Neul opens up on ‘white space’ radio network

Neul opens up on ‘white space’ radio network

Business news |
By eeNews Europe

The company has said it intends to make its money partly by the control of data that passes over a potentially global "white space" network and through databases it will control, and partly by the sale of equipment and the licensing of production details relevant to the white-space M2M standard that it is now finalizing.

The company was formed in 2010 by some of the original founders of Cambridge Silicon Radio, which went on to become CSR plc on success providing single-chip CMOS implementations of the Bluetooth standard. But Neul does not intend to be a chip company, but rather a technology enabler for other companies. It’s network is intended for machine-to-machine communications and to operate in the license-free and payment-free "white-space spectrum" between 400- and 800-MHz being made available by the retirement of analog television broadcasting.

Although the company is starting in the United Kingdom the company said the principles are applicable globally as just about all broadcast television is in the UHF band and just about all governments are digitizing those broadcasts creating white-space opportunities. Signals in these frequencies can travel long distances and easily penetrate walls. This makes white space radio suitable for long-range applications that require wide-area connectivity.

Neul offers an FCC-certifiable white-space network in a box.

The simplicity of the terminal nodes is intended to provide 10 years of battery life for low data applications such as smart meters. It should also reduce chipset costs to $5 in prototype volumes and $1 in high volumes. Neul executives said they intend to sign up mainstream chip companies to make the chips.

With predictions of 50 billion M2M connections by 2020 it is clear that Neul is not going to make all the chips needed, said CEO Collier. He said it needs the likes of Texas Instruments, Qualcomm, CSR, STMicroelectronics and Broadcom to get involved. However, Collier would not confirm whether these or similar chip companies are working with Neul on the Weightless standard.

The NeulNET system, which includes a basestation unit and portable battery powered terminal, makes it easy to create white space networks that deliver up to 16Mbps per available white space channel at a range of up to 10-km.

"Neul’s very novel M2M solution, using available white space spectrum, is a perfect solution for those applications requiring a low-cost, ultra-reliable connection that consumes very little power and supports very high device densities and capacities," said Allen Nogee, research director at In-Stat, in a statement issued by Neul.

Neul’s next steps are to confirm the system specification meets all requirements and then look to deploy trial systems during 2011, according to William Webb, CTO of Neul. Production systems will be available in 2012 while regulatory work continues to open up white space as a harmonized global frequency band world-wide.

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