PROVO — Our lives have become very dependent upon wireless technology. Long distances and dense walls block Wi-Fi and other radio signals. A Utah County inventor developed a signal that solves that problem, and it’s already available commercially.
“Sure-Fi is the world’s first RF technology in an unlicensed band that’s 100 percent reliable, like a wire,” said Sure-Fi founder and CEO, Mark Hall.
The system won’t change the way our phones work, but it will change the way data is transmitted around us wirelessly in our homes and at work.
“We can transmit low data very robustly,“ said Hall, as he showed us around his lab in Provo.
Wireless communication runs into range and reliability limitations because data can only go so far on a radio signal. Hall said his signal transmits less data on a new radio module. So long distances, concrete and metal won’t block Sure-Fi.
“Sure-fi is the world’s first RF technology in an unlicensed band that’s 100% reliable, like a wire.” Coming up at 6 @KSL5TV; @surefiinc won’t change the connectivity of our phones, but it will change the way a lot of data is transmitted around us. #ksltvpic.twitter.com/yTW8YMrwwk
— Jed Boal (@jedboal) August 9, 2019
It will transmit for a mile through obstructions and 50 miles unobstructed, he said. Smart homes and buildings can use Sure-Fi instead of wire.
“That will be the big market: building automation,“ said Hall.
Sure-Fi is already being used in construction, mining, and congested areas like apartment complexes, stadiums and hospitals.
“In industry and commerce, we have a lot of obstacles that RF needs to penetrate,“ the inventor said.
The biggest limitation? Sure-Fi cannot transmit pictures and video. It reliably transfers quality audio and data.
“It’s going to handle less data. It’s going to trade data for distance” said Hall. “But, it will go further.”
Hall showed off some of the tests that they are using to assess Sure-Fi’s reliability. In one controlled environment, they blasted the signal with interference.
“You shower all kinds of interference on your product and see how it performs,” he said.
To test the signal ourselves, KSL went inside a Faraday Cage, which blocks out all radio frequencies. Within seconds, our cell phone had no signal.
We also tested a state of the art walkie-talkie system like first responders might use on the job, but the audio quality was fuzzy at best. The audio transmitted over the Sure-Fi line, however, was loud and clear.
That kind of clarity in communication could make a big difference to a firefighter or police officer trying to communicate inside a building.
Sure-Fi is being used to operate mechanical gates too far from the controller for a Wi-Fi signal. There’s no need for installers to dig a trench for wire.
It can also be a good solution for buildings, like old churches that need to be updated technologically, but are too much trouble to re-wire. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has expressed some interest to the inventor.
“All of those kinds of things that are currently wired can now become unwired because they’re in a heavy obstruction environment,” said Hall.
That can save installers a lot of time and money.
Sure-Fi uses a patented radio technology based on chirp modulation. Chirp is part of a radio signal in which the signal increases and decreases in frequency, creating a pulse or chirp. Those chirps contain the transmitted data. The method helps distinguish the signal from noise, or interference, which can be critical in noisy environments.
“It’s an exciting thing in heavy obstruction environments that we can do wirelessly and have the reliance and surety of a wire,” said Hall.
There are already four products on the market using Sure-Fi technology. Six more products are in development.
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