Dynamic RF Beam Steering Enabled by Flexible Vector Modular Technology™ (FlexVMT™)

The Phocus Array on a Holophane High Mast Light PoleThe 802.11 b/g Phocus Array™ System is based on Fidelity Comtech’s patented Flexible Vector Modular Technology™ (FlexVMT™), a circular phased array antenna capable of providing dynamic antenna patterns and changing them virtually instantly. FlexVMT™ provides a wireless RF coverage footprint that ranges from a standard 360-degree “super” omni-directional pattern to an extended long-reach focused 43-degree pattern, in addition to patterns ranging from 90 to 180 degrees. It can switch between patterns on a packet-by-packet basis or be statically administered.

Rather than switching between antennas the way some other systems do, the FlexVMT™ enabled Phocus Array™ simultaneously combines signals from all eight-antenna elements to form each pattern, including a “super” omni-directional beam pattern.

The RF coverage footprint can be shaped and directed to focus on particular clients or avoid interfering sources, thereby improving signal reach and quality for better throughput performance due to fewer packet retransmissions.

The Phocus Array™ System is ideal for high “multipath” environments because some of the antenna elements in the circular array are able to capture the signal even if others do not. Thus, the signal reach and fidelity is consistently maintained and often enhanced by using the power in the multipath signals.

Typically, phased arrays are linear or planar and are therefore only able to steer their beam over a limited range. Fidelity Comtech’s Flex-VMT™ uses a uniform circular phased array, so it has a full 360 degree field of view.

FlexVMT™ enables a low cost, low power, extended reach access point that delivers significant costs savings in ownership and deployment. With Fidelity Comtech’s beam-steering technology, the Phocus Array™ System can:

  • Provide both “super” omni and extended reach beam patterns to shape RF coverage to match the operational environment
  • Repoint the beam almost instantly, increasing the signal range and improving network reliability
  • Electronically adjust the beam shape along the continuum between a high gain directive pattern and an omni-directional pattern
  • Increase network security by containing the signal to a specified geographical area
  • Reduce the opportunity for eavesdropping by routing data on a packet-by-packet basis to a specified user

A few years ago, a phased array antenna access point of this caliber cost nearly one million dollars. Fidelity Comtech’s patent enables us to dramatically reduce the cost of the phased array to make it commercially available. Today, FlexVMT™-powered Phocus Array™ Systems are used in maritime harbor solutions, intermodal rail yards, auto processing facilities, educational research, strategic and tactical government security, and defense applications.