Starry, Marvell partner at CES 2018 to accelerate 5G fixed wireless deployments

The two companies are joining forces to build out a pre-standard 5G technology ecosystem to make future deployments even easier.

Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:
  • Starry and Marvell are joining their knowledge of 5G fixed wireless and 802.11ax technologies to develop a pre-standard 5G ecosystem.
  • A pre-standard ecosystem could help streamline and expedite future 5G wireless deployments.

Wireless technology firm Starry and semiconductor company Marvell announced a joint initiative aimed at speeding and streamlining 5G wireless deployments. Announced via a press release during CES 2018, the pair is planning to build out a pre-standard 5G technology ecosystem to better address connectivity and bandwidth demands of the future.

Global standards for 5G networks were approved in December 2017, six months ahead of schedule. With the early approval, and more business resources from Starry and Marvell, companies could more easily take advantage of 5G speeds when the time comes.

Starry, known for its last-mile gigabit broadband efforts, will bring its integrated circuit, smart-antenna technology to the table, the release said. Marvell, on the other hand, will provide its 802.11ax expertise as the two seek to develop their 5G ecosystem.

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According to the press release, most pre-standard 5G technology development is happening in siloes under the watchful eye of giant corporations. And, while the majority of 5G applications remain to be seen, Starry and Marvell believe that it is best suited to power low-latency, high-capacity, fixed wireless broadband, the release noted.

"Today, nearly 70% of the world's mobile cellular, internet traffic is served via WiFi from fixed networks, making the deployment of new technologies that enable high-capacity fixed broadband networks even more critical," the release said. "It is expected that this offloading will continue to be the most important element of the world's wireless infrastructure due to its low cost and ubiquity."

The first step of the partnership is to make available the reference design for Starry's millimeter wave fixed transceivers, the release said. These transceivers are a last-mile initiative for getting broadband into the home, and rely on Marvell's 802.11ax chipsets to do so. Starry developed the point-to-multipoint transceiver technology used in the transceivers.

"Making this technology available more broadly in domestic and international markets, will help fixed wireless providers, of all sizes, dramatically improve scalability and deployment of their network, making ubiquitous broadband access closer to reality," the release said. It could also make it easier for upstart ISPs to build out their own broadband networks as well.

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Starry and Marvell will also release a network monitoring platform for tracking network performance and managing network nodes, the release said. Any company using Starry's transceiver technology to build out their own networks will have access to this technology suite.

In the release, Starry CEO Chet Kanojia said that the biggest barrier to firms getting involved with broadband is cost. However, with this partnership, the companies are hoping they can democratize access to early 5G technologies and boost the development of its associated hardware.

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Image: iStockphoto/chombosan

About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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