For a few years now, the car companies have been marketing cars that could connect to the internet. The problem was never connecting the cars, but rather keeping them connected. With less than 10 percent of the earth covered by 4G/LTE, this wireless spectrum has always been expensive.
Two major issues in coverage and capacity
There are two major the issues in the mobile communications industry: coverage and capacity. Building out the infrastructure from the ground up would take billions of dollars and decades to implement. Moreover, there is a huge number of new smartphones coming onto the networks daily. There is no way an appropriate buildout would be sustainable. The narrow slice of the spectrum dedicated to terrestrial mobility would be overrun.
More spectrum available by satellite
The good news is that there is still more than 1,000 times more spectrum available by satellite with a global footprint. Right now, the problem is that most of this spectrum is used for fixed services because the current antenna technology cannot access this bandwidth.
Problem solved with technology from Kymeta
Enter Kymeta. By replacing the current parabolic dish technology with a flat antenna that can be steered electronically and track a moving satellite, Kymeta is solving this problem. The cool thing is that these special flat mTenna products work well from mobile platforms.
By arranging man-made materials in such a way that they produce an electromagnetic response not found in nature, Kymeta creates electromagnetic metamaterials. The mTenna suite of products have tunable elements, organized in a precisely calculated pattern.
Radio frequency (RF) energy is scattered when those elements are activated, holographically generating a beam. The specific elements that are electronically activated define the direction of the beam — a design that allows for both continuous and instantaneous changes in direction. The electromagnetic metamaterial technology uses a holographic approach to electronically acquire, steer and lock a beam to any satellite — with no moving parts.
This technological innovation results in an antenna that creates vast opportunities for the satellite industry to expand and evolve the marketplace.
A new space race
As a new space race emerges and more companies begin to launch low-earth orbit (LEO) and medium-earth orbit (MEO) sets of satellites, Kymeta’s technology is uniquely positioned to capitalize on the spectrum and coverage the satellite companies will provide. The satellite company Intelsat is leading the way with its Intelsat EpicNG SM. The new system offers up to 2.5 times above the efficiency of wide-beam capacity and current platforms. Look for the car manufacturers to jump onboard very quickly.
Special thanks to Terry Bleakley, regional vice president, Asia Pacific, Intelsat, for bringing this development to our attention.