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Technology

A Disruptive Satellite to Smartphone Technology

Digital Locations is developing SatennaTM, a breakthrough technology that will enable delivery of high-speed Internet from satellites directly to smartphones anywhere in the world, with no dead zones and no need for cell towers.

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It is Possible

As demonstrated by the iPhone 14, it is possible for small devices to communicate directly with satellites high up in the sky. But only for text messages in case of an emergency, and only under the open sky with minimal obstructions. This is because current smartphone antennas and link protocols were not designed for high bandwidth and resilient satellite communication.

SATENNATM – A NOVEL APPROACH

We intend to overcome this technical challenge by developing SatennaTM, a breakthrough technology that only requires modifications on the smartphone side. This breakthrough can potentially eliminate the need to make costly and time-consuming modifications to existing, as well as future satellites. SatennaTM will make it possible for device manufacturers, wireless carriers, and satellite operators to offer high-speed Internet service from satellites directly to smartphones, indoors and outdoors with no dead zones and no cell towers. We are redesigning the link technology between satellites and smartphones, from the ground up, with state-of-the-art features such as:

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Novel Antenna Design

on the smartphone side that is high gain, high bandwidth, and multi-frequency

Artificial intelligence

based phased array antenna and beam forming systems with automatic frequency hopping to overcome weather, visual obstructions, regulatory and other challenges

Indoor and Outdoor

connection seamlessly maintain through the use of artificial intelligence algorithms

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Leading Research Team

Our research is performed by a leading team of satellite and wireless communication experts at Florida International University (“FIU”). FIU is the eighth largest public university in the country by enrollment and U.S. News and World Report places dozens of FIU programs among the best in the nation. Washington Monthly Magazine ranks FIU among the top 20 public universities contributing to the public good.


The FIU Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) encompasses a broad range of research and educational interests. It is the policy of the Department to involve each faculty member in a balanced combination of research and teaching to fully benefit the students. Many of the ECE faculty members have considerable industrial experience, and many maintain active consulting roles to provide current and relevant knowledge to the students in classroom and research settings.

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Dr. Elias Alwan
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Dr. Elias A. Alwan is a dedicated educator and researcher with a steadfast devotion to advancing the field of electrical and computer engineering. Since 2017, he has been an Assistant Professor at Florida International University (FIU). From 2020 to 2022, Dr. Alwan was an Eminent Scholar Chaired professor at FIU in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Since working at FIU, he has won three faculty awards, the most recent including the Top Scholar Award for Junior Faculty with Significant Grants (STEM) in May of 2023. As an FIU faculty member, Dr. Alwan has served as the Chair of the College of Engineering and Computing Curriculum Committee since Fall 2021. In this position, he has created and taught many of his own classes, including Basics of RF Systems, and Special Topics Reconfigurable RF Systems. Prior to that, he held senior research and post-doctoral positions at The Ohio State University from 2014 to 2017. Alongside his academic pursuits, Dr. Alwan’s professional experience has led him to serve as a conference organizer and session chair for the 2022 URSI Comm B AT-AP-RAS conference, and the technical program chair for the 2019 International Workshop on Antenna Technology (iWAT). From 2018 to 2019 he was also a Journals Editor for the IEEE Transactions on Magnetics. Dr. Alwan obtained his Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from The Ohio State University in 2014, and his M.E. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the American University of Beirut in 2009. He completed his B.E. in Computer and Communication Engineering at Notre Dame University-Louaize in Lebanon in 2007.

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Dr. Arjuna Madanayake
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Dr. Arjuna Madanayake is one of the leading researchers on digital signal processing and wireless communication systems. With two decades of experience in academia, he currently holds a tenured Associate Professor position in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Florida International University (FIU), where he has been since 2018. At FIU he is the founder of the Research and Networking for Development (RAND) Laboratory at FIU, where he mentors graduate and undergraduate students in research and development activities. Dr. Madanayake is also an Honorary Associate Professor Department of Electronic and Telecommunication Engineering at the University of Moratuwa in Sri Lanka, which he was awarded in 2021. Prior to his role at FIU, he worked as an Associate Professor at the University of Akron in Ohio tenured from 2015 to 2018, and tenure-track from 2009 to 2015. In tandem with his teaching and research pursuits, Dr. Madanayake founded Arcane AI and Wireless LLC in 2023. He is also a co-founder of Deep-Silicon Technologies Pvt Ltd, which was established in 2022. Since 2020, he has held a part-time position as the Hardware Team Lead at Lemurian Labs, Canada. Dr. Madanayake completed his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering in 2008 and his M.Sc in Electrical Engineering in 2004 both at the University of Calgary. In 2002 he graduated with honors from the University of Moratuwa in Sri Lanka with a B.Sc. in Electronic and Telecommunications.

Space...
the new frontier

Satellite broadband Internet has been around for decades. However, the service is slow, expensive, data limited, and requires large receiver dishes mounted on fixed locations. These challenges are due to the inherent limits of older generation, gigantic and expensive satellites high up in geostationary Earth orbit (“GEO”), or even medium Earth orbit (“MEO”).

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Thanks to a new generation of visionary space companies such as SpaceX (Elon Musk) and Blue Origin (Jeff Bezos), the cost of launching satellites into space has come down dramatically through reusable rocket technology and more frequent space missions. As a result, it is now possible to deploy small, low-cost satellites that are in low Earth orbit (“LEO”). Closer to Earth means faster data transmission. However, it’s still very expensive and still needs special large receiver dishes mounted on fixed locations.

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What if high-speed Internet can be delivered from low-cost LEO satellites?

What if it can be delivered directly to smartphones?

Digital Locations is developing a disruptive technology to do just that to help connect a world of more than 8 billion people