LONDON Strong sales of and interest in its miniature antennas by U.S. OEMs has led Sarantel (Wellingborough, England) to form a subsidiary, Sarantel Inc. in the Seattle area. The unit is forming a U.S. team to complement its engineering and support effort in the UK.
The new company's president will be Brad Hurte, who was involved in the development of Sarantel's novel antenna technology during his time at Symmetricom, where it was originally developed and where he worked closely with the UK company's co-founder Oliver Leisten.
Sarantel's antennas, which are based on high-dielectric ceramics, have been designed into mobile handsets and other portable wireless devices such as Global Positioning System receivers, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth products.
"We expect to bring together a team of at least 10 by this time next year, about half focusing on customer support and the remainder on design and design support", Hurte told CommsDesign.com. He said much of the interest for the company's antennas is coming from designers of devices for location-based services and the U.S.-mandated E-911 emergency location service.
The subject of over 100 U.S. and international patent filings, the high-dielectric ceramic antenna technology produces a very small near-field that doesn't yield energy to the user's hand, body or head. Therefore, it does not suffer the proximity de-tuning effects common with conventional antennas.
The antennas also exhibit a very high beamwidth which can offer significant performance advantages. For example, using Sarantel's antenna means that hand-held GPS receivers can acquire more satellites and thereby offer a faster and more accurate position fix. This is particularly important when GPS functionality is incorporated into mobile handsets to conform with US emergency E-911 location reporting requirements, according to Hurte. "Our technology is great at solving the proximity detuning problem", he added.
The company said it has chosen the Seattle area since it is a center for wireless communications companies and technologies.
Sarantel was founded in September 2000 as a management buyout of Symmetricom Inc's antenna division. The company recently closed a $10 million second funding round. As well as selling its antennas to OEMs, Sarantel licenses the design and manufacturing process to volume manufacturers. It has pioneered an automated volume manufacturing process for the devices at its Wellingborough facility.