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Celeno kicks off 2011 with another couple of significant design wins

Israeli video WiFi start up Celeno had a pretty good 2010, coming to light in decisions at both China Telecom last August, and then at Liberty Global,

By PETER WHITE

Published: 6 January, 2011

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Israeli video WiFi start up Celeno had a pretty good 2010, coming to light in decisions at both China Telecom last August, and then at Liberty Global, probably the largest pay TV operator outside the US. The company designs MIMO WiFi devices which carry HD video without packet loss, adding its own specialized firmware which is video aware and designing its own MIMO WiFi chip.

At CES this week it proceeded to take ground from conventional WiFi providers with a deal inside Technicolor’s MediaEncore all-in-one digital home platform and in Taiwanese home gateway maker, Zyxel’s new Media Streaming box – the WAP5605. It is fantastically well poised to get itself included in home gateway boxes from set top vendors who need that extra throughput and reliability for video applications. This ground was pioneered by Ruckus Wireless over the past few years, and more recently by Turkey’s Airties, a company built by ex-US silicon valley chip designers.

The Celeno (and Airties) approach is to specifically support home wide content distribution over wireless, and also OTT video distribution, by using the less congested 5GHz WiFi frequencies as well as the more traditional 2.4GHz WiFi channels and hopping between them. Both use firmware to calculate which is the best channel to switch to, and which radio beam the best to trust, and pre-calculate multiple times each second whether a selected channel has the capacity for the next video frames.

As more and more set top vendors feel the need to enter the home gateway space, they must preserve their video heritage and support DLNA content protection for multi-room DVRs, and chips (and firmware) like this will be in great demand. Any of the leading lights in WiFi must join the party or they will lose ground. Celeno already looks like a juicy acquisition target for one of the bigger players.

The new Technicolor MediaEncore box claims to offer a new approach to video distribution in the home, converging legacy pay TV and new OTT internet-based video content over a single IP infrastructure. And Technicolor is probably the second largest set top maker in the world after Pace, so is pushing at an open door with this product at many pay TV operators.

Celeno calls its technology OptimizAIR and it supports implicit beam forming and real time antenna diversity. There has been some concern that Celeno hasn’t actually got a working chip, because most of its customers are currently using existing off the shelf chips, with Celeno firmware, so far, but its CL1820 SoC-based should be shipping by now. The beauty of the Celeno design is that it claims it can work with existing single antenna WiFi receivers, almost as well as it can with specialist MIMO receivers.

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