Startup Vows to Double Bandwidth With Easy Upgrade

MagnaCom boosts capacity by packing in data-lugging carrier waves more efficiently.

A networking startup emerged from stealth mode today, pitching a more fine-grained way to modulate waves that carry data across almost all networks in a way that could double the capacity of a network or extend its range by as much as 400 percent.

The vendor, MagnaCom, is a privately held startup whose goal is to “reinvent the evolution of digital communications” using a patented form of network-signal compression designed to double the data-signaling rate of a network without requiring extensive upgrades, according to MagnaCom.

The WAve Modulation (WAM) technology, for which MagnaCom holds 15 patents, is a digital modulation technique that uses the same analog and radio-frequency circuits as existing networks, but relies on a different pattern of digital modulation that increases the capacity of a network connection by as much as 10 decibels – which MagnaCom’s announcement describes as “equivalent to a 20-year leap in digital communications” that requires no changes in radio frequencies, antennas or analog network interfaces.

Existing networks transmit data using data coded into a pair of carrier waves that both fit into the same channel because they are slightly out of sync, using a technique called Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (QAM)..

In QAM, both waves share the same frequency, but the second is delayed one quarter of a cycle after the other to keep the two distinct enough to be separated and interpreted by the receiver.

WAM uses a more fine-grained control over the timing of waves carrying data, effectively increasing the number of waves able to carry data through the same network channel at the same time, according to the patents MagnaCom holds on the technology.

Because it uses the same underlying network architecture, and even the same carrier frequencies, WAM can be used on existing QAM networks simply by adding interfaces at the sending and receiving ends. Adding WAM to interface cards would require the addition of a custom processor that MagnaCom CTO Amir Eliaz estimated would be no larger and a millimeter square.

“MagnaCom’s WAM technology looks very promising,” according to Will Strauss, principal analyst of Forward Concepts, one of several telecommunications analysts paid by MagnaCom to evaluate WAM before its release. “For many years the top communications companies have been hard at work for every 1dB of system gain, so MagnaCom’s 10db gain could be truly game changing.”

MagnaCom will demonstrate a version of WAM coded into a field-programmable gate array (FPGA) chip from Altera Corp. in a private suite at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas Jan. 7-10, 2014, where it will be shopping for manufacturing and distribution partners. Juergen Faelchle