NXT Communications Corporation (NXTCOMM) has completed their initial designs of the company’s new, electronically steered, flat panel antenna to serve key mobility markets.
NXTCOMM collaborated with Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) to explore antenna and RF system design options featuring their patented fragmented aperture technology.
“Our high-performance modular phased array design has no moving parts – meeting the current and emerging satellite connectivity demands and key to delivering cost-effective worldwide connectivity,” said David Horton, NXTCOMM’s CEO. “Our antenna, including the core subarray design, represents a real breakthrough opportunity for NXTCOMM to bring proven, low-cost, high-performance flat panel satellite antennas to the commercial aviation marketplace.”
NXTCOMM’s antennas will support the high-volume commercial mobility markets across the full Ku-band 2.5 GHz wideband frequency range. NXTCOMM’s modular design approach allows for scalable, lighter weight with significantly better gain, thermal efficiency and reduced power consumption. Over-the-air testing for the Ku-band antenna begins in the fourth quarter with commercial delivery in the first half of 2021.
NXTCOMM’s design features improved RF performance while reducing the power consumption of the array – a typical hurdle for many phased array solutions. The design leverages an advanced silicon-based chipset and a novel combining network that allows the antenna to be manufactured on a single PCB. The design is inherently wideband, supporting well over 2.5 GHz of dynamic bandwidth instantaneously, a key GTRI’s advanced planar antenna technology enables unique performance capabilities in a compact form factor. The core technology is applicable to virtually any frequency band, and the roadmap includes both Ku- and Ka-band versions. What distinguishes the NXTCOMM design is that it delivers enhanced performance at lower complexity than existing solutions.
NXTCOMM has also appointed industry veteran Carl Novello as CTO to oversee the antenna product engineering, design and development. Novello has led product and solutions development for Intellian Technologies, Harris Corp., Kymeta Corp. and Panasonic’s Maritime group. “Our antennas use fewer costly components, are modular in form factor, and take advantage of cost, weight and size reductions inherent in silicon-based chipsets. This translates to dramatic increases in price performance, resulting in high-performing connectivity solutions for any global connectivity market application,” he said.
Carl leads NXTCOMM’s product development efforts to bring transformational flat panel antenna solutions to mobility markets and brings two decades of advanced satellite communications, system and RF antenna design and test expertise to his role. He oversees product engineering, design and development for NXTCOMM’s line of advanced electronically steered antennas that will deliver unprecedented broadband connectivity to mobile platforms.
Novello also manages NXTCOMM’s work with Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI). NXTCOMM is bringing electronically steered antenna technology to the commercial marketplace, with technology that will offer new levels of affordability, RF efficiency and performance.
“We are lucky to have someone of Carl’s vision and technical capabilities to lead our product design efforts,” said David Horton, Co-Founder and CEO of NXTCOMM. “Carl is a CTO with deep subject-matter expert knowledge across engineering, technology, applications, operational and business disciplines. He what connectivity end users want. He’s been a customer of satellite capacity and managed satellite services as well as a vendor to all those customers.”
Prior to joining NXTCOMM, Novello served as VP of Solutions for Kymeta Corp., where he led design of the company’s flat panel ESA antennas for the mobile marketplace. Prior to Kymeta, he served as Vice President of Product and Product Management, Intellian Technologies, where he led development of Intellian’s tri-band, multi-orbit maritime VSAT antenna system that won Satellite Technology of the Year Award that was presented during Satellite 2019. He also served in key technology roles at Panasonic’s Maritime Group and Harris Corporation. Novello began his satellite career at Comsat Corp. in 1999 as it was acquired by Lockheed Martin and the satellite industry began to privatize.
With a career-long understanding for engineering systems that are user focused, Novello calls the NXTCOMM appointment a dream come true. “NXTCOMM will help me realize what I’ve wanted to do for 20 odd years, which is bring connectivity to the masses. The solution starts with understanding what problem you need to solve for the customer. If you understand the user, you win the market.”