Building blocks that deliver small yet flexible radio solutions in record time
March 24, 2020
A major US Department of Defense (DoD) organization was concerned about the growing threat of eavesdropping on classified discussions happening within DoD facilities. The US Government already had policies and procedures to ensure Portable Electronic Devices (PEDs) are not allowed in restricted areas but as radio technologies advanced so did threats from both inside and outside the restricted areas.
At the time, there Wireless Intrusion Detection Systems (WIDS) on the market that could detect and locate Wi-Fi threats, but many customers also need to detect, identify and locate other wireless protocols including cellular and Bluetooth. Our client was looking for help in developing a product to address these requirements, as well as the needs of the DoD. Knowing that Epiq Solutions had vast experience with the manufacturing and design of software defined radios, they contacted us for help.
The client also indicated that speed was of the essence. They wanted to eliminate these threats as soon as possible so having this product operational as quickly possible was important.
When evaluating what this new WIDS product would require, Epiq Solutions identified four specific needs:
The radio modules utilized needed to be flexible enough to be programmed to detect a wide range of radio frequencies and wireless protocols.
Because the product would utilize a single ethernet cable to provide both power and connectivity, the radio modules utilized would need to be very power efficient.
The size of the radio modules was also important. They wanted the product to be compact in size, thus fitting into a range of possible deployment scenarios.
Speed to Market
In addition to these physical requirements the product needed to be developed as quickly as possible.
Introducing the Flying Fox™ Mobile Detection Device
Epiq Solutions engineers got to work and developed Flying Fox™, an RF sensing solution that can detect, identify, and locate RF emitters transmitting cellular, Wi-Fi, or Bluetooth® signals. Flying Fox has been successfully deployed by dozens of end customers to help fight the always-evolving landscape of wireless threats.
Sidekiq SDR Modules Make it Possible
The development of Flying Fox was made possible through the use of Epiq Solutions' Sidekiq SDR modules. By using these industrial-grade radio modules, they eliminated the many months of development time it would have taken to develop a custom radio solution for use in the product.
The Sidekiq modules also helped address many of the other product development requirements.
The Flying Fox product was to be installed in the ceiling of the rooms that needed to be protected. Power and network connectivity for each sensor is through Power over Ethernet (PoE), which meant that Flying Fox sensors needed to be small, lightweight, and low power. Utilizing a standard MiniPCIe card form factor measuring 30mm x 51mm x 5mm and drawing ~2W of power, Sidekiq was an ideal choice for the application.
Another benefit of using the Sidekiq modules was that they were able to easily integrate with existing embedded computer modules that often include MiniPCIe slots. There are dozens of embedded computer modules already on the market with this slot, thus making integration even easier.
"Even though the development of radios is our area of expertise, the use of our Sidekiq module in Flying Fox likely saved us a calendar year of schedule and many thousands of engineering hours that would have been required to design and build these radios from scratch.
— John Orlando - Epiq Solutions CEO
Developing with Sidekiq SDR Modules
While the Flying Fox sensor has been a tremendous success, the reason we are sharing the story of its development is to demonstrate the value and advantages of using Sidekiq SDR modules in developing products requiring a field-proven radio module.
If your project has a combination of the following requirements Epiq Solutions' Sidekiq module are the perfect choice.
Time to market
The heavy lifting associated with designing a radio is eliminated so you can focus on other aspects of your product development.
Wide Frequency Ranges
The flexibility of these radios and their support for tuning to a wide range of frequencies makes them an ideal choice to support both current as well as new and emerging radio signals of interest. It's what we call "future proofing".
Low Size, Weight, and Power (SWaP) requirements are a common concern when developing modern radio products, and Sidekiq SDRs deliver.
Small Form Factor
The Sidekiq modules come in a variety of compact industry-standard form factors making them ideal for applications where size and the ability to use off the shelf devices computing platforms are important considerations.
What are your RF Product Development Needs?
To learn more about Epiq Solutions Sidekiq SDR modules or help with your application give us a call.
Flying Fox Enterprise is an innovative security solution that accurately detects, identifies, and locates wireless security threats and seamlessly integrates into any organization’s security operations. The system provides always-on, real-time, fully-passive monitoring, geolocation, alerting, recording, and logging of cellular, Bluetooth® and Wi-Fi® transmissions to support organizations’ compliance with portable electronic device (PED) policies.