Eridan Offers Never Before Seen Tunability, Energy Efficiency and Clean Signal in a Single, Lightweight Radio for Private and Public 5G Networks

Eridan Offers Never Before Seen Tunability, Energy Efficiency and Clean Signal in a Single, Lightweight Radio for Private and Public 5G Networks

Collisions can be the magic of the startup world. It’s that chance encounter. That conversation between brilliant minds over a beer or a cup of coffee leading to the spark of an idea, and in turn, igniting breakthrough innovation. 

Eridan was founded in 2013 in Santa Clara, CA -- the result of not just one, but a series of lucky “collisions.” 

At that time, Eridan company president Dubravko Babic worked for a Silicon Valley venture called Group4 Labs. Dubravko was focused on integrating gallium nitride with a synthetic diamond to create a field effect transistor for radio frequency applications. It was in this role Dubravko first collided with Earl McCune, a fellow technologist innovating in the field of polar amplifiers and modulators. The two began exchanging ideas and soon embarked on a spin-off dedicated to creating amplifiers using GaN on diamond technology. 

It was at this point the second collision took place. Eridan’s now CEO Doug Kirkpatrick had been brought in by a Silicon Valley investor to perform due diligence on the venture. While the risk of this company was determined to be too great, Doug did see the potential in combining Earl’s experience with polar transmitters with Dubravko’s experience with Gallium Nitride. The three came together to create a single radio with a never-before-seen level of tunability, energy efficiency, and clean signal. 

A tunable radio more efficient than any other 

Doug’s previous experience working in the field with US special forces gave him a unique insight into the problem that this technology could solve. He knew that tens of billions of dollars in contracts were currently being signed for heavy, hot, and limited-tunable radios.

Existing technology options, integrated into a “backpack” with four other radios [one for each frequency band], means Special Forces members already burdened with 34 lbs of body armor were forced to lug an additional 47 lbs in radios and batteries in field deployments. Doug knew that if the team at Eridan could use its technology know-how to build a tunable radio that was more efficient than any of those radios, the military would pay for it.

That vision quickly turned into reality. The team was offered an initial exploratory contract with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and Eridan was born, demonstrating not only to the US military but the world that its MIRACLE Module could condense those 80 lbs of separate radios into a single device not lot bigger than a mobile phone and provide major solutions in 5G small cells and massive MIMO, IoT, satellite communications, and more, by enabling fast, reliable, and affordable connectivity everywhere. 

The Eridan team soon realized that the marketplace for the radio technology they created was far larger than just the military. That’s when they brought in Amy Lamboley, a former Tata Communications marketing executive to lead Eridan’s marketing and business development. 

Not much bigger than a WiFi home device with a kilometer of range and precision signal

“The contract with DARPA put us in business, but we recognized we had a fundamental technology breakthrough that would be useful everywhere,” says Amy.  “When a radio is two kilograms vs 10 kilograms, uses less power, and offers a clean signal, that translates into technology that is easier to install into any wireless network. You can stick it to an existing wall. A pole. You don’t have to worry about load or wind weighting. You don’t have to put in a special power infrastructure to support it. It’s not much bigger than the average home WiFi device, and yet, offers a kilometer of coverage with precision signal.” 

Eridan has two products, which are currently waitlisted (production units expected Q3 2024). These include:

Eridan expects its early market traction will come from the small cell radio unit, which can be easily adopted and incorporated into private wireless networks. The module, which showcases the company’s true capabilities, is designed as a subsystem to be sold to OEMs for incorporation into proprietary hardware. 

“The module is the way Eridan’s technology will be leveraged in public wireless networks, but this is such breakthrough technology it requires a new way of thinking for telecommunications partners,” explains Amy. “We built the radio unit to show the world and our prospective partners what’s possible. This isn’t just about power savings. This is about a system that is smaller and lighter, and a system that provides a clean signal advantage over a larger area with less total output power.” 

Eridan joined the 5G Open Innovation Lab in the Fall of 2023 as part of the Lab’s Batch 8 cohort. 

“Jim Brisimitzis and the team at 5G OIL have helped us with introductions to industry partners and to clarify our thinking on how to address the private 5G market. I knew coming into this that selling to a telco is a long, complicated path. It can be up to a five-year sales cycle to qualify something into the RAN which is the crown jewel of a telco operator. So the Lab helped open our horizons to include industry and government who still have a pressing need for our technology but have a higher risk tolerance,” says Amy. “They’re willing to more readily accept innovation if it solves a very pressing problem.” 

With its commercial product line launch just around the corner, Eridan showcased its small radio unit at the recent Mobile World Congress, attracting the attention of several systems integrators (SIs), who will now be testing and evaluating the radio unit. The company has raised $55M in venture capital to fuel its path into the market. 

“SIs are our focus now,” explains Amy. “We’ve had conversations with direct enterprise buyers but SIs have the reach, the seal of approval CIOs want, and the experience with deploying and supporting wireless networks and technologies to large enterprises. Done right and managed well, SI partners can be a tremendous force multiplier.”

Posted April 29, 2024

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