Intel Gives WiFi A Big Boost

from the just-a-little-further dept

Some researchers at Intel say they've devised a way to send WiFi signals up to 100 kilometers (via Broadband Reports) using standard equipment, compared to the few hundred feet they can normally travel. Their system uses directional antennas and special software to do the trick, and it's intended to be used in developing nations to provide remote areas with internet access. Typically, WiFi signals are sent over a circular area, with the router in the middle. It's possible to focus the signal, using a directional antenna, in a particular direction, and use power just to send the signal that way, instead of all around. That's not really any secret or breakthrough, but it sounds like the Intel researchers' real innovation is in creating a system that electrically steers the antennas on both ends of the connection, automating what can be a particularly difficult task. While it's being suggested that this technology could replace WiMAX -- hence Intel's apparent lack of interest in rolling it out in the developed world -- this directional requirement makes this souped-up WiFi unsuitable for much more than backhauling other types of connections, particularly since it wouldn't be able to support multiple simultaneous connections. For instance, it could be used to send a net connection to a remote village, where standard WiFi gear could be used to share the connection locally. The advance here isn't in creating a potential competitor to WiMAX or other mobile broadband technologies; the innovation is in creating a solution to the problem of aligning directional antennas, which could potentially be applied to other wireless technologies beyond WiFi.
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  1. identicon
    Alaric, 29 Mar 2007 @ 4:00pm

    Re: Re: 20 years late but hey its intel

    "Are you stupid, or do you just act that way?"

    First off, this is way out of line. Secondly, read the rest of comment. The problem for WiFi and wireless in general is in non-line of sight environments. This is not a cure a for that. The real killer for wifi is the ability to compensate for the limitations of the 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz spectrum both of which are easily obsorbed. Pointing and steering no work too well in an environment with lots of reflections, which is typical to cellular, and wifi.

    So maybe i'm not the stupid one here. Point to point, line of sight iis a wonderful market but not one that is really going to do much for wifi or wireless in general. Pointing and steering is not new. There have been many, MANY, MANY solutions that do that at the base station and even on the handset.

    And its a non-innovation. Seriouly, is this the best intel can do? Something that was done decades ago but with newer software. Its not a innovation. Its old hat but its getting carried because its intel.

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