New tech passes test

A communications company with deep roots and strong connections at Waterloo Engineering has made a major breakthrough in the development of new antenna technology for Internet connectivity.

C-COM Satellite Systems announced this week that it successfully tested an antenna system that can be electronically steered to maintain links with overhead satellites.

Known as a phased-array antenna, the low-cost, modular technology was used to stream video, surf the Internet, perform speed tests and conduct an uninterrupted video conference over Webex.

C-COM, which is based in Ottawa, was co-founded by Leslie Klein, a Waterloo Engineering alumnus who serves as president and CEO.

Multi-million-dollar research project

The new technology was developed as part of a multi-year, multi-million-dollar research collaboration with a team led by Safieddin (Ali) Safavi-Naeini, director of the Centre for Intelligent Antenna and Radio Systems (CIARS) at Waterloo.

“Measured over-the-air results have demonstrated the high performance of the compact, scalable antenna modules and validated our simulation model of the architecture for larger panels,” Safavi-Naeini, a professor of electrical and computer engineering, said in a media release.

“This modular, intelligent technology platform provides a cost-effective solution for a wide range of applications – from fixed to mobility satellite broadband services, and for the rapidly emerging millimeter-wave 5G cellular services.”

Safavi-Naeini has been working on intelligent antenna systems for Internet connectivity for almost two decades, motivated by their potential to deliver broadband service via satellite to moving vehicles and vast areas of the world that lack expensive ground infrastructure.

‘Closer to achieving our objective’

C-COM described the successful tests as a “significant development” that give the company confidence to move towards the development of a commercial product based on the new technology.

“Today, we are much closer to achieving our objective of delivering an affordable, electronically steerable antenna system capable of operating over the latest constellations of LEO, MEO and GEO satellites, which will play a significant role in delivering broadband solutions to consumer and enterprise markets worldwide,” Klein said in the release.

C-COM is a pioneer and leading designer, developer and manufacturer of transportable and mobile satellite-based antenna systems for commercial markets. It has sold more than 8,500 systems in over 100 countries.

Photo: Safieddin (Ali) Safavi-Naeini (left) with colleagues Aidin Taeb (centre) and Reza Zeinolabedin Rafi at CIARS.

/Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here.