The unique shorted-slot design of the Airwire antenna has enabled Pinyon to demonstrate over 100-Mbits-per-second performance over short ranges, and as much as 35 Mbits/s at 100 meters and 10 Mbits/s all the way out to 350 meters. The best part, according to Siemens, is the low-cost Airwire components--basically just the cost of etching a shorted-slot into the backside of the printed circuit board already designed into a device (plus a few resistors, diodes and capacitors), totaling a bill-of-materials of about a 25 cents for single antennas and under $2 for phased arrays.
"Users hate antennas, and the Pinyon Airwire lets you eliminate the external antenna altogether--we just put the Airwire on the backside of our circuit board and still get incredible ranges," said Siemens' Ord. "We have been getting up to 140 meters with the same Bluetooth radio [that we got 30 meters with before]. We have also tested the Airwire antenna with Turbo Bluetooth, which switches to ultra-wide band [UWB] for high-speed data transfers, and it worked beautifully for UWB too."
Among its 12 design wins is great variety, according to Bagchi--previously the CEO of residential-gateway manufacturer ShareGate Inc. Bagchi lays claim to product roll outs using Airwire antennas in every conceivable wireless device category, including WiFi (both clients and mobile devices), WiMax (tower, base stations and clients), Bluetooth, Ultra Wide Band (UWB) and Wireless USB. Pinyon says they also have reference designs being evaluated by OEMs making radio-frequency identification (RFID) and mobile phones (3G/4G).
"At Pinyon, we plan to do no products ourselves--our business model is licensing our antenna designs to as many OEMs as possible," said Bagchi.
For OEMS with passive antennas, Pinyon's Airwire reference designs claim a 7dBi advantage over traditional antennas--5 dBi compared with -2dBi. By arraying four or more of its Airwire antennas a quarter-wavelength apart, Pinyon has also demonstrated steerable phase-array designs with 10-to-13 dBi gain.
"Our electronically steerable designs enable a microcontroller to dynamically change the directionality of the antenna to maintain the maximum signal in realtime, but without physically moving the antenna," said Bagchi.
Such real-time beam steering could enable base stations to adapt to environmental conditions, while portable devices can dynamically reorient a handheld device's antenna's directionality as the user moves about.