable full-duplex links for Wi-Fi, 5G cellular, and the Internet of Things with lower power than rival Kumu Networks.

“We will be like MIMO or OFDM, a dominating technology in wireless, doubling bandwidth, reducing latency, and enabling better wireless security,” said Sriram Vishwanath, a serial entrepreneur who is co-founder and president of GenXComm.

The startup closed the final phase of a $1.5 million seed round today that paid for 130- and 90-nm test chips driving its first lab tests. It hopes to raise $10–15 million in its next round to design commercial silicon for unnamed system and semiconductor partners.

The company’s technology has its roots in research conducted at the University of Texas at Austin where Vishwanath is a professor on leave. The startup filed four patents on its adaptive techniques for modeling and canceling signal reflections while consuming less than a watt in a 90-nm device.

“Our solution can get into mobile phones … other [full-duplex networking] solutions are more bulky and power-hungry,” said Vishwanath, who has worked at seven startups.

The chips could be used in a single Wi-Fi access point, cellular base station, or IoT gateway to expand capacity three- to thirty-fold, said Vishwanath. “I can’t name names … we have one OEM design win and two MoUs with chipset makers where, if we meet certain milestones, they will integrate our technology into their chip.”

So far, GenXComm has created proofs-of-concept for an indoor Wi-Fi access point, a point-to-point millimeter-wave relay, and a base station offering access and backhaul over a single frequency.

The startup’s technology is an order of magnitude lower in power consumption and greater in bandwidth than its closest rival, Vishwanath said. Kumu announced in June 2015 that it conducted lab tests for its full-duplex transceiver that it demonstrated with three carriers: Deutsche Telecom, SK Telecom, and Telefonica.

Startups have taken many paths to try to broadly enable more efficient networks. Magnacom launched in early 2013 with a novel modulation technology and was later purchased by Broadcom for $50 million. Artemis Networks debuted in early 2014, leveraging interference with distributed antennas to create better cellular links.

Matt Hovis