Toward 5G: Broadcom acquires MagnaCom for $50 million

17 May, 2016

The Israeli Startup MagnaCom invented a new modulation technology dubbed WAM, to run on a dedicated silicon chip and can double the performance of cellular networks

The Israeli Startup MagnaCom invented  a new modulation technology dubbed WAM, to run on a dedicated silicon chip and can double the performance of cellular networks

MagnaCom's demonstration at CES2015
MagnaCom’s demonstration at CES2015

BroadCom acquires Petah-Tikva, Isreal based MagnaCom. Accordind to media sources, BroadCom paid approximately $50 million for the company. The Magnacom deal may prove to be the first in a wave of acquisitions of Israeli startups developing 5th generation cellular technology.

MagnaCon has developed a new cellular modulation technology named WAM – an abbreviation for Wave Modulation that according to MagnaCom is currently the most efficient modulation technology available. The technology was developed in utmost secrecy during the past two years and is based on more than 50 registered patents.

MagnaCom’s website states that WAM doubles network capacity while reducing power usage by up to 50%. The technology does not require the replacement of analog circuits, RF circuits of Antennas and is therefore 100% backward compatible. The nonlinearities are handled digitally at the receiver side, allowing a lower-cost and lower-power transmitter design.

The Technology is designed to replace traditional Quadrature Amplitude Modulation which has been in use for over 40 years. QAM conveys data by changing some aspect of a carrier signal in response to a data signal – the amplitude of two waves of the same frequency, 90 degrees of of phase with each other are changed to represent the data signal. Amplitude modulating two carriers in quadrature can be equivalently viewed as both amplitude modulating and phase modulating a single carrier.

WAM technology works differently and is based on a new modulation scheme, using spectral compression that improves spectral efficiency. The spectral compression enables an increase of the signaling rate thereby affording the use of lower order alphabet, which reduces complexity. It provides inherent diversity of time and frequency domains and uses nonlinear signal shaping.

Semiconductor’s Entrepeneurship

CEO Yossi Cohen
CEO Yossi Cohen

MagnaCom was founded by CEO Yossi Cohen and CTO Amir Eliaz. Yossi Cohen was in charge of Broadcom’s Bluetooth business amd served as Senior Vice President and General Manager at Motorola Mobility and a member of Motorola’s senior executive staff, until its acquisition by Google in 2012, and has more than 30 years of experience of engineering and business.

CTO Eliaz is the inventor of the WAM technology. Eliaz told Cohen of his invention and the two then decided to fund the company. Eliaz established the wireless department at ECI Telecom and served as its’ first Director. Prior to ECI, he served as Vice President of R&D at Provigent (acquired by Broadcom) and was directly responsible for developing its’ most successful chips.

It is worth mentioning that Steve Altman is on the company’s technical advisory board for over a year. Altman is one of the most influential figures in the global telecommunications community. Amongst other the served as Qualcomm’s president and vice CEO. The deal could prove to be the harbinger of a new wave of acquisitions 5th generation technology startups, fuled by the desire of big player to be well positioned for the dawn of 5th generation technology.

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Posted in: Business , News , Wireless