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Communication Systems R&D

Sicom's expert communications systems R&D team is available to support corporate and government clients in solving communications systems R&D challenges. Sicom's capabilities and experience include algorithm and processor development for "smart" antenna systems and for intercept receiving systems. Smart antennas are advanced receiving stations that have multiple antennas and employ adaptive array and adaptive signal processing techniques to suppress unwanted interference, while enhancing the desired signal. Intercept receivers listen in on signal activity in communication bands of interest and automatically detect and extract desired signals and information.

In performing its R&D services, Sicom typically employs custom-developed simulators to model the communication system and the channel, as well as the algorithms being developed for the particular processing application. Hooks are usually provided to allow real data to be ingested into the simulator (in place of simulated data which is typically used during development) in order to confirm and optimize the processing algorithms. Once working, these simulation models double as a complete software algorithm specification for use in real-time coding. Iterations between field observations, laboratory analyses, algorithm modification, and processor implementation are rapid and efficient. This advanced development methodology generally results in reduced development costs and subsequent reductions in life cycle maintenance costs when unforeseen issues arise.

Sicom's communication R&D project services include:

  • Performing feasibility studies
  • Developing preliminary system specifications from performance requirements for proposal preparation
  • Developing detailed systems specifications from performance requirements for design and build
  • Algorithm development, refinement or optimization to achieve performance not currently possible
  • Teaming with large prime contractors on major radar development projects.

Project Involvement

Sicom has supported its defence clients through the development of real-time smart antenna algorithms for secure, military communications, as well as the development of affordable, real-time intercept receiver processors for intercepting battlefield communication frequency hopping signals.

Sicomís smart antenna algorithms were developed for use in HF base stations fielded across Canada organized as a secure, long-range, military communications network for use by the air force. These state-of-the-art algorithms delivered under the North American Air Defence Modernization Program in the late nineties represent the first commercial implementation of real-time, HF, communication receivers with adaptive, spatial interference suppression over military channels.

Sicomís work in developing an affordable, low probability of intercept (LPI) signal processor capable of processing wideband frequency hopping signals in real-time for military electronic warfare applications has pushed state-of-the-art to a personal computer (PC)_form factor. Through a combination of patented algorithms and specialized SIMD instruction set programming methods, Sicom engineers have demonstrated real-time, optimum performance capabilities on PCs.

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