Magnolia Broadband prepares for large UK test
Magnolia Broadband’s DiversityPlus solution will be tested late this month or early in November by five of Europe’s largest carriers to determine if the technology can deliver promised gains in data rates, battery life and coverage on UMTS networks, Magnolia Broadband CEO Osmo Hautanen said.
In an interview with MRT this week, Hautanen said tests with CDMA carriers Sprint and SK Telecom demonstrated that the single-chip DiversityPlus technology helped double uplink data rates at the edge of cell coverage without requiring any changes to the network. Similar gains are expected on UMTS networks in the upcoming test, which is being designed and sponsored by five European wireless carriers and will be observed by carriers from the U.S., Japan and Korea, he said.
“I think this is the first time in the history of Europe when five carriers have come together and jointly tested anything,” Hautanen said. “And my understanding is that, if there ever has been any cooperation, it has always been focused more on the infrastructure. So this is, I think, the first time that there has been a technology tested that will actually go into the handset.”
Hautanen said Magnolia Broadband’s technology, which leverages two separate RF signals to improve wireless connections, is a handset technology that typically increases gain by 3 dB in the most challenging of wireless environments, including in-building coverage and uplink data rates from low-power handsets. While Magnolia officials expected most carrier focus would be on potential data-rate improvement, many have shown more interest recently in the ability for DiversityPlus to enhance coverage and battery life, he said.
“So, basically, you have options,” Hautanen said. “You can use those [extra Magnolia-generated] dBs to improve your coverage, or you can use those dBs to improve your battery life.”
Although DiversityPlus currently is a separate chip, Hautanen said Magnolia Broadband hopes its technology eventually will be licensed technology integrated into cellular chipsets, which would keep handset costs at a minimum. Magnolia’s solution is technology and band agnostic, so it can be used in the 700 MHz band that will be auctioned in the U.S. next year.