In the mid-nineties, UCSB electrical and computer engineering professor Bob York and his team of researchers began working on solving a very pressing technology problem for the telecomm industry: how to amplify high frequency signals for use in high-power telecomm.
Traditional techniques used wires on a circuit board to split one signal into many signals, amplify each of those, and then combine them to produce a single amplified signal. In 1996, Professor York and his grad student, Angelos Alexanian, developed an entirely new approach. Instead of using wires to split a signal, they broadcasted the signal inside a device and used numerous antennae to receive the signal then amplify it. In doing so, they eliminated the inefficiencies that had plagued the old method and made efficient, high-frequency telecomm possible.
In 2004 Wavestream, a communications company based on technology developed at CalTech, began licensing the technology from UCSB for use in their high power solid state amplifiers. Seeing the value in UCSB’s technology, and being familiar with the process of licensing technology from universities, they began producing amplifiers using both technology developed at UCSB (“deck” amplifiers) and technology developed at CalTech (“grid” amplifiers).
Wavestream’s amplifiers have a broad range of applications, for both commercial and military telecomm. Their amplifiers are used by HBO in the Long Island Broadcast Operations Center to transmit their signal to televisions across the USA. In the military, the amplifiers are used for mobile high-powered satellite communication systems and are included in many of the Humvees currently in use. Wavestream is also planning to partner with Honeywell, Inmarsat and Tecom to provide wifi and cell service to transatlantic airline passengers.
The last nine years have seen Wavestream grow from a small university startup to a thriving company with a global impact, and UCSB has played a major part in that growth. The technology developed at UCSB by Professor York is currently used in 90% of the amplifiers Wavestream manufactures.
Wavestream is headquartered in San Dimas, CA and manufactures all of their products in the USA.
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