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M87 Has a Plan to Make Smartphones the New Small Cells

By Diana Goovaerts at Wireless Weekly, November 24th

What if your smartphone didn’t need to move closer to the tower to get a better connection because it could tap into the stronger signal of a phone nearby? What if it didn’t need a cellular or Wi-Fi connection at all to talk to the devices around it?

Turns out both of those hypotheticals will soon be reality, at least, if M87 has anything to say about it.

The wireless technology company, led by former T-Mobile executive Cole Brodman, is currently trialing a new solution that would allow devices at the edge of the network to connect and form their own “proximate networks.”

Here’s how it works.

According to Broadman, the technology – developed by Vidur Bhargava and Dr. Sriram Vishwanath at the University of Texas at Austin – uses software to bridge and route between different radio technologies to allow devices like smartphones to connect with other devices nearby – whether or not they’re connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi or cellular. This in turn allows devices to share information, like location or text messages, with one another and even help each other find the easiest path to the best network connection.

Brodman said the technology is “more or less” radio agnostic, multi-operating system (iOS and Android), multi-RF, and multi-hop (to allow single or multiple hops between devices trying to reach the network).

Read the full article at Wireless Week.

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Qualcomm, Madrona, Trilogy invest $5M in mobile networking startup M87; T-Mobile vet Cole Brodman named CEO

BY TAYLOR SOPER of Geekwire on November 17, 2016 at 6:00 am

The former T-Mobile executive, who spent 17 years at the wireless carrier and held positions as CMO and CTO, is now CEO of M87, a mobile networking startup that today announced a $5 million fundraising round led by Madrona Venture Group, with participation from Qualcomm Ventures and Trilogy Equity Partners.

Brodman left T-Mobile in 2012 and spent the next four years as a board member for a handful of startups. One of those companies was M87, which launched out of Austin, Texas in 2014.

M87’s technology, born out of research done by founder Vidur Bhargava and Dr. Sriram Vishwanath at the University of Texas in Austin, helps wireless carriers improve network performance by creating dynamic device-to-device mesh networks. As Brodman spent more and more time advising the company, it eventually asked him to take on a leadership role.

Read the full article at Geekwire.

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M87 at Qualcomm Developers Conference - Beijing

We are proud and excited to be asked to present at the Qualcomm LTE Direct Developer & Leadership Conference in Beijing on December 8th. We'll be primarily discussing our SDK and how it can augment LTE Direct, bringing the power of Proximity Services to a wide array of applications. App developers can incorporate our SDK and utilize it's multi-hop device to device discovery and data transport framework where LTE Direct is not yet deployed – getting ahead of the competition. 

We'll report back after the conference, but if you'd like to learn more about our SDK and sign up for access, you can do so here

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The Wi-Fi Alliance - on M87 and Wi-Fi Innovations

From a keynote address by Kevin Fitchard:

Last month Gigaom ran a big feature series called ‘Reinventing the internet’, exploring how broadband technology, applications policy, and security were evolving – and should evolve – to connect the world in the 21st century.

I handled the wireless component of that series, and I slightly surprised myself by writing as much about unlicensed technologies like Wi-Fi as I wrote about traditional cellular networks.

Here were my conclusions: The mobile internet of the future isn’t going to be supplied by a single carrier, using a single wireless technology, on a single service plan. If we truly want to use mobile broadband the way we use fixed broadband, then our wireless signals will come from multiple sources, and one of those key sources will be Wi-Fi.

My colleague Stacey Higginbotham took that idea one step further when she wrote this headline last August “Who’s your new mobile carrier? How about Wi-Fi?”

Her argument was that Wi-Fi has become so key to connecting our mobile devices, that selecting the Wi-Fi networks available to you is far more important than what mobile carrier you choose. As an example, Republic Wireless, a mobile virtual network operator with a Wi-Fi First focus, was seeing 90 percent of its mobile traffic traverse Wi-Fi networks.

Of course, Republic is a small MVNO with a customer base committed to this kind of data offload model. If you talk to a more a traditional carrier, they’ll tell you this kind of model will never work for most people. Mobile networks use dedicated spectrum. Mobile networks are planned and managed.

Relying on Wi-Fi as your primary mobile internet connection would be inviting chaos. And they’re right. Wi-Fi is chaotic. As anyone who has ever been to big industry conference, where every exhibitor sets up their own network, knows this. The competition for the unlicensed bands’ limited capacity is fierce. Everyone has experienced connecting to a dead or overloaded hotspot and having to force your phone off the network. But anyone who has ever tried to connect to a 4G network during rush hour in downtown Chicago has experienced similar problems.

Yes, Wi-Fi can be chaos, but I would argue that it’s a beautiful chaos. Many of the most popular mobile applications we have today got their start and maintained their popularity because of Wi-Fi. If you ever streamed an HD movie to your tablet on Netflix, then you probably did it over Wi-Fi.

