Gather around children and I will tell you a story about a nice little wireless company called aeroTelesis. Let me read you from a their SEC filing which tells about aeroTelesis “an international telecommunications company which intends to provide next generation telecommunications technologies and services.”
“The Company’s core technology platform is a licensed modulation method known as Ultra Spectral Modulation (USM). USM is a technology that significantly increases spectral efficiency in wireless applications and provides for high-speed and high-capacity networks at substantially lower cost relative to existing wireless technologies. USM is designed to avoid bottlenecks by providing data transmission channels with higher quality and throughput rates than those of conventional modulation techniques.”
“The Company intends to launch its first commercial service, VoIP network services, in the second half of 2004. It plans to deploy USM technology for use in satellite communications in 2005. aeroTelesis eventually plans to deploy wireless networks for mobile voice and data services utilizing USM in the manner that GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) and CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) have been utilized to deploy the majority of wireless networks existing today.”
Now Ultra Spectral Modulation is a fascinating technology described for example in US patent 20070002973 where we read that “ The novel narrowband digital modulation technique of the present invention, hereinafter referred to as Ultra Spectral Modulation (“USM”) technique, comprises a return-to-zero modulation technique that uses abrupt phase changes to represent incoming binary symbols in a modulated signal, herein referred to as a “USM-modulated signal.” In one embodiment, the abrupt phase changes occur mid-pulse, i.e., in the middle of a bit period, after an integer number of cycles of the carrier signal.”
“ The USM technique represents all the information in the message signal with the abrupt phase shifts occurring in the USM-modulated signal. That is, all the information conveyed in the message signal may be recovered by knowing where the phase shifts occur or by preserving the positions of the phase shifts during transmission. As a result, transmission may be accomplished by transmitting only a narrow band of frequencies required for identifying the phase shifts, i.e., by transmitting only a portion of one or both sidebands in the USM-modulated signal within a narrow band of frequencies.”
“ The present invention also provides a high-Q, low-tolerance sophisticated digital filter that is able to preserve the positions of the phase shifts in a very narrow band of frequencies. Filtering the USM-modulated signal with the digital filter designed according to the principles and embodiments of the present invention and described herein below produces a filtered signal with a time response that accurately identifies where the abrupt phase shifts in the USM-modulated signal occur.”
“ Advantageously, the communications systems and methods of the present invention enable data rates exceeding 5 Mbps to be delivered through frequency channels as narrow as 50 KHz under a variety of channel conditions.”
In other words USM involves modulating an integer number of cycles, filtering the sidebands to a narrow bandwidth and using a very special filter to recover the signal at the receiver. They are able to achive a spectral efficiency of 100 bits/sec/Hz. Now isn’t this simply wonderful!
The technology was actually developed by Photron Technologies and later licensed by aeroTelesis “Photron Technologies Ltd. today announced that their ground breaking modulation technology USM, is in the final stages of implementation utilizing FPGAs (Field Programmable Gate Arrays) as the hardware platform. This final stage completes the transition from simulations to hardware functionality while confirming the successful application of a unique digital filter developed during 2005. The completion of the hardware demonstration will potentially show USM to be the first communications technology to achieve data transmission rates of 100bps/Hz. The phenomenal breakthrough rates provided by Photron’s Market Changing Technology will allow wireless data transmission rates of 5Mbs through a narrow 50Kz channel. Current wireless technologies require channel bandwidths that are 25x larger.” We also read that
“aeroTelesis Inc. and Photron Technologies Ltd. today announced they have started development on prototype hardware for Photron’s Ultra Spectral Modulation(USM)(TM) technology. The prototype hardware will be implemented in Field-Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs), with an Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) design to follow later in the year. Developed by Photron and licensed exclusively to aeroTelesis, USM redefines the next generation of wireless communications by providing wireless data transmission at rates of 100bps/Hz (bits per second). Current technologies produce rates of only 4 bps/Hz or less.”
“Successful end-to-end MATLAB(R) simulations demonstrating USM’s ability to transmit data at 5Mbps (megabits per second) through narrow channels of 50KHz has established the feasibility of the core technology. The successful simulations were the foundation for the all important milestone of completing the critical hardware architecture necessary for the prototype hardware design.”
You can read about the many accomplishments of USM in many other articles such as here and here. So what happened to this wonderful technology you ask? Sadly not much. If you look at the history of aeroTelesis you see that on 22 October 2004 they were trading at $8.03 with a market cap of approximately $800 Million, but today they are trading at a faction of a cent with a market cap of $690,000. What went wrong you ask? Well, it is getting late and it is past your bedtime, so I will tell you the rest on another day.
What is it Jimmy? You say this story reminds you of xMax? You mean the remarkable performance claims, the modulation of an integer number of cycles, the very special filter, the VoIP network, the MATLAB simulation and so on? Well, I know that TechWorld, VONMag and some others have tried to make a connection, but they are wrong, absolutely wrong. There is no similarity whatsoever. None.