London, UK:--A Los Angeles, California based start-up, Innovics Wireless, has developed what it says is the most cost effective solution to increasing data capacity and improving coverage in 2.5G and 3G cells.
By using diversity processing techniques, and incorporating baseband ASICS based on patented signal processing technologies into high speed data terminals, the technique "delivers significant performance gains over conventional technologies without the need to modify the mobile basestation infrastructure", according to Babak Daneshrad, the company's founder and CEO.
Mobile data terminal manufacturers and predominantly European mobile network providers are already evaluating Innovics' antenna-combining chip-rate ASIC, which aims to improve coverage by 50% and increase cell capacity fourfold for high data rate signals, using the diversity processing approach.
Diversity processing can be incorporated into any mobile device. It increases t he average data rate available per user by combining signals from two separate antennae, and making full use of signals that have arrived at the terminal through different paths -- for instance after being reflected from buildings or hills.
By combining the signals from the different antennae, such processing reduces losses in data reception due to spatial variations in the signal strength. Peaks and fades in signal strength associated with outage are thus reduced, and higher data rates achieved with less loss of data.
The company is initially targeting countries and operators that are planning to roll out W-CDMA based third generation networks, and then offer a solution for GSM/GPRS.
"The CDMA 2000 standard is further away and for us is now an IP (Intellectual Property) play", said Daneshrad.
The company was set up in December 2000 and now employs 28 people. It raised $7m from its major backers, which includes Palomar Ventures, Interwest Partners and Broadcom Corp. Daneshrad said a second r ound of financing is already in the pipeline, which aims to raise a similar amount to continue development of the technology.
The technique is based on research Daneshrad did while a professor of electrical engineering at UCLA, though it was then focused on wireless LAN applications. He also worked at ATT& Bell Laboratories. Other senior executives include chief operating officer Bob Buckley, formerly president of Advanced Computer Communications, a subsidiary of Ericsson, and Michael Orr, vice president of business development, who joined from Gateway, where he served as vice president of Wireless Solutions. Previously he headed Qualcomm's international business development division.
Innovics Wireless' technology supports the integration of up to 20 multiple path signals, or ten multipaths per antenna, and the combination of signals from two separate antennas. The ASIC compiles information from the antenna combiner before passing the information to a fast Viterbi or Turbo decoder. Data streams are t hen channelled to either the antenna adaptation module, or the device's signal processor, which was developed in house.
Daneshrad says in a typical 3G device, the diversity processing solution can increase the Signal to Noise Ratio at the mobile terminal by an average of 7dB. Figures achieved vary from 4 to 11 dB. This could deliver the promised data rates of 384kb/s to 2Mb/s in 90% of a 3G cell.
The first WCDMA antenna diversity ASIC, codenamed Condor was taped out last week, and this will be used to develop reference designs packaged in a PCMCIA card. These should be ready for filed trials by July. The company's road map indicates commercial trials commencing this October, with a W-CDMA/GPRS implementation using a dual mode ASIC and reference design ready by March 2003.