Friday, February 4, 2011

Antenna Products Deployed to Handle SuperBowl Data Traffic

PCTEL, Inc. (NASDAQ: PCTI), a provider of antenna and scanning receiver solutions, unveiled its new high-performance, dual-band Multiple Input and Multiple Output (MIMO) panel antenna. This antenna is optimized for cellular data offloading applications. The antenna enables high speed video and data applications on mobile devices through the use of 802.11n based WiFi networks. Offloading data reduces the traffic load on cellular networks in areas with a high concentration of data users such as stadiums, other entertainment venues and transportation hubs. PCTEL’s MIMO antenna has recently been deployed by a major carrier at the Cowboys’ Stadium in Dallas, initially used for the Cotton Bowl.

Over the last two years, there has been a significant increase in the number of smart phones and real time video and data applications. This has strained the capacity of cellular networks, resulting in blocked or dropped calls. Cellular carriers are utilizing MIMO enabled WiFi networks to “offload” cellular data traffic so that when a smart phone user enters the coverage area of a MIMO WiFi hotspot, the cellular carrier diverts data traffic over to the WiFi network, keeping voice traffic over the cellular network. This shifts the data traffic to unlicensed spectrum, reserving licensed spectrum for a better quality voice call experience. MIMO antennas for these WiFi systems have multiple radiating elements covering multiple frequencies and need to be properly designed and optimized. PCTEL’s MIMO antennas will be one element of the data coverage system for this Sunday’s championship football game.

PCTEL's new MIMO panel antenna provides six RF ports, three each, covering 2.4 GHz and 5GHz frequencies. The antenna has been designed with beam width and gain characteristics to provide optimal coverage for areas with a large number of data users without overloading access point capacity and minimizing interference to adjacent sites. The antenna comes with a flexible mounting solution and can be customized by PCTEL to blend in with the aesthetics of the environment in which it is going to be deployed.

"PCTEL has invested significant resources in the development of high performance directional and omni-directional MIMO antenna solutions to enable cellular offloading applications," said Jeff Miller, Senior Vice President Sales and Marketing for PCTEL. "We will continue to work with leading carriers and WLAN radio OEMs to develop custom antenna solutions to enable offloading in more than five hundred entertainment venues nationwide," added Miller.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Microwave Snow Removal

I was shoveling (still) more snow from my driveway this morning and found myself thinking about a blog parody concerning scientists having successfully developed a way to remove snow using microwaves. In my fictitious report, I would embed quotes from Dr. Mi Bak Aches and his colleague Dr. Pho Zen Tose on how they came up with the technology to efficiently melt an 8 inch covering of snow from a 700 square foot driveway in the time it takes to microwave a large Idaho potato. Ah, a truly wonderful fantasy as the snow banks surrounding the end of my driveway surpassed the six feet high mark.

Returning to the warmth of my office (and lap top), I decided to check the internet first, to see if anyone had preempted my early April fools story with an actual use of microwaves to fulfill this fantasy. Lo and behold (such an odd phrase), ANZAI HIROKI(Tsuruoka National Coll. Technol., JPN) and SHIRAHATA DAIKI(Tsuruoka National Coll. Technol., JPN) have already beaten Dr. Bak Aches and Pho Zen Tose in this effort. Why am I not that surprised?

From Science Links (Japan), a paper titled: “A Melting Snow Experiment for Road Heating with A Microwave Snow Melting System and Its Estimation of Electric Power”.

The scenario laid out by the authors - it is winter in Hokkaido and Tohoku region, the Sea of Japan side of Honshu, there are more snowfalls. An accident during the snow-removal work and a slip accident by icy roads occur in conjunction with this, and a problem to affect human life gets up. Therefore a melting of snow system and melting snow agent plans prevention such as icy roads, but there are various problems when they execute the work, and a cost side, environment side do not reach large use expansion. Therefore the author put an important point for melting snow of a road surface (a road, stairs, a parking lot) by this study and did the measurement and an electricity test calculation of a microwave melting of snow system and examined possibility of a microwave melting of snow system. As a result, the author understood that there was melting snow ability enough.

Has there been any progress in this area? I'm listening.