Dassault Systemes > Case Studies > ALCAN Systems: Revolutionizing Cellular and Satellite Communication with IoT

ALCAN Systems: Revolutionizing Cellular and Satellite Communication with IoT

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 ALCAN Systems: Revolutionizing Cellular and Satellite Communication with IoT - IoT ONE Case Study
Technology Category
  • Networks & Connectivity - 5G
  • Networks & Connectivity - Cellular
Applicable Industries
  • Equipment & Machinery
  • Telecommunications
Applicable Functions
  • Human Resources
  • Product Research & Development
Use Cases
  • Transportation Simulation
  • Virtual Prototyping & Product Testing
Services
  • System Integration
The Challenge
ALCAN Systems, a start-up founded in 2016, aimed to create a low-cost smart antenna system for cellular and satellite communication. The company was developing liquid-crystal-based phased-array antennas that allow high-performance electronic beam-steering in a compact, lightweight package. However, the development of these innovative antennas posed significant challenges. Traditional mobile technology used omnidirectional antennas that provided coverage from as many directions as possible. This approach was not suitable for the future of satellite broadband and millimeter-wave 5G. For these technologies to work effectively, the end-user needed a constant line of sight to the satellite, which required a very high directivity and gain to maintain contact without excessive power use. The same was true for 5G, especially at very high frequencies where loss from waves passing through the air and other materials was much higher. ALCAN Systems needed a solution that could overcome these challenges and deliver reliable high-speed data links in challenging environments.
The Customer
About The Customer
ALCAN Systems is a start-up company founded in 2016 with a mission to create a low-cost smart antenna system for cellular and satellite communication. The company develops innovative 5G-ready antennas using liquid-crystal-based phased-array technology. These antennas allow high-performance electronic beam-steering in a compact, lightweight package, enabling ground-based terminals to follow satellites across the sky or a 5G device to stay in contact with the base station. ALCAN Systems is at the forefront of revolutionizing fields from communication and entertainment to industry, logistics, and healthcare by allowing high-speed data just about anywhere.
The Solution
To address these challenges, ALCAN Systems turned to Dassault Systèmes SIMULIA and their electromagnetic simulation tool, SIMULIA CST Studio Suite. This tool allowed ALCAN Systems to manage the complexity of developing effective antenna arrays and run extensive simulations. The phased-array antennas developed by ALCAN Systems were much more complex than older antennas, and the CST Studio Suite provided the necessary solvers at both the component and system levels. The results from the CST Studio Suite were accurate and gave ALCAN Systems engineers trustworthy insight they could rely on. Using simulation, ALCAN Systems developed a phased-array antenna product based on LCD technology. The simulation helped them meet challenges during the design process and identify the root cause of problems that emerged. The company was able to develop an innovative new approach using phased-array antennas, using LCD technology to precisely control the time delay and phase shift between the elements.
Operational Impact
  • The use of SIMULIA CST Studio Suite for electromagnetic simulation of antenna arrays resulted in the development of a compact, lightweight, and innovative new antenna system. The simulation tool provided accurate results that gave ALCAN Systems engineers trustworthy insight they could rely on, eliminating the need for second-guessing. The simulation also helped the engineers meet challenges during the design process and identify the root cause of problems that emerged. This resulted in a more efficient design process and a high-quality end product. As a start-up with limited resources, the ability to focus on one product and get it out to the market was crucial for ALCAN Systems. The company now has roadmaps for addressing different use cases, thanks to the successful development of their innovative antenna system.
Quantitative Benefit
  • The new antenna system is expected to cost under $1,000, significantly cheaper than traditional phased arrays which could cost tens of thousands of dollars.
  • The power consumption of the new antenna system is estimated to be around 20-30 watts, much lower than traditional phased arrays which could consume hundreds of watts, if not kilowatts.

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