Security is a primary concern with any radio system developed for military and/or government applications. Accordingly, the Spartan M13 Series of wireless radios from FreeWave Technologies is designed to protect sensitive information at 1.3 GHz across clear line-of-sight (LOS) distances as great as 60 miles. The radios rely on encryption defined in Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) Publication 140-2, and feature the small size and weight that makes them ideal for use in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs).

Spartan M13 wireless radios (see photo) are initially available in two board-level formats: the serial model M13-NCF (which measures just 106.7 x 50.8 x 14.1 mm and weighs just 66.6 g) and the Ethernet model M13-NPF radio (which is 103.9 x 50.8 x 18.1 mm and weighs only 66.9 g). These FIPS radios meet the US government computer security standard—issued by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) — that was developed to accredit cryptographic modules.

FIPS Publication 140-2 actually defines four levels of security, ranging from the lowest (Level 1) to the highest (Level 4). The Spartan M13 radios comply with Level 2 security, putting them in league with the requirements of US government agencies and other regulated industries, such as health care and finance.

The Spartan M13 Series radios share many of the features that customers have come to know and rely upon in other FreeWave radios, including 32-b cyclic-redundancy-check (CRC) error detection, with automatic retransmission upon detecting an error. They incorporate powerful diagnostics capabilities, with received-signal-strength-indication (RSSI) circuitry. They are extremely reliable and 100% tested for use at temperatures from −40 to +75°C.

The compact radios transmit from 1350 to 1390 MHz at a user-selectable data rate of 115 or 153 kb/s and occupied bandwidth of 230 kHz. They can control transmit power from 20 mW to 1 W, achieving a clear LOS range to 60 miles using 2-level Gaussian-frequency-shift-keying (GFSK) modulation. User-selectable hopping channels are also available, from 1 to 112 out of a total of 172 with a total of seven frequency hopping bands.

The radios’ receiver section features nominal sensitivity of −103 dBm for the faster bit rate of 153 kb/s, at a bit-error rate (BER) of 1 x 10−4, and −106 dBm for the bit rate of 115 kb/s at the same 1 x 10−4 BER. The receiver achieves 20-dB selectivity within ±230 kHz of the center frequency.

By packing FIPS 140-2 security into such compact, low-power radios, those working in government and mission-critical applications now have a secure communications solution with ease of RS-232 or Ethernet programmability. According to Phil Linker, Government and Defense Product Manager at FreeWave Technologies, “FreeWave is helping its government and defense customers overcome security challenges for mission-critical applications where failure is not an option. Based on our proven wireless communications platform, the new Spartan Series will provide a highly sophisticated and unique encryption technology. This will enable a high level of trusted security for mission-critical applications, such as the command and control of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and other unmanned systems.”

The Spartan M13 Series of wireless radios operate from voltage supplies of +4.75 to +5.25 VDC, with peak current consumption of 1200 mA on transmit, 240 mA on receive, and 135 mA on idle. The NCF and NPF radios have the same MMCX antenna connector, but differ in terms of interface connectors (14-pin on the NCF and 10-pin connector on the NPF).

FreeWave Technologies, Inc.
1880 S. Flatiron Ct., Ste. F
Boulder, CO 80301
(303) 381-9200
FAX: (866) 923-6168
e-mail: sales@freewave.com