Satellite dishes are ugly, they can be perilous to install and maintain, and they can easily lose alignment with the slightest of wobbles. For these reasons, you might want to install one in the attic, but it needs a clear view to the bird in the sky.
Enter Hauk Technology, exhibiting at CEDIA 2017. The company makes a “signal transparent surface” that passes wireless satellite signals through the material with less than 2% signal loss, according to the company.
The membrane can be molded and colored to match the roof or any surface – camouflage if you like, to hide satellite and other RF-transceivers. In fact, Hauk says its products already are being used for military applications.
“The engineers at Hauk felt placing this material in a roof mounted skylight frame would be the best vehicle to introduce this to the [residential] market,” says former CEDIA business-development VP Ron Fleming, who is consulting for the company. “Builders, roofers, architects and inspectors are all familiar with skylights and the installation procedures.”
Of course, the RF-transparent membrane isn’t just for satellite dishes. It can also be effective for other wireless transceivers that benefit from open-air or line-of-sight transmission. Cellular repeaters, wireless broadband routers and even TV antennas could be more effective under an STS membrane.
Other materials may offer some signal or light to get through, but “most surfaces distort or disrupt signal clarity as radio waves bounce off these RF reflective materials,” according to Hauk. “The Signal Transparent Surface provides a waterproof, weather-resistant signal window for all transmissions from technology devices to easily pass in and out of the home. This is what makes the STS product so unique.”
The retail cost of the basic STS panel (48” x 48”) is $1,995 with generous margins for integrators, Fleming says.
By comparison, a typical glass skylight of the same size costs about $500.
The Hauk product comes with a 10 year warranty.