Friday, March 21, 2008

Intel researchers stretch Wi-Fi to cover 60 miles

Intel recently demonstrated a modified 802.11 radio link with a data rate of around 6 Mbps and a range of more than 60 miles.

Intel achieved this extraordinary range using off-the-shelf hardware, including parabolic antennas, for its project, dubbed the rural connectivity platform (RCP). The key innovation was a change, borrowed from cellular networks, to the underlying 802.11 media-access-control layer that allowed for a more efficient signal, and translates into longer reach.

RCP is one of several research projects intended to extend the Internet into rural areas, especially in developing countries. The idea is to use low-cost, low-power Wi-Fi radios to bridge between wired Internet connections in a city and wired and wireless connections in small, rural villages. RCP's unprecedented range minimizes the need for lots of wireless nodes to span those distances.

Motorola trials Mobile WiMAX in Thailand with UIH

Equipment vendor touts Thai presence at WiMAX World Asia conference

WiMAX World Asia is taking place in Bangkok, Thailand this week. Motorola took that opportunity to announce that the company has a Thailand trial underway with United Information Highway Company Limited (UIH).

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), Thailand's regulator, provided a trial license to UIH for WiMAX last year. The operator has conducted trials in Bangkok and Phuket since then to test mobile WiMAX. Both cities are targeted as candidates for new broadband services to corporate users and travelers.

"The Internet penetration rate is currently around 15% in Thailand, and we believe there is huge potential to market affordable broadband services to consumers and corporate users," said Vichai Bencharongkul, president of Benchachinda Holding Company Limited and executive committee chairman of UIH.

Thailand operators including ShinSat, True Corp and TOT started WiMAX experiments last August. The service providers already have spectrum suitable for WiMAX between 2.4 and 3.5 GHz. ShinSat occupies the 3.5 GHz spectrum, True's pay-TV operator UBC True has 2.5 GHz allocations, and TOT is working in the 2.4 GHz band.

Another WiMAX equipment vendor showing interest in the Thailand market is South Korea's POSDATA. Fresh off its win with Mobile WiMAX in Venezuela, the company is providing a bus tour for a mobile WiMAX service experience via a live system in the vicinity of the Bangkok Convention Center. The bus is demonstrating a variety of potential services, such as video telephony, real-time video and audio streaming and web searches. "The Thai government plans to offer commercial services starting next year in the frequency bands of 2.3GHz and 2.5GHz," said Shin Joon-il, executive vice president of POSDATA. The company declined to comment on the current Thailand operator who is trialing with POSDATA in Bangkok