Chipping in on 5G

LAS VEGAS — Starry also made some news at CES 2018 in Las Vegas, announcing that it has teamed with chipmaker Marvell on a technology partnership that will attempt to speed up the deployment of 5G-based fixed wireless services and drive down equipment costs.

Under the plan, Starry will combine its pre-standard 5G system focused on millimeter wave spectrum and smart antenna technology with Marvell’s 802.11ax chips.

The collaboration, the companies said, will focus on two areas — a “blueprint,” or reference design, for Starry’s millimeter wave, point-to-multipoint fixed broadband transceivers (the last mile in Starry’s infrastructure) that integrate Marvell’s 802.11ax chipsets; and a cloud-based internet and WiFi network monitoring platform that will tie into every node of the network and check performance of base stations and receivers as well as in-home WiFi hubs.

Starry and Marvell expect both to become available in mid-2018. Elements of that handiwork were on display at Marvell’s suite at this week’s CES in Las Vegas.

The companies hold that the partnership will broaden the technology ecosystem with near-term implications while pivoting away from pre-standard 5G technology that is being developed in “silos.”

The partnership also intends to drive down the cost of deploying broadband. It also helps Starry tighten its ties to WiFi, as the companies note that the bulk of the world’s mobile cellular internet traffic is served via WiFi from fixed networks.