Interview with Isotropic Systems CEO John Finney on Breakthrough Satellite Technology

Isotropic Systems is developing breakthrough satellite and satellite receiving technology. They recently received $14.4 million dollars in series A funding in a round led by Boeing HorizonX Ventures. Isotropic Systems now has received a total of $25.4 million in funding.

An isotropic antenna is a hypothetical antenna radiating the same intensity of radio waves in all directions.

Isotropic Systems has almost no signal loss.

Nextbigfuture interviewed Isotropic Systems CEO John Finney.

They are using a transformational optical beamforming technology to control the direction of radio waves, Isotropic Systems has developed communication terminal solutions that are significantly more cost-effective, use significantly less power and yet achieve superior performance benefits for the end users.

Isotropic System Benefits of Up to 95% Fewer Circuits and 90% Less Power

Their optical beamformer modules reduce the required circuitry of conventional phased array and flat panels by 70-95%. This reduces the costs.

The systems use 90% lower power.

They have multi-beam support without increasing either cost or design complexity. They will be able to scale up to 30-50 beams in the near future.

Isotropic can leverage the circuitry reduction to provide Ka Band systems that are still in the same Ku Band form factor. Ka Band requires 4X more circuitry. Ka Band has more bandwidth, but most satellites use Ku Band.

They integrate modem and waveform technologies into their multi-beam terminal. This is an entirely unique capability. In concert with multi-beam and their distributed HPA, service providers will be able to ship pre-configured, fully-integrated terminals for true out-of-the-box customer experience.

The antennas are built with multishot injection moulding.

Isotropic has many clients now and they are delivering superior products to enhance existing applications now.

There are Many Opportunities for This Technology

Isotropic Systems technology could scale to enable $300-400 receiving terminals. Currently, Chinese satellite base stations cost about $30,000 and phased array tends to be about $50,000. In theory, phased array technology should be able to scale to lower prices. However, there has not been the volume needed to enable scaling to lower prices.

Isotropic could scale to the $300-400 price range with volumes as low as 10,000 to 100,000 per year.

If lower cost receiving stations can be created, this could be part of creating a solution for connecting the last billion people on Earth. A village could get a $300-400 receiving station and it could be possible to provide affordable internet and phone service for village.

Truly low cost receiving stations would also enable satellite internet providers to compete with cable, fiber and DSL providers.

Military Applications

The multiple frequency capability means that systems based upon this technology could be less vulnerable to jamming. A system could switch between more frequencies.

Current phased array communication and radar are described as conforming. Conforming meaning they match the shape of the vehicle. However, phased array must stay flat. They are conforming to a flat section of a vehicle. Isotropic System is made of smaller tiles. This enables conforming by altering the layout of tiles. This will be highly useful for anti-stealth radar and other applications.

Compact Systems for Satellites

Medium and high gain antennas on satellites are not practical because of their large size and power needs. Isotropic Systems can radically transform satellite capabilities with the 95% reduction in circuitry and the 90% lower power usage.

Isotropic Systems is working with SES and the mPower satellite network. This fulluy funded satellite network will increase satellite capacity by four times.