SBIR Phase I: Adaptive Filter Bank Modulation for Ubiquitous Landline-Based Broadband Access
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project targets significantly increased throughputs and distances for broadband access over landline infrastructure in both urban and suburban/rural environments. For many underserved areas, it will offer the only low-cost broadband access alternative to costly, inefficient satellite coverage. In the physical-layer communication system being developed, conventional Fourier Transform (FT) based Discrete-Multi-Tone (DMT) techniques are replaced with the more spectrally efficient Wavelet-based Adaptive Filter Bank Modulation (AFBM) patented technology. A key aspect of this innovation is in the adaptive nature of its modulation method, optimizing use of available channel capacity. The project will comprise both in-depth theoretical analysis, at the algorithmic level, as well as implementation challenges, where innovation at the architectural level is expected to minimize system cost and power consumption. The theoretical research will target spectrum utilization maximization in the constrained copper-wire channels, which is enabled by the adaptive features of the technology combined with a novel approach to the wavelet-basis selection and its use in the modulation. Based on preliminary analysis and experimentation, it is anticipated that this project will result in the doubling of areal coverage, or doubling of throughput at fixed distances, compared to competing copper-wire solutions.
The broader impact/commercial potential of this project will be to enable broadband service to the approximately 20 million households in the US, primarily rural, which cannot receive broadband service over existing infrastructure, other than expensive, inefficient satellite service. With this system solution, a large majority of those households could be provided with AFBM-enabled broadband access. Furthermore, AFBM will enable telco providers to better compete in areas where cable exists. Deployment will be via a business model that is to be a fabless semiconductor supplier to multiple telco equipment manufacturers, who have conveyed their pressing need for the throughput and range performance enhancements offered by this technology. Service providers indicate strong demand for high-data-rate "triple-play" service as an improvement over VDSL2, and also for T1 replacement in the cellular backhaul infrastructure, in addition to the need for rural long-reach solutions. Societal benefits include providing broadband service to previously-unreachable homes. In addition, AFBM, protected by several patents, can serve as a platform technology in wireless, coax, and power-line applications. Collaborative research with local universities will serve to steer academic research in this field towards the actual needs and interests expressed by service providers, thus advancing the related fields in communication theory.
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