EMClarity’s sister company, EM Solutions has a history of developing mobile satellite communications terminals deploying electronically stabilised antenna platforms. Typically, the satellite bands employed in these products are lower than the higher frequency mm Wave bands of interest in high data throughput financial trading networks.
Both companies have a working relationship with the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). The CSIRO Wireless Group (the same group that held the first patents on Wi-Fi) through various research publications had demonstrated breakthrough performance in range and data rates in mm Wave frequencies which had previously been seen as too difficult to utilise.
In 2014 CSIRO was approached by an operator of private, ultra-low latency networks used in financial trading applications seeking a new product with higher data throughput operating at E-band frequencies (80 GHz).
Together the three parties (CSIRO, EMClarity and EM Solutions) developed a new product that delivered 5Gbps throughput with ultra-low latency (significantly less than one micro second equipment latency). Key developments included low latency, high performance error correction and ultra-fast tracking of signal distortions, and the engineering of high performance RF modules in the 80 GHz band.
According to the Shannon Hartley Theorem in Information Theory, maximum data throughput is fundamentally dependent on channel bandwidth and signal to noise ratio (SNR). The novel design utilised a relatively wide channel bandwidth (2.1GHz) and a relatively low order constellation modulation (16QAM) to maximise the SNR. The wide channel bandwidth introduces interesting challenges for the design of adequate linearity in the power amplifier which took significant effort to overcome.
To further maintain a high SNR, the electronically stabilised antenna tracking system, patented by EM Solutions, was fitted with the radio modems. This used a beacon signal transmitted at K-band from one radio as the direction-finding signal for the other, which used “monopulse” technology to derive a pointing vector from the beacon and steer its motorized gimbal and antenna towards boresight.
Even though the equipment was deployed in fixed installations, wind force and thermal expansion and contraction can be sufficient to degrade the SNR. Use of the motorized gimbal ensured that tracking is robust and accurate irrespective of any platform movement, maintaining a strong SNR in this highly directional application. The collective result of all this development innovation met the throughput and latency requirements and delivered better than expected availability metrics.