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Dielectric receives grant to develop new design for universal rural wireless broadband access

Dielectric Communications, a division of SPX, has been awarded a $2.2 million grant from the Maine Technology Institute's Maine Technology Asset Fund (MTAF) to develop a wireless communication laboratory at the University of Maine. In collaboration with the university, Dielectric will work to expand its cutting-edge wireless technology platform to new applications — including a more cost-effective method of delivering wireless broadband services to fixed and mobile users in rural Maine that can then be applied in other rural areas worldwide.

Within the Maine Wireless Communication Laboratory, Dielectric and the University of Maine will work to create new capabilities in environmental testing, high-power RF and microwave circuit design, and wireless networking and communication system design. "The establishment of a new state-of-the-art laboratory at the electrical and computer engineering department will allow university researchers and Dielectric engineers to work toward the creation of the next generation of wireless communications devices and networks," said Mohamad T. Musavi, Ph.D., chairman and professor of the ECE department. The novelty of this collaborative project is in the development of enhanced design, testing and fabrication of complex wireless systems with 10 times the coverage provided by existing technology. This improvement in coverage allows a substantial reduction in the number of cell towers needed. In alignment with a desire by Dielectric and the university to develop green solutions, the implementation of this technology also results in significant energy savings.

This technology development is expected to provide many high-tech jobs to the Maine economy in the near term, in addition to creating future employment and internship opportunities within the state for graduating students.

The Maine Wireless Communication Laboratory is expected to begin operations by the end of 2009.