Partnership pitches wireless

ArrayComm Inc., a provider of smart antenna technology, and the IIT Research Institute announced an agreement June 10 to offer wireless data solutions to the public and private sectors — including one proposal supporting the Army's Future Combat Systems.

IITRI, a nonprofit contract organization with expertise in such areas as wireless communication, information technology, defense operations support and spectrum management, will use ArrayComm technology to offer wireless communication solutions that range from improving commercial services to enhancing soldiers' field communications.

The solutions will use ArrayComm's IntelliCell adaptive antenna technology and i-Burst mobile broadband wireless Internet access system.

I-Burst offers a wireless IP connection to various devices and delivers data rates of 1 megabit/sec per user to hundreds of users in a "cell," or group of users. The i-Burst network also incorporates IntelliCell, a "personal cell" approach of transmitting voice and data signals that establishes an individual cell for each user for the duration of a transmission.

According to the company, traditional wireless systems broadcast energy in all directions, but IntelliCell technology sends energy directly to each user while avoiding interfering with others.

The personal cell approach therefore reduces interference, enables wider coverage, improves capacity, reduces transmission power and costs, and creates clearer signals, said Nitin Shah, chief strategy officer for ArrayComm.

Rick Meidenbauer, group senior vice president at IITRI, said the partners have submitted a proposal outlining a new approach to high-bandwidth mobile data in a combat environment in support of the Army's Future Combat Systems. The Army's vision for FCS is to create an integrated battlespace, where networked information and communications systems provide a competitive edge to soldiers in the field and commanders in the control room.

Boeing Co.'s Space and Communications group and Science Applications International Corp. are the FCS lead systems integrator team and recently sought proposals for technologies that could increase performance in the system. IITRI and ArrayComm responded with the I-Burst system as a way to provide "high-bandwidth, spectrally efficient" communications on the battlefield, Meidenbauer said.

ArrayComm, based in San Jose, Calif., and IITRI have already developed a target list of about 12 potential government customers and are working to develop those and find more, Meidenbauer said, adding that homeland security initiatives are a natural fit.

ArrayComm's Shah added that initial government feedback has been positive because agencies have been impressed with the commercial applications. When they realize that high-bandwidth communications through multiple devices and channels are also possible for them, instead of traditional radio and voice vehicles, it helps "stimulate those ideas," he said.

Chicago-based IITRI has numerous commercial and public-sector partnerships, and it also is the prime engineering support contractor for the Defense Department Joint Spectrum Center.

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