Artemis Networks, the startup behind the pCell technology for enhancing network capacity, is using spectrum controlled by Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) to conduct wireless tests in the San Francisco Bay Area.
According to an experimental radio service application filed with the FCC, Artemis is testing wireless services in Palo Alto, Calif., on the 2000-2020 MHz and 2180-220 MHz bands. The application, spotted by Business Insider, was signed April 15 by Antonio Forenza, the co-founder and principal scientist of Artemis. According to the application, the tests will last 14 months and will use 100 devices.
"Dish continually explores and evaluates technologies and approaches that can maximize the potential of wireless spectrum," Dish said in a statement to FierceWireless. "The Artemis trial utilizing our AWS-4 spectrum in the Bay Area is one example of this. We look forward to seeing the results from this trial, as well as from other efforts Dish has underway."
An Artemis spokeswoman declined to comment beyond the filing.
Dish's 40 MHz of AWS-4 spectrum specifically runs from 2000-2020 MHz (for the uplink) and 2180-2200 MHz (for the downlink). Dish is also aiming to use the 2000-2020 MHz band for downlink operations instead of uplink as a condition for agreeing to bid the reserve price in the auction of the 1900 MHz PCS H Block auction, which Dish did with a winning bid of $1.564 billion. The H Block is a 10 MHz block of paired airwaves that runs from 1915-1920 MHz (for the uplink) and from 1995-2000 MHz (for the downlink).
Artemis is working with small cell vendor PureWave Network to design and develop pCell base stations, called pWaves, for trial deployments. PureWave is slated to supply pWaves in various bands and power levels to wireless carriers that deploy the pCell System, "both for initial deployments and to add additional capacity using the same spectrum as mobile data demand continues to grow," the companies said.
This is not the first time that Artemis has been linked to a wireless carrier. FCC documents posted last year pointed to Artemis testing its technology using Clearwire's 2.5 GHz spectrum in the San Francisco area.
Artemis describes its pCell system as a software-defined radio Cloud-RAN that connects through fronthaul to pWave radios distributed throughout the coverage area. The pCell system exploits radio signal interference, rather than trying to reduce or eliminate it, to synthesize a 1-centimeter diameter "personal cell" around the antenna of any standard LTE device in the coverage area.
Another advantage being touted for Artemis' approach is the fact that each additional pWave radio adds to the aggregate capacity of the pCell coverage area. Further, if a pWave radio drops out of the pCell network temporarily due to a power outage, the only impact is a reduction in aggregate capacity rather than a loss of service to the area. That means operators can save on capital expenditures because they do not need to deploy a battery or generator backup for every pWave radio.
Steve Perlman, founder and CEO of Artemis, told FierceWireless in March that the company would be getting trial radios at the end of April and that the company aims to deploy its service "to real customers in the fourth quarter, assuming that whoever we're partnering with chooses to go and enable it for people."
Perlman said at the time that Artemis has been "talking to carrier in all geographies," including "insanely large carriers," though he declined to name any of them. He said the company is talking to operators in Europe, the Americas and Southeast Asia.
It's unclear if or how Artemis and Dish could work together commercially, or if they have any kind of licensing agreement. Business Insider speculated that if Dish could offer pCell-connected devices to its satellite TV subscribers, it could bypass having to work with a wireless carrier or MSO, and could use pCell technology to distribute mobile video content.
In February at Columbia University, Artemis demonstrated how a pCell system can deliver consistently high throughput to multiple users by streaming multiple 4K Ultra HD video streams at once, using off-the-shelf Release 8 LTE dongles each concurrently using the same 10 MHz of spectrum.
- see this FCC filing
- see this Business Insider article
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Article updated April 23 with a statement from Dish Network.