The Sierra Wireless Mobile Communications Laboratory at Simon Fraser University is designed to place B.C. at the forefront of the wireless communications industry.

Wireless communications, as you're aware, impacts devices such as cell phones and computers, as well as connectivity to databases and the Internet.

With ongoing collaborations with industry and research partners across North America, the lab is one of the most advanced in Canada and is capable of high-speed antenna pattern mapping.

Researchers will be able to measure antenna patterns within minutes or hours, a process that would normally take up to 48 hours.

Antennas are usually the most visible component of wireless communications and electromagnetic sensing. Researchers say antenna design governs the performance of a communications system.

Richmond, B.C.-based Sierra Wireless contributed $400,000 to help develop the Mobile Communications Laboratory, with a further $1,125,000 extended by the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), Western Economic Diversification Canada and B.C.'s Knowledge Development Fund.

Sierra Wireless (NASDAQ:SWIR/TSX:SW) also established a Professorship in Mobile Communications with a $600,000 endowment. Rodney Vaughan, a professor in the School of Engineering Science, currently holds the position.

Fifteen companies are using the Sierra Wireless Mobile Communications Laboratory for advanced research, including San Jose's Fastback Networks, a US start-up that develops smart antennas. Fastback Networks has established a B.C. branch to hire locally trained engineers for research and development.

Upcoming projects at the new SFU lab include developing antenna concepts for satellite communications, new on-chip antennas, industrial 'green energy' microwave food drying and spatial signal processing for acoustic noise reduction.

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