IP Wireless for mobile broadband
http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=stor...7&sid=95612664 IP Wireless Puts Your Car on Broadband Fri Jan 10, 5:00 PM ET Edward N. Albro, PCWorld.com LAS VEGAS-- Surfing ...
- 01-11-2003, 8:27 AM #1
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IP Wireless for mobile broadband
IP Wireless Puts Your Car on Broadband
Fri Jan 10, 5:00 PM ET
Edward N. Albro, PCWorld.com
LAS VEGAS-- Surfing the Web at DSL speeds while rolling down the highway still sounds like science fiction if you're accustomed to waiting for Web pages to load on even the fastest cell phones. But in a Winnebago cruising outside the Consumer Electronics Show here, executives of IP Wireless are showing it can be done.
The company has installed a small base station at a local cell phone tower and uses special modems, about the size of 802.11b adapters, in its mobile demo booth. With that setup, I was able to surf the Web at upwards of 400 kilobits per second (about ten times faster than the real-world speed of current cell phone data services). I could view streamed television images from the BBC and made a very clear voice call over the Net.
As we drove around downtown Las Vegas, we never lost our signal or even suffered a data hiccup. Company officials say the system can achieve a maximum of 3 megabits per second on downloads and 1 mbps uploading information.
IP Wireless is selling its system to cell phone and Internet access providers, who will remarket the service to consumers. It's already available through companies in Maui and in Jacksonville, Florida, which are providing mobile broadband service as inexpensively as $39 monthly--competitive with rates for traditional DSL service.
But unlike traditional DSL service, which can't extend beyond the range of your home network, the IP Wireless system works anywhere a cell phone will, once it's deployed, according to Chris Gilbert, chief executive officer. The company says its base stations will cover a range of up to 17 miles.
IP Wireless uses the Wideband CDMA (news - web sites) standard, but it's able to produce such dramatically higher throughput because of the way it handles signals bouncing back and forth among towers and clients, Gilbert says. When you make a call on a traditional cell phone, the signal is typically broken up by buildings and other obstacles on its way to the nearest tower, so the tower sees a number of separate data streams from your phone. The traditional tower chooses the strongest of those streams and disregards the rest.
The IP Wireless system collects all the data streams, syncs them up, and stitches them together, both at the tower and when the client PC or phone is receiving a signal. That allows speedier downloads and minimizes the amount of power IP Wireless modems and adapters draw, taking a smaller hit on notebook batteries.
The company now offers two types of modems, an external USB modem about the size of a CD player and a PC Card adapter similar to those used with 802.11b networks. Each of the modems includes the kind of SIM card usually found in cell phones. That card identifies your PC on the network and allows access to the system.
Gilbert says IP Wireless is working to shrink its chip so it can be embedded in a variety of devices, from phones to digital cameras. For example, a chip in a camera would allow you to automatically download photo data to your home PC, eliminating the space limitations imposed by removable media cards.
The challenge for IP Wireless is convincing telephone and Internet access companies to adopt its technology. But the company has met with some recent success. Besides the domestic deployments mentioned, there will be at least one abroad: In December, Walker Wireless, a leading New Zealand broadband communications company, agreed to deploy the system throughout major markets in that country.
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