EM Solutions strives to maintain its position as a world-leading company recognised for offering technologically superior microwave modules and systems for next generation broadband communications. Innovation is our DNA. Our engineering team possesses a wealth of understanding and experience in the complex manipulation of electromagnetic energy (radio waves). For more than 25 years, we have developed products at frequencies from L-band (1GHz) to Ku-band (18GHz). These products are mature, proven, and reliable.
Now, with the push for broadband communications and launch of new satellites, Ka-band (27.5 to 31 GHz) products are increasingly in demand. EM Solutions has become one of the world’s foremost suppliers of microwave components and subsystems across the entire Ka-band. Unlike Ku-band and lower frequencies, the design and manufacture of solid-state high power Ka-band components requires a unique combination of expertise in both microstrip and waveguide techniques, where mechanical and electromagnetic constraints present unique challenges. With electromagnetic radiation effects much more subtle at Ka-band frequencies, and with greater susceptibility to parasitic effects and losses, significantly greater attention is required in the engineering of these components, particularly at high power levels, where classical microstrip techniques are inadequate on their own to efficiently obtain the bandwidths, power levels, and efficiencies required of state-of-the-art microwave transceivers.
Continuing the tradition of engineering excellence, EM Solutions recently collaborated with Australia’s CSIRO research institute to develop the world’s first long-distance mm-wave 5Gbps radio operating in E-band (71-86 GHz). This development required re-engineering a prototype lab radio into a hardened field-ready outdoor unit, and developing a novel alignment and pointing system to maintain the 1.2m antennas at each end of the radio link in perfect line of sight.
EM Solutions offers decades of experience and a strong engineering tradition in electromagnetics to its customers, to ensure they are delivered world-class products that meet their specific requirements.
EM Solutions is a leading supplier of microwave modules and systems to both defence and commercial customers around the world. With a team of leading engineers on its staff and its own manufacturing facility, the company can provide engineering services, design expertise, and a broad range of microwave products and systems to meet any customer requirement.
Our experience and capability includes developing highly integrated RF components, modules, and subsystems. These are used in a variety of applications, but most particularly in X-, Ku- and Ka-band satellite communications terminals - purpose designed for specific customer requirements. This requires the design of planar RF and microwave circuits from 10MHz up to 40GHz; power combining and dividing techniques; high power amplifiers and linearisers; low noise amplifiers; frequency synthesisers; passive modules (filters, couplers, etc.); antennas; and waveguide filters. Our capability also includes failure analysis and modelling of oscillators; investigation of spurious signals, leakage, and ripple; low phase noise design; and phase-hit avoidance and recovery.
EM Solutions is more than a developer of microwave components; it has successfully integrated these into complex systems entailing a combination of analog and digital components tied together with complex control software, firmware, and mechanical systems.
When the Australian military was seeking a new satellite terminal (for its Ka-band WGS satellite constellation) that could mount on top of its four-wheel drive Bushmaster vehicle, and that could communicate with the satellite even when the vehicle was driving off-road, it could not find a supplier anywhere in the world. The challenges of designing a complete tracking platform that could find the satellite and keep an antenna pointed to within 0.2 degrees of the satellite, and couple it with a complete microwave transmitter and receiver, were beyond any other company. Yet within twelve months, EM Solutions was able to demonstrate a working prototype of such an “on-the-move” terminal. That prototype system has now been engineered for production, and is the world’s only terminal that can meet the demanding certification requirements of the military WGS satellite system at Ka-band. It uses an age-old monopulse direction-finding technique implemented with leading-edge components to create a terminal that is unparalleled in its performance. The terminal uses a Web-accessed control system to support the complex digital signal processing within the system necessary to remove the Doppler shift on the monopulse signals and derive and maintain the correct pointing direction for the antenna before it can properly communicate.
More recently, the company developed a similar system for long-distance mm-wave terrestrial communications links operating at 70-80GHz, to maintain accurate pointing between antennas at both ends of the link. Without such a system, large antennas with their narrow beam-widths are impossible to use over any distance, since even minor wind gusts or temperature perturbations can cause the antenna to shift a fraction of a degree, and lose sight of the far end of the link. When coupled with EM Solutions proprietary radio technology, data rates of 5 Gbps over link lengths of 15km were achieved with no errors!
