Faster wireless, everywhere

As a tech geek I’m interested in a lot of things, but I have a particular interest in wireless technologies. I want to have the ability to connect to the Internet wherever I go, using whatever device I happen to have with me. Despite the progress we’ve made in recent years, that vision is still a long way from being realized. A couple of things I came across recently look promising though.

The first is an article in MIT’s Technology Review, discussing research to make wireless faster:

One way to achieve faster speeds is to harness the millimeter-wavelength frequency of the wireless spectrum, although this usually requires expensive and very complex equipment. Now, engineers at Battelle, a research and development firm based in Columbus, OH, have come up with a simpler way to send data through the air with millimeter-wave technology.

Apparently they’ve been able to achieve speeds of 10.6 gigabits-per-second in a point-to-point field test, with antennas 800 meters apart. In the lab, they’ve demonstrated 20 gigabit-per-second speeds. Those are fiber-like speeds! Of course this wouldn’t work for blanket-wireless (like a cell network), but it could have some really useful applications.

The second article discusses a new study by market researcher In-Stat:

In-Stat said that more than 294 million consumer electronics devices with Wi-Fi shipped in 2007. But that number is quickly growing and will likely reach 1 billion by 2012. The fastest-growing embedded Wi-Fi segment is mobile handsets. By 2011, dual-mode cell phones will surpass PCs as the largest category of Wi-Fi devices, the In-Stat report said.

The phenomenal growth of consumer electronics devices is nothing new, but the takeaway here is that wireless Internet access demand is going to grow quite a bit over the next few years. After all, what good is a device with Wi-Fi capabilities if there is no Wi-Fi network available? This is good news for the Free Wi-Fi project.

A world with faster, more ubiquitous wireless Internet access is a world I want to live in.

  • I too have an interest in wireless technologies. What is a concern for me at the moment is the switch to 802.11n. My company is currently looking for solutions to deal with this conversion. While i was doing research I found a company called Xirrus and read one of their press releases. Does anyone else know anything about Xirrus or dealt with them?

    Here is a portion of the article that i read:

    “OZ Architecture wanted to go wireless without having to install a sea of bug-like 802.11n access points. Instead OZ Architecture installed fully integrated Xirrus 802.11abg+n XN8 Wi-Fi Arrays because they readily blended into their environment while delivering the 4X more coverage, bandwidth, and throughput than competitive offerings.”