Thursday, September 20, 2012

Super Wi-Fi poised for growth

Wi-Fi and "Super Wi-Fi".

You'd naturally think of superior performance and far reaching Wi-Fi signal, and quite rightly. Super Wi-Fi is being deployed in the United States and generating interest in a number of countries, including Britain and Brazil. It offers a bigger range than existing hotspots.

Super Wi-Fi is not really Wi-Fi because it uses a different frequency and requires specially designed equipment, but it offers some of Wi-Fi's advantages, and more.

The name was coined by the US Federal Communications Commission in 2010, when it approved the deployment of unused broadcast television spectrum, or so-called "white spaces," for wireless broadband.

Super Wi-Fi could be useful for less dense population over a large area.

Much longer range

Think about covering few lots or blocks of shop. But with Super Wi-Fi we are talking about covering the whole town or city. Or villages.

The long range and use of the broadcast spectrum could allow wireless signals to travel farther than Wi-Fi - in theory as far as 100 miles (160 kilometers) - although for practical reasons the range will probably be only a few miles.

Michael Calabrese, director of the Wireless Future Project at the New America Foundation, said that is an advantage of using the broadcast spectrum.

"Wi-Fi has been booming, but it has been limited by the frequencies it operates on, which go only a few hundred meters," said Calabrese, who has been pressing for the use of "white spaces" since 2002.

In contrast, "television frequencies travel long distances at low power and penetrate through buildings, trees and bad weather," Calabrese said.

This could provide high-speed Internet to sparsely populated rural areas which lack broadband. It could also allow consumers to create their own hotspots, which could be used on devices while away from their homes.

Already deployed in US

The first deployment of Super Wi-Fi came last year by Rice University in Houston, Texas, followed by another earlier this year in Wilmington, North Carolina. A coalition of organizations has announced plans to deploy Super Wi-Fi to college campuses in rural areas starting early next year in a project called AIR.U, backed by Google and Microsoft.

Super Wi-Fi would be on "unlicensed" spectrum, like Wi-Fi, so companies would not bid on exclusive spectrum rights. This can lower costs. And there is often excess capacity, especially in rural areas, where fewer TV stations operate.

Mobile phone companies could use Super Wi-Fi, as they do now with Wi-Fi, to relieve some of the "spectrum crunch" from the explosion of mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.

But in order for Super Wi-Fi to gain traction, manufacturers of PCs and other devices would have to make chipsets that could operate on both systems.

TheGreenMechanics' two cents: Long range capability should benefit rural areas, especially with the government' effort to close the digital gap with urbanites.

For the consumers in general, this should provide alternative and possibly cheaper option in communication.

Source: The Star


Aki said...

Trus sa teingat time jalan di Patong tu ari Bro, wifi 1 bandar ni.. free.. Maksudnya, kalau pakai wifi biasa, mesti banyak durang taru tu pemancar.. Kalau ini, 1 ja cukup suda.. wow..

tehr said...

wah, berita bagus ni
harap2 kita juga akan segera dapat macam ni

thomas said...

Hope it will be here soon to improve our internet reception nationwide.

de engineur said...

@Aki - di KK pun saya dgr ada WiFi free tapi radius kecil jak, di pusat bandar.