5G innovator milliBeam emerges from stealth with solution to fill semiconductor supply chain hole

5G innovator milliBeam emerges from stealth with solution to fill semiconductor supply chain hole

milliBeam founder Dr Venkata Gutta (provided).

A Canberra-based startup backed by the CSIRO’s deep tech venture capital fund Main Sequence has emerged from stealth today, promising to develop a solution for the shortage of semiconductors in the global supply chain.

Called milliBeam, the startup has today announced $750,000 in backing from Main Sequence to help fast-track the development of its ‘LEFT-BEAM’ technology and support the expansion of its design team.

The company, founded by semiconductor engineer Dr Venkata Gutta, hopes to address challenges such as 5G coverage and high-power consumption with its LEFT-BEAM tech; issues not addressed by current semiconductor technology.

With the CSIRO’s backing, milliBeam hopes to be a cost-effective, mass produced semiconductor solution, plugging supply chain gaps that have been exacerbated by COVID-19 restrictions and heightened demand for a tech that is widely relied upon for most new gadgets.

Ultimately, the company’s mission is to make mmWave 5G a conventional reality for carriers and users globally.

Pronounced as ‘millimetre wave’ - mmWave is a short-range, high-frequency network technology considered to be the next generation of 5G. mmWave has more bandwidth on offer, which means faster speeds for end-users and more capacity to boot.

milliBeam’s proprietary tech aims to enable mmWave 5G system energy efficiencies above 25 per cent in the next five years, powered by innovations in system and circuit architectures and integrated circuit (IC) design.

According to milliBeam, current integrated circuits rely on multiple elements to transmit signals with varying phases in order to create a focused signal beam, aimed at the location of the user. While this has advantages in improving signal range, these ICs suffer from disadvantages such as high power consumption which limits efficiency, as well as limited radio output power which reduces range.

Founder Dr Gutta says the company’s solution will have global implications for wireless speed.

“5G mmWave is an exciting and necessary next step in the evolution of the communications market,” Dr Gutta said.

“However, there are inevitable teething problems and hurdles to overcome before it goes widespread including its suitability over long distances, how well it can go through walls, and energy-efficiency.

“Leveraging our LEFT-BEAM technology, we can enable faster, more efficient 5G deployments, bringing high-speed connectivity to billions of users as they connect around the world.”

With an increased need to solve challenges such as limited range and coverage of mmWave 5G signals Main Sequence partner Mike Nicholls said milliBeam had the right solution in development.

“As technology advances and people become more hooked to their phones, video game consoles, and computers, there’s been an increasing demand for faster network services. There is so much demand for 5G technology and equipment that the opportunity is ripe for disruptive companies and new entrants,” Nicholls said.

“milliBeam is well-positioned to take communications to the next phase. They have a very strong expert team, a critical market needs, a wealth of expertise in the field, support from investment partners who understand deep tech, and a very unique technology and approach.”

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