2020 FierceWireless Rising Star — Qualcomm's Ozge Koymen

Qualcomm's Ozge Koymen (Qualcomm)

For 2020 the FierceWireless editorial team has selected a diverse slate of wireless executives who are on the rise in their careers. We’re doling out the names of our winners, two per day, so that our readers have the time to enjoy reading their profiles. Next week, we’ll post our popular Rising Stars poll, giving everyone the opportunity to vote for their favorite top executive to watch in wireless.

For Ozge Koymen, senior director of technology at Qualcomm, recent commercial deployments of millimeter wave technology by mobile carriers, such as Verizon, represent a validation of several years of work he and his team put in to get mmWave to a point where such operators would even consider it an option.

Koymen and others have been working on mmWave at Qualcomm for more than five years on a project that started at a time when much of the industry did not see much viability in operating mobile services at high spectrum levels.

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“People really thought [mmWave] would not be feasible for a handset, a mobile type of solution,” he said. “It was more for fixed wireless. Me and my team were instrumental in pushing out the message that it would work for 5G, and took that all the way to commercialization.”

Despite the deployments, challenges remain. “Throughout the last five to seven years we have had implementation challenges just making sure if this technology can fit inside a handset, if it can have complex signal processing and the beamforming, tracking all within a phone form factor,” Koymen said. “Some challenges are still being faced, like how do you achieve wide area coverage without the coverage holes that happen, and foliage issues? How do you overcome coverage issues with uplink and downlink?”

RELATED: U.S. Cellular, Ericsson, Qualcomm stretch mmWave’s reach

Koymen and his cohorts are trying different ways of solving these issues and making mmWave more robust, like using different types of repeaters, and more distributed radio heads, for example. Meanwhile, Koymen wants to continue looking for more spectrum frequencies at which mmWave might be viable. While early plans for mmWave have focused on usage at frequencies like 28 GHz and 39 GHz, Koymen said Qualcomm wants to explore its potential usage at much higher levels, like 60 GHz or even above 100 GHz. That could be a ways off, so it’s a good thing that Koymen thrives on the challenges of developing a new technology and quietly tweaking it and testing it through lab iterations and field trials until it’s ready to see daylight.

“If the job was easy and just following some recipe it wouldn’t be exciting,” he said. “The fact that every day we’re facing challenges and can prove people wrong is very exciting.”

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