Artemis eyes 600 MHz band, will conduct demo at Mobile World Congress Americas

Artemis mini (Artemis)
Artemis says its pWave Mini enables rapid 5G LTE and fixed wireless deployment. (Artemis)

Artemis Networks, the 20-person-strong startup that claims to have technology that can “blow the doors off” LTE spectral efficiency, recently got Special Temporary Authority (STA) from the FCC to demonstrate its technology in vacant channels in the 500 MHz band at Mobile World Congress Americas (MWC-A) in September.

The company will use the white space TV channels 22 and 24—518-524 MHz and 530-536 MHz—to demonstrate a new digital modulation technique that has implications for wireless networks that will use the recently awarded 600 MHz spectrum. The company is using available channels in the 500 MHz band because the 600 MHz channels in San Francisco are still being used by TV stations, but that spectrum eventually will become available after stations move out of the space.

Silicon Valley entrepreneur and Artemis founder and CEO Steve Perlman told FieceWirelessTech that Artemis is coming at the small cell problem with an unconventional technological approach that will surprise some people. “They’re going to see that 600 MHz is not simply a coverage band,” he said. With Artemis’ pCell technology, “600 MHz is a high-density band that cuts through buildings like a knife through butter.”

As a side note, Artemis is part of Rearden, which is controlled by Perlman, who has several hundred patents to his name. This week Rearden filed suit against Disney alleging copyright, patent and trademark infringement. The argument stems from Disney’s use of a facial-capture technology in the film "Beauty and the Beast," among others; the dispute revolves around a technology called MOVA Contour, which Rearden developed.  

RELATED: Artemis claims pCell can 'blow the doors off' LTE spectral efficiency

As for Artemis, earlier this year it introduced the pWave Mini, a 15mm-wide base station that can be daisy-chained into cables, thereby permitting discrete deployment on rooftops and along buildings or streetlights, to deliver gigabit performance. The technology has been trialed indoors and outdoors to concurrently serve LTE mobile and fixed wireless users; trials were done both in line-of-sight and non-line-of-sight circumstances.

Rather than avoiding interference like conventional cellular systems do, Artemis’ pCell technology exploits interference, combining interfering radio waves to create an unshared personal cell (pCell) for each device, providing wireless capacity to every user at once, indoor and outdoor, even at extremely high user density. In fact, the company says pCell thrives on self-interference, enabling pWave Mini base station densification down to one meter or less, achieving orders of magnitude higher area spectral efficiency than cellular.

The company previously has demonstrated its technology through a lease arrangement with Dish Network using its H band spectrum. Perlman declined to say what operators, if any, Artemis is working with on 600 MHz. 

FierceWirelessTech reached out to a T-Mobile spokesperson and the operator declined to comment. 

In the 600 MHz auction completed earlier this year, Dish was the second highest bidder, committing $6.2 billion, while T-Mobile was the top bidder, agreeing to pony up nearly $8 billion to acquire 600 MHz spectrum. Comcast, which has outlined plans to deploy its own wireless service, spent about $1.7 billion.

RELATED: Artemis leases Dish's H Block spectrum to build a live, commercial pCell network in San Fran

Artemis’ FCC application notes that the part of the Moscone Center where the demo will take place is underground, so it won’t pose an interference threat to above-ground chatter. The license, granted earlier this week, runs from August 1 through September 15, the last day of the MWC-A show.

“What we’ll be showing is that you can achieve what you might call 5G density,” Perlman said. “This is completely contrary to conventional thinking.” While 600 MHz is considered beachfront spectrum, many have figured it’s main use if for coverage, but pCell changes that paradigm. “pCell will be delivering 5G performance and 5G density at 600 and will plow through anything—you’ll be able to get service in a basement.”

Nokia has looked at pCell’s technology and conducted tests initially in large indoor venues and other high density areas, so that's one avenue that might be available if an operator wants the security of a big telco vendor and the tech of a startup.