netBlazr was awarded a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project grant for $718k from the National Science Foundation. The grant is to develop a multiple antenna, transparent wireless node. This device would bring new functionality to the marketplace and eliminate much of the complexity we currently face in connecting customers to the netBlazr network. Previously, netBlazr was awarded a SBIR Phase I project grant of $150k to validate that the device could be developed.
The project will develop an innovative wireless mess network node, installable by anyone, that enables low cost, high capacity Internet access for previously unserved and underserved communities including those in poor urban neighborhoods. This new low cost consumer devices looks like a clear sheet of plastic that people are willing to hang in their window, but sends and receives highly directional radio beams, steered in software. The new wireless node uses a large antenna with beamsteering to automatically establish high capacity point-to-point links between buildings. Made with transparent conductive materials, it mounts indoors in a window (avoiding weather, roof access and landlord permissions), requires no aiming, and can automatically re-establish the mesh if a node is removed. This dramatically expands the applicability of wireless mesh networks, reducing the cost of community networks and enabling new wireless Internet services.
We are very proud of our team for their hard work in receiving the grant and we are looking forward to the completion of the project.