The Revolution Will Be Unwired

“What we need is a truly broadband wireless network to fill the gaps, and to provide enough bandwidth for mobile devices. And just such a thing may be lurking not too far over the horizon.

Currently, the FCC is considering the public availability of dozens of radio frequency slots located in between television channels, in the 150-700 MHz range. These new channels would become available after the planned shutdown of analog TV in 2009, and would allow unlicensed radio communication, such as wireless Internet services, to take a seat in one of the more desirable frequency ranges for combining range and bandwidth. You could do this with other frequencies as well — a considerable amount of space in the 2500 MHz range is expected to be used for Sprint’s WiMax network, for instance. But the lower the frequency, the greater the range it has, and the better ability to cut through obstacles, which makes the space between TV stations ideal.

With a relative minimum of hardware, these new channels could deliver wireless Internet to mobile devices at speeds up to or beyond 4 megabits, and ranges up to 25 miles or more. With that kind of range, a single tower could cover most of Rhode Island. And operating in unlicensed radio spectrum, hardware would be quickly commoditized, ala Wi-Fi, keeping setup costs relatively low”…

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