Such vertical integration of systems design with electronic and mechanical sub-systems and modules developed in house over many years provides a depth of understanding and ability to meet customer requirements that few other companies can match.
EM Solutions core microwave product set includes its low-noise block down convertors (LNBs) and block up convertors (BUCs) that form the RF front-end sitting between a communications terminal modem and the antenna. Together, these subsystems make up the receiver and transmitter components of a satellite communications terminal.
BUCs and LNBs are complex subsystems themselves, and comprise a combination of filters, oscillators, mixers, and amplifiers engineered to deliver signals with the right gain and power, at the right frequency between the communications modem and the antenna. In addition, they require digital supervisory boards to interface with the terminal control system, and are frequently required to be engineered to specific dimensions and to operate over wide temperature ranges. With the drive to achieve lower size and weight without sacrificing power, such subsystems are constantly being innovated and upgraded to take advantage of the latest innovations in semiconductor technology.
EM Solutions product roadmap for its range of BUCs is shown in [link here]
Power combiners, filters, and high-power solid state amplifiers
EM Solutions is one of the world’s few top-tier suppliers of Ka-band RF components. Our engineering is unsurpassed. Although many companies will claim the ability to engineer and deliver solid-state products in the Ka-Band frequency range, experience shows that customers are frequently disappointed. At lower frequencies, higher power levels can be achieved by combining power from multiple devices using microstrip couplers. Such a binary combinatorial approach cannot be simply extended to Ka-band, for it results in high cost, unacceptable power losses, and narrow bandwidths.
Instead, EM Solutions uses a unique three-dimensional E-plane waveguide combining technique that allows power from any arbitrary number of devices to be combined serially and in the industry’s smallest volume packages. This modular approach based on clever use of electromagnetics achieves the highest power “density” possible, using the least number of active devices, and results in better reliability, power efficiency and lower component cost. Our 16W Ka-band nanoBUC’s are the industry’s lightest and smallest available, ideal for mounting directly at the antenna feed of even the smallest terminal.
When loaded with a typical communications signal, microwave transmitters must be “backed-off” from their nominal (single-tone) 1dB power compression point, in order to preserve signal linearity and prevent unwanted spectral regrowth. That lowers both efficiency and power output.
EM Solutions’ approach to minimise back-off is to use its own integrated, proprietary lineariser technology, delivering a linearised BUC (block upconvertor) power transmit module that minimises the power reduction due to back-off and maintains both output power and power efficiency that would otherwise be lost. Because our pre-distorter lineariser operates directly at the microwave source, it is independent of the type of modulation or coding system used. Furthermore, using a dual conversion super-heterodyne architecture, EM Solutions’ transmitter modules can now cover a wide range of operating frequencies in a single unit, with the lineariser bandwidth able to compensate across the entire Ka-band.
Although the addition of a lineariser adds some cost to the final BUC, its inclusion guarantees linearity and integrity of output power that would otherwise require specification of higher nominal power levels that would prove even more costly. In our linearised Ka-Band solid state power amplifier/BUC specifications, we reference both saturated power and linear power, as this helps customers determine the most suitable and cost-effective product to deliver the overall terminal performance needed to deliver the bandwidth.
Low phase-hit synthesisers
EM Solutions has engineered a proprietary oscillator topology for use in its block up-converters. Lower frequency oscillators typically use a dielectric resonator (DRO) to achieve their stability and low phase noise, but at higher frequencies these are more prone to microphonic effects, due to the smaller wavelength interacting more strongly with the mechanical resonator tuning plate. EM Solutions’ synthesiser technology uses a dual loop oscillator that avoids the use of a dielectric resonator, and that has proven invaluable for example in the environmental conditions on marine vessels, where our technology provides significantly fewer phase hits under vibration compared to traditional DRO technology with similar phase noise.