Blu Wireless ARM deal aims at 5G edge computing with millimetre wave  

Blu Wireless ARM deal aims at 5G edge computing with millimetre wave  

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

The deal brings the total investment in the millimetre wave startup to £17m (€20m), with the company set to break even in 2018, says Henry Nurser, CEO. The company currently employs 55 staff with most from across Europe and is looking to boost that to 75 during this year.

5G will bring the need for small cell basestations with storage and compute power, connected by wireless backhaul, says Nurser. “One of the big constraints of 5G is latency,” he said. “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. That has to be low cost and you can’t use fibre or DSL so you need to use millimetre wave wireless.The idea is that we provide the pipe and they provide the computing.”

Blu Wireless and ARM will jointly market the technology.

“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 first product based on the HYDRA baseband modem will sample in Q2 2017, and the company has also signed deals with five of the licensee’s system level customers. This first generation product is aimed at providing low cost wireless backhaul links for 4G and pre-5G mobile network.

The company also works with six RF front end chip suppliers for certified designs at 28Ghz, 60GHz (for the WiGig WiFi standard) and 95GHz.

Nurser is confident that the company can attract more engineers to Bristol from Europe and the rest of the world to support the new growth area. “What we are looking for is engineers with five to ten years experience, that’s our number one target. Around 12% of the staff are women and we would love to have more,” he said.

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