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Google acquires company co-founded by former Bristol student

Press release issued: 1 July 2014

A wireless communications company that was co-founded by a former Bristol student has been bought by Google to boost its 5G activities.

Alpental Technologies, based in Seattle USA, was founded by Pete Gelbman and Mike Hart.  Mike Hart graduated from Bristol with a BSc (Hons) in Physics in 1998, completed an MSc in Communication Systems and Signal Processing in 1999 and obtained his PhD in wireless communications from the Communication Systems and Networks (CSN) Research Group in 2005.

Alpental have developed a small-cell solution for very high speed wireless data access using millimetre wave (60GHz) technology. This technology is expected to be a core component of next generation (5G) wireless access and backhaul networks.

After completing his PhD, Mike joined Fujitsu Labs (UK) working on advanced wireless technology, including collaborative research with the University*. He then moved to UK Broadband before travelling to the US to join Clearwire. He co-founded Alpental Technologies in November 2012 to develop radio technology in the millimetre wave bands.

Andrew Nix, Professor of Wireless Communication Systems and Head of the CSN Group, said: “Mike Hart, like many of our former PhD students, has gone on to do great things on the international stage. Our students combine technical insight with inspiring innovation and entrepreneurship.”

Mark Beach, Professor of Radio Systems Engineering in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, added: “Google’s push in 5G closely aligns with our own activities at Bristol, as demonstrated recently at the Brooklyn 5G Summit  in April and the Small Cells World Summit in June.  UK research is set to form a major component of 5G and beyond wireless technology.”

Further information

*Paper: Eigen-Coherence and Link Performance of Closed-Loop 4G Wireless in Measured Outdoor MIMO Channels, M. Webb, M. Hunukumbure &  M. A. Beach, IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation, Vol.60, No.2, pp674-681, Feb 2012.

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