Spring 2007

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					Spring 2007

How Ultra Narrow Band technology can help you become ‘greener’!
Gas, water and electricity meters currently require a person to physically visit the consumer’s address to read the meter and so determine the units used. However, recent technology advances will drive a change in consumer behaviour, forcing down peak energy demands, resulting in great benefits to the supplier and the environment.
Plextek is offering utility metering companies and operators a novel adaptive Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) solution to remotely monitor and communicate with consumers’ meters. The innovative Ultra Narrow Band (UNB) radio technology enables suppliers and consumers alike to become ‘greener’ in their use of water, gas and electricity. The benefit to the supplier of AMR is in reducing personnel time spent on physically reading the meters and increasing the accuracy for billing purposes. This does away with the need for estimated or projected readings on all customer bills, which is obviously also beneficial for the customer. The consumer will benefit from the technology’s ability to both send and receive information. Innovative services such as real time pricing can be communicated easily to the homeowner, giving more consumer control and enabling specific usage management. Future appliances will be able to respond automatically to the information sent to the meter, modifying their usage depending upon the loading of the utility distribution network. How does it work? A UNB receiver is about 40 times more sensitive than a GSM module and can therefore achieve ranges of up to 6 km with a low power radio and integrated antenna. The UNB system can be operated in licence free bands, so each meter reading message can be sent without cost. Each base station can service up to 10,000 outstations. The technology is very low power, enabling an outstation to work for many years on only battery power.

Plextek’s UNB technology may be integrated with any metering system or used for any low data rate telemetry application.

n For more information on this technology
and how we could help to develop a ‘greener’ system for you, please email unb@plextek.co.uk

L-3 TRL purchases Blighter for Portable Radar Surveillance System
L-3 Communications TRL Technology (“L-3 TRL”) has purchased a Blighter radar for integration into their Portable Radar and Optical Surveillance System (PROSS) for evaluation, trial and demonstration purposes. L-3 TRL, part of the leading US defence supplier group L-3 Communications, is the name behind some of the most advanced radio and satellite communications systems, providing sophisticated intelligence gathering and counter-measures tools in the global battle to counter terrorism and insurgency. The Blighter 200 series was developed following extensive market research that identified the need for a low-cost, covert, movement detection system that could be networked with other sensors including cameras and asset management systems. It is the only product of its kind in its price range in the marketplace, offering an affordable solution to high performance security systems that have traditionally relied on cameras and thermal imagers. Blighter detects moving targets at ranges between 20m and 8km without physically having to rotate. Consisting of a single unit containing the integrated electronics and e-scan antennas, the entire radar with in-built GPS and compass can be carried and set up

by one person. L-3 TRL’s system integrates 360° radar detection with day-or-night optical surveillance, and a mapping interface. The system is deployed in less than 15 minutes, representing one of the fastest means of providing advanced perimeter security for military or civilian personnel operating under threat.

n For more information please email

Plextek Limited London Road Great Chesterford Essex CB10 1NY UK T: +44 (0) 1799 533200 F: +44 (0) 1799 533201 E: newsletter@plextek.co.uk W: www.plextek.com If you would like to add a colleague to our mailing list or view past editions of the newsletter visit: www.plextek.com/newsletter

3GSM Barcelona 2007

‘The future of wireless includes fibre’ concludes Plextek’s Ofcom-funded study
A Plextek-led consortium has completed a 6-month research study on behalf of the communication industry’s regulator, Ofcom, to investigate the use of wireless technology as an alternative to the provision of last mile communications to the home, as part of Ofcom’s Wireless Last Mile Investigation. The regulator asked Plextek to consider whether there is a way forward to offer ubiquitous broadband wireless access economically, given that the business case for previous solutions has been marginal. The study found that wireless cannot realistically compete with fibre for the provision of future broadband requirements over the last mile. Having ruled out ADSL, the study suggests that upcoming wireless standards show a bias towards small screen mobile content delivery and are not attempting to address the challenge of Broadband 2.0 requirements. It investigates three fresh approaches to the physical technology - mesh and multihopping systems, UHF/TV band working and hybrid schemes with fibre or Gb/s ‘wireless fibre’. It also considers fresh approaches for licensing including the licence mix, creating a nationally tetherless last mile and ubiquitous access, based on peering approaches. Plextek concludes that the Broadband 2.0 solution must be based on fibre which must in future reach further into the access network, and potentially all the way to the customer premises. Fibre can solve the contention issues by increasing back haul capacity and can solve the last mile issue by acting as a point to point solution alone, or as a feeder to DSL distribution technologies, thus effectively reducing the length of DSL lines required. The study further concludes that wireless has application as a last mile feeder element, using Gb/s wireless as a fibre replacement and within the home, such as 802.11n. As national coverage of fibre may be below 100%, this also leaves some scope for wireless based broadband systems on today’s ADSL specification, most likely in rural areas. Fixed access, i.e. the local loop, was the focus for the report; mobile access was specifically excluded from the scope.

So, how was 3GSM for Plextek? Well, as always, 3GSM is a big overwhelming show, but here is our personal viewpoint on the communications industry trends for 2007. One obvious trend is that the cellular handset has become a commodity product, shipping in massive volumes. A second trend is the vibrant market for new forms of wireless communication. Here at Plextek we are working with many partners to develop new and innovative products that will allow our customers to find their unique place to enter the communications market. The following are just a few of these partners: Wavecom for wireless processors, CSR for Bluetooth, SiRF for GPS positioning and Silicon Labs for FM tuners and micro-controllers.

n For more information, please email

n For more information, please email

Plextek completes the design of a leading Bluetooth headset
Plextek has recently completed the design of a Bluetooth headset for a leading manufacturer. The new headset supports hands-free capability, advanced stereo (A2DP) profiles and implements an innovative digital noise reduction technique to enhance the user experience in noisy environments such as trains and cars. Plextek has provided the electronics design for the product, working in partnership with the client and other design partners. For more information, please email bluetooth@plextek.co.uk


Events 2007
JUNE 2007 IEEE MTT-S International Microwave Symposium 2007 Stand 1504, Hawaii Convention Centre, Honolulu 5th – 7th June 2007 www.ims2007.org Technology World 2007 Stand 10, Hinxton Hall, Cambridge, UK 7th June 2007 www.technologyworld07.com

International Paris Air Show 2007 Hall 3, Stand B1, Le Bourget, Paris, France 18th – 24th June 2007 www.paris-air-show.com/en EEEfCOM UK 2007 Stand F2, The Royal Air Force Museum, London, UK 27th – 28th June 2007 www.gerotron.com/html_eng/messen/ eeefcom_uk.htm

n For further information, please contact exhibitions@plextek.co.uk n or visit: www.plextek.com/seeusat
Plextek Limited London Road Great Chesterford Essex CB10 1NY UK T: +44 (0) 1799 533200 F: +44 (0) 1799 533201 E: newsletter@plextek.co.uk W: www.plextek.com If you would like to add a colleague to our mailing list or view past editions of the newsletter visit: www.plextek.com/newsletter

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