Value-added WLAN services using high-performance, Low-Cost smart antenna  for Access Gateways

 

Adant , the Low-Cost Smart Antenna system for Access Gateways  

Whole Home Coverage for Residential Access Gateways

Consumer appetite for wireless broadband access across multiple different devices in the Home environment is huge and continuously increasing.

Ultra-cheap, low-quality solutions are no longer acceptable, even if they are included with the paid monthly subscription fees, as they will generate significant  service calls and truck rolls, which ultimately means higher cost of ownership for MNO’s and MSO’s.

Additionally whole home wireless connectivity with a guaranteed minimum  data rate is becoming hard to achieve and is  even more problematic as the number of simultaneously connected devices increases and interference from neighboring networks, IoT devices and other electronics has become a critical issue.

Adant’s Smart Antenna system for Enterprise Access Points (EAP) solves these issues  by significantly increasing the wireless network’s capacity and spectral efficiency (i.e. the number of megabits per second that are exchanged over the WLAN per megahertz of bandwidth available) while at the same time strongly reducing the impact of interference from either  Wi-Fi or other interfering sources.

The way  Adant’s EAP solution does this is by using a sophisticated  machine learning  algorithm which controls and optimizes the physical wireless channel between any two wireless network nodes (e.g. the Access Point and each of its client devices). This is done by leveraging the multiple directional (i.e. spatially confined) radio beams that the Adant Smart Antenna hardware designs creates..

To date, the main limitation which has restricted the use of these superior performing EAP Smart Antenna Systems to hi-end retail and enterprise WLAN devices has been their cost and size when compared to static ultra-low-cost antenna.

Adant has addressed this limitation with the introduction of the low cost SMART antenna solution. But superior performance and interference noise immunity are not the only benefits offered by intelligent control and optimization of the wireless channel using smart antennas.

Over-the-top Software Applications enabled by Smart Antenna channel engineering.

As with mobile networks where the MNO’s infrastructure can be leveraged to offer so-called “Over-The-Top” (OTT), or value-added services, such as VoIP, Internet TV etc., Smart Antenna channel engineering enables value-added OTT apps that can be offered to WLAN customers. For example one may think of  interference mitigation and performance optimization as of two OTT Apps.

Thus in addition to providing better performance,  the many different multi-path environments that the smart antenna hardware can generate    can be used  to offer many new and unique functionalities to WLAN users.

For example, Adant’s software team, working with top US Universities, has engineered and tested OTT Apps for Wireless Intruder Detection Systems (WIDS) as well as an APP that generates an unbreakable data encryption key (Cyber-security OTT APP). The way in which these OTT apps work is described in Figure 1 .

Figure 1: Multi-path sensitization based cyber-security

Figure 1 Multi-path sensitization based cyber-security

The smart antenna system continuously scans all radios in the WLAN coverage area and monitors their unique multi-path signature by moving the radiation patterns; in the  WIDS APP suspicious unexpected changes of the multi-path patterns are detected and flagged to the WLAN security management system as a potential intruder system. In another application, the Encryption Key APP, the unicity and reciprocity features of the multi-path signature between AP and Clients are used to create an unbreakable physical encryption key that never needs to be exchanged or transmitted.

These are only some examples as other OTT services  are being developed for accurate (sub-meter) client location, motion detection for home security and more, all which can be offered to end customers for a monthly fee.

ADANT low-cost solution for Access Gateways

Smart Antenna systems offer top performance, interference mitigation and OTT Apps and services, but as mentioned earlier, their HW BoM cost precludes their use in hi-volume markets such as retail WLAN, Access Gateway and Set-top-box applications which otherwise should be very attractive targets. for OTT software services.

In order to open up these very attractive market opportunities, ultra-low-cost BoM, a small form factor and simple hardware integration  would be required.

Adant antennas for gateway systems have been  designed to fulfill these requirements as Adant has designed  simple, easy to integrate smart antenna hardware that can be manufactured and sold at a cost that is very close to that of printed antennas (<50c with cables).

Yet the performance improvement in terms of interference, as well as capacity and throughput, are significant as shown in the following table:

 

Here “Elevation (multi floor)” refers to a test where the access gateway and the clients connected to it are placed in two apartments, one on top of the other on  different floors; whereas “Azimuth (same floor)” refers to the case where the access gateway and clients are placed on the same floor.

Conclusions.

Until now, Smart antennas systems have been very powerful solutions that  significantly enhance the wireless performance of WLAN networks, but with  some additional cost in the BoM  and PCB real estate. Up to  now, a  complete HW/SW smart antenna solution with some meaningful performance benefit did not exist at a cost   point that would allow its adoption into residential Access Gateways and STB’s. Today, Adant’s system is the first and only commercially available smart antenna solution that brings  the required level of price/performance along  with a set of valuable OTT Apps and value added premium services that can be offered to residential as well as business WLAN customers..

If you are interested in learning more about the    products, you can download the datasheet here.

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