Digital Beam-Forming Arrays
Current-Generation Digital Beam-Forming Arrays
CDSI’s Digital Beam-forming Module (DBM) is a small, multi-beam phased-array antenna “tile” measuring about 1 square foot and weighing about 6 pounds. A single DBM can be operated as a stand-alone antenna sensor, or a collection of DBMs can form larger antennas. All DBMs within an array communicate through a mesh network and can aggregate themselves into a flexible, multi-beam system of almost arbitrary aperture size.
DBMs can be installed on a planar surface, but they can also form a conformal array because DBMs are adaptively self-organizing. The small size of each DBM provides extreme flexibility for the system designer, allowing the volumetric gain profile to be shaped by multiple DBMs as part of the performance/cost trade-space. Version-2 DBMS are currently available in either S-band or L-band TM. Version-4 DBMs, currently in prototype phase, will have the capacity to work in either L+S-Band or C-Band configurations with significantly-increased performance.
A planar collection of DBMs can behave as a coherent antenna aperture whose boresight compares favorably with a 70%-efficient dish antenna of the same area. Incoming RF energy is filtered, digitized, digitally beamformed, then intelligently processed throughout the array via a multi-Gigabit mesh network. The aggregated beamformed signals are then sent to a host controller to provide individual outputs that can either be delivered in digital form or as an analog signal at IF or RF.
Our beam-forming algorithms provide many benefits such as significant mitigation of multi-path conditions and a robust digital mesh architecture that is fault-tolerant for increased reliability.
Our systems can be operated remotely, and can be configured as a small portable unit or ground station which can provide multi-beam, hemispherical coverage. This capability allows our systems to be deployed in situations previously considered impossible, e.g., as a mobile antenna system in difficult terrain, requiring minimal equipment and personnel support. Version-4 DBMs can simultaneously track up to 32 independent sources with an aggregate bandwidth of several hundred MHz. This allows a single system to operate as a large “farm” of traditional tracking systems, providing significant performance/cost benefits. CDSI is developing a ground station providing hemispherical coverage to track many more satellites than the existing six-dish system it is scheduled to replace.
NEXT-GENERATION DIGITAL BEAMFORMING ARRAY
- We continue to develop Universal Beam-Forming Technology (UBT) through our IR&D efforts, particularly in the following areas:
- Increased data rate
- Increased number of simultaneous beams
- Reduced SWAP
- Extended capability to include Tx for communications and radar applications