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.

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