Fabless semiconductor start-up Magnolia Broadband this week announced it has completed a $14 million Series D round that will let the company fund the commercialization of its DiversityPlus technology, a handset solution designed to improve the performance, coverage and capacity of wireless networks.

“I think you’re going to see the product in the market during the third quarter or fourth quarter of this year; that’s the normal development cycle for mobile phones,” said Larry Wasylin, Magnolia Broadband’s vice president of marketing.

DiversityPlus chips are used in conjunction with dual-antenna handsets and help the handset take advantage of separate RF signals to improve performance. With DiversityPlus handsets, a wireless operator can double spectrum utilization and increase coverage by as much as 60%. In addition, data throughput can increase by as much as 112%, although the improvement level in this aspect varies based on the handset’s proximity to the base station, Wasylin said.

“The beauty of the technology is that we do not touch the base station at all,” Wasylin said. “It’s a technology that goes only on the handset, so there is no need for changes to the protocol or any of the [network] infrastructure.”

In field tests with CDMA carriers SK Telecom and Sprint, Magnolia Broadband demonstrated the ability to improve radio link quality by 3-5 db on the uplink and 2-3 db on the downlink. DiversityPlus also improves power efficiency of a handset by 10-15%, according to the company.