Bristol startup Blu Wireless Technology (BWT) has raised £10m as part of a strategic deal for 5G telecoms technology.
BWT develops chip designs for high speed modems that run up to 10Gbit/s. The investment, lead by Cambridge processor designer ARM, brings the total invested in the company to £17m. It employs 55 people in Bristol and is looking to expand that to 75 by the end of the year as a result of the deal.
Update: Calculus Capital, a investment company, is to invest £2.4 million in Blu Wireless as part of this round of funding. Calculus already backs Origin Broadband and a range of biotech startups.
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This will see the BWT modem combined with ARM processors for small mobile phone basestations that include processing and storage to give faster browsing.
Fixing 5G latency
“One of the big constraints of 5G is latency,” said Henry Nurser, CEO of BWT (above in BWT’s Bristol lab with products based on the technology). “The only way you can achieve the 1ms latency that is required is if you do computing and storage at the edge of the network so ARM’s interest is in the computing at the edge of the network. The idea is that we provide the pipe and they provide the computing.”
Blu Wireless and ARM will jointly market the technology, which works in the 28GHz to 95GHz bands (also called millimetre wave) to provide the gigabit data rates. Wi-Fi in comparison works at 2.4GHz and 5GHz.
“Our investment in Blu Wireless will help our partners to get to market faster with mmWave-compliant products and help accelerate the rollout of 5G networks”
“Our investment in Blu Wireless is strategic and includes the tools and resources to enable their technology to be tested on the latest ARM IP,” said Noel Hurley, general manager, business segments group at ARM. “This will help our partners to get to market faster with mmWave-compliant products and help accelerate the rollout of 5G networks.”
The company is set to break even next year as the first products based on its design will start making their ways to customers in the middle of this year. BWT is also working with five large system makers who are developing wireless links for 4G and early 5G basestations. Its gigabit wireless links are used around the city as part of the Bristol is Open network.
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