Rakuten Mobile to Deploy Movandi’s 5G mmWave Smart Repeaters


Rakuten Mobile is expanding its 5G outdoor and indoor mmWave network coverage and capacity in Japan using Movandi’s smart repeater and BeamXR Open-RAN technology. Movandi’s proprietary mmWave RF chipsets, MIMO phased-array antenna and software technology will allow Rakuten Mobile’s 5G mmWave signals to provide coverage beyond the reach of other mmWave approaches while reducing the cost of the infrastructure.

The deployment of 5G mmWave is critical to deliver on the promises of ubiquitous high-speed, low-latency networks, and to meet market capacity demands, which is expected to be depleted in two years with current technologies, according to Maryam Rofougaran, CEO and co-founder of Movandi.  Continue Reading

“All of the big promises of the 5G revolution that everyone talks about are really dependent upon using the high band, because that’s where you can get the maximum data throughputs and the lowest latency,” Rofougran told Inside Towers.

But wireless in the mmWave band has well known challenges in terms of range and line-of-sight transmissions. The use of repeaters extends the coverage of the gNodeB, while reducing the requisite small cell infrastructure.

“Rigorous Total Cost of Ownership analysis reveals that the costs of permitting, fiber, and power to a mmWave network can be significant. The use of repeaters to ‘spread’ the RF capacity throughout an urban area can effectively cut the operator’s cost by 52 percent,” Mobile Expert’s Joe Madden wrote in a 2021 report.

In the past, repeaters in lower spectrum have been known to damage networks, because they would constantly inject noise into the system and create interference. Rofougran noted that the use of mmWave band automatically provides more control in the management of the beam, because of the limited range. 

Repeaters Get “Smart”

Movandi’s portfolio of 5G mmWave products allow network designers to create smart active repeater solutions that mitigate mmWave technology’s range, line-of-sight and blockage limitations while maintaining robust signal transmission.

The Movandi repeater is “smart” because it understands which gNodeB is impacted and where it needs to transmit and synchronizes the uplink and downlink, according to Rofougran. “It doesn’t just blast noise everywhere,” she said. “It can do the beamforming, scan and connect to the correct beam. Because it is line-of-sight, you have to make sure it can find the right beam.” 

Movandi performs these actions without adding latency, she added. In fact, she said the mesh can stretch out to seven to eight hops without adding significant latency. With more hops, however, noise can increase.

By J. Sharpe Smith, Inside Towers Technology Editor

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