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BMW i Ventures invests in GenXComm to increase speed and lower cost of 5G rollout; microphotonics-based full-duplex, high-speed communication

BMW i Ventures has invested in GenXComm, a company with technology that improves the performance and capacity of communication networks, and which aims to increase significantly the speed of global 5G deployment.

GenXComm is ushering in the next revolution of computing and connectivity. Autonomous systems, like self-driving cars, are essentially datacenters on wheels, and require fast, low latency connections. GenXComm’s technology will rapidly increase the speed of 5G penetration that is critical for the future of connected vehicles.

—Marcus Behrendt, partner, BMW i Ventures

Traditionally, it’s been impossible for electronic devices to transmit and receive data at the same time, on the same frequency, because the intensity of data transmissions drowns out the signal that’s being received. Therefore, electronic devices are extremely wasteful—they either have to transmit and receive on different frequencies (using twice the spectrum they should) or transmit and receive at different times (using twice the time that they should).

GenXComm’s microphotonics-based real time signal processing enables interference free high-bandwidth adaptive networks, allowing cellular operators to roll out 5G using relays and integrated access that can backhaul their own wireless transmissions without waste.

GenXComm’s Simultaneous Self Interference Cancellation (S-SIX) technology combines hybrid analog and digital interference cancellation to be able to provide a wide-band, tunable true full duplex radio within a compact subsystem. Although other mechanisms may be able to handle antenna coupling and near-field interference, the ability dynamically and accurately to match near and far-field reflections within a small Size Weight and Power (SWaP) in a constantly changing environment is unique to GenXComm and is patented.

This proprietary cancellation technique is built using a very novel principle combining RF with optics. The traditional approach to signal filtering and processing has been to down convert the signal to the digital domain to process it and then to convert it back to analog. This is computationally intensive, increasing system size and resource utilization.

Digital-only approaches also cannot support high bandwidths at higher operating frequencies reducing their effectiveness for next generation communication systems. S-SIX takes a completely different approach to signal processing; it up-converts the RF signal to the optical domain to filter and process. This allows S-SIX to process RF signals with a very wide bandwidth, with very high resolution of tenability.

This RF-photonic architecture allows S-SIX to eliminate interference in the receive chain. Secondary cancellation is then performed using an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based digital processing technique to achieve total cancellation of up to 130dB. This secondary processing is significantly less resource intensive than traditional digital-only cancellation approaches.

With the switch to 5G costing global carriers a 60% to 300% increase in infrastructure costs, GenXComm’s technology has the potential to save 5G providers billions of dollars, reducing the cost of implementing 5G by up to 80%.

GenXComm was founded in 2016 to commercialize years of research and development out of the University of Texas at Austin in the area of interference technology.


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