Wi-Fi hasn’t just been a source of tremendous capacity but also an incredible driver on innovation. Unlike cellular spectrum which is licensed and tightly controlled by the operators, the openness of the unlicensed bands allows anyone with a new idea to go for broke.

At Gigaom we write a lot about startups, and increasingly the networking startups I talk to are making Wi-Fi the centerpiece of their businesses. Open Garden is using Wi-Fi Direct and Bluetooth to build ad hoc messaging networks that bypass the internet entirely. M87 is trying to help carriers build faster and more resilient cellular networks by letting phones crowdsource their connections via Wi-Fi.

- See more at: http://www.wi-fi.org/beacon/kevin-fitchard/wi-fi-a-beautiful-chaos-part-2#sthash.QN9nXAil.dpuf

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GigaOm on recent M87 developments

"Qualcomm is a big proponent of a new mobile standard called LTE Direct, which uses LTE radios to connect two nearby devices directly rather than use the mobile network as intermediary. If Qualcomm were to combine its own LTE Direct efforts with M87’s crowdsourced connectivity technology it could create extremely dense and constantly morphing LTE networks that penetrate into the furthest recesses of buildings and other hard-to-reach areas."  Read more.

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M87 announces Series A funding

M87 Announces Series A Funding

Fundraising includes participation from 21Vianet and Qualcomm

Austin, April 15, 2014—M87, a wireless network infrastructure software company, announced today that it has completed a $3 million equity round of funding for its device based software that dramatically improves the coverage and capacity of cellular networks.  New investors in the equity round include 21Vianet (VNET) and Qualcomm Incorporated, through its venture capital arm, Qualcomm Ventures.

“We are pleased to welcome our new investors 21Vianet and Qualcomm. We are excited to have them involved in launching our breakthrough technology,” said David Hampton, CEO of M87. 

M87’s software unlocks the tremendous latent capacity in existing mobile devices by seamlessly and securely adding them to the network infrastructure – creating a carrier-grade, device-to-device network that dramatically increases coverage and capacity without sacrificing security or billing accuracy.    

“We are big believers in the way device-to-device connectivity can improve the performance of cellular networks for our customers. We look forward to deploying M87’s technology in our initial wireless service offering in Hong Kong,” said Frank Meng, President of 21Vianet, China’s leading carrier-neutral data center service provider. 

“As the demand for data and seamless voice communications continues to grow, Qualcomm is continuously looking for key technology breakthroughs to help wireless networks address the impending 1000x mobile data challenge. We are delighted to be part of this early round of funding and looking forward to seeing the M87 team  launch its exciting technology,” said Nagraj Kashyap, senior vice president of Qualcomm Ventures.

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About 21Vianet

21Vianet Group, Inc. is the largest carrier-neutral internet data center services provider in China. 21Vianet provides hosting and related services, managed network services, cloud infrastructure services, and content delivery network services, improving the reliability, security and speed of its customers’ internet infrastructure. Customers may locate their servers and networking equipment in 21Vianet’s data centers and connect to China’s internet backbone through 21Vianet’s extensive fiber optic network. In addition, 21Vianet’s proprietary smart routing technology enables customers’ data to be delivered across the internet in a faster and more reliable manner. 21Vianet operates in 44 cities throughout China, servicing a diversified and loyal base of several thousand customers that range from Fortune 500 conglomerates, government entities, blue-chip enterprises to small- and mid-sized business enterprise.

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M87 announces Cole Brodman has joined the Board of Directors

Austin, February 18, 2014 — M87, a wireless software company in Austin, announced today that it has appointed Cole Brodman, industry veteran and past CMO/CTO of T-Mobile to its Board of Directors.

M87’s Routing at the Edge (RATE™) technology pioneers software solutions that target the most critical issue in the mobile data industry – ever-increasing capacity constraints fueled by climbing mobile data usage. M87’s software improves the performance of data networks by moving routing intelligence and network selection decisions to the device, which is most aware of real-time connectivity conditions.

M87’s initial product, Client SON™, unlocks the tremendous latent capacity in existing mobile devices by adding them to the network infrastructure – creating a carrier-grade device to device network that increases both coverage and capacity without sacrificing security or billing accuracy.

“We couldn’t be more excited to have Cole Brodman on our board at M87. He’s been a leader in the telecommunications industry for almost 25 years and brings fresh insights from his tenure at one of the world’s most innovative and fast-paced carriers  T-Mobile USA,” said David Hampton, CEO of M87.

“M87’s software cost effectively addresses the capacity crunch while significantly improving customers’ coverage and data throughput speeds,” said Cole Brodman.  “The M87 team has developed what I see as a real breakthrough technology, one that can provide a significant opportunity to increase network performance and improve the customer experience, without the need to add additional infrastructure. I’m thrilled to be on the board and to help bring this exciting technology to market.”

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