Faculty members at the College of Engineering and Computing at Florida International University (FIU) are at the forefront of developing technology that aims to connect smartphones directly to satellites. This breakthrough technology would enable high-speed internet access without the need for cell towers and communication bases. The research project is funded by Digital Locations, a satellite communications company.
The technology being developed has the potential to benefit various groups of people. For residents in rural areas, it would provide consistent high-speed internet access. Passengers on cruise ships would be able to make video calls from the open ocean using their smartphones. In the aftermath of a hurricane, the technology could help sustain high-speed communications for residents in a city that has experienced damage to its cell towers.
Creating direct satellite to smartphone connections using existing devices and current satellite constellations has been a challenge in the industry. However, FIU aims to overcome this challenge by applying its expertise in areas such as circuitry, antenna design, and frequency choices.
Elias Alwan, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at FIU, and the principal investigator for the grant, emphasizes the disruptive nature of this technology. Currently, smartphones do not have the capacity for strong wireless links with satellites. However, Alwan and his team have outlined an idea that could change this and provide a solution to the problem.
Co-principal investigator Arjuna Madanayake, also an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, highlights the significance of the radio spectrum and the potential impact of the technology being developed. The goal is to create technology that offers massive capacity and access on a global scale.
FIU is well-equipped for this research with one of the most advanced labs in the United States for the study of radio frequency systems. Alwan expresses optimism about their plan and the opportunity to make a valuable contribution to the telecommunications industry.
Overall, the research and development efforts led by FIU’s College of Engineering and Computing in the field of satellite communication technology offer exciting prospects for the future of wireless connectivity.