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Networking Wireless Networking Hardware

Ubiquitous Multi-Gigabit Wireless Within Three Years 152

Anonymous Howard passed us a link to the Press Escape blog, and a post about the future of ultra-fast wireless connectivity. Georgia Tech researchers unveiled plans to use ultra-high frequency radio transmissions to achieve very high data transmission rates over short distances. In a few years, the article says, we'll have ubiquitous multi-gigabit wireless connectivity, with some significant advances already under their belts. "GEDC team have already achieved wireless data-transfer rates of 15 gigabits per second (Gbps) at a distance of 1 meter, 10 Gbps at 2 meters and 5 Gbps at 5 meters. 'The goal here is to maximize data throughput to make possible a host of new wireless applications for home and office connectivity,' said Prof. Joy Laskar, GEDC director and lead researcher on the project along with Stephane Pinel. Pinel is confident that Very high speed, p2p data connections could be available potentially in less than two years. The research could lead to devices such as external hard drives, laptop computers, MP-3 players, cell phones, commercial kiosks and others could transfer huge amounts of data in seconds while data centers could install racks of servers without the customary jumble of wires."
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Ubiquitous Multi-Gigabit Wireless Within Three Years

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  • by Travoltus ( 110240 ) on Thursday July 19, 2007 @02:06PM (#19917591) Journal
    Maybe some lower security data centers might enable wireless, but I doubt it. Being that we're a financial institution (a small one, mind you), there's no way in the h to the e to the double hockey sticks that I'd ever enable any kind of wireless anything in our data center.

    I'd rather deal with a network cable gone sentient and whipping around like a snake and attacking people, than go wireless at the data center.

    Only an idiot thinks there's a wireless transmission that's invulnerable to being intercepted. Heck, wired communications aren't 100% secure, either, but my boss's business is about minimizing risk, and wireless networks even inside a data center is not minimizing risk.
  • by nincehelser ( 935936 ) on Thursday July 19, 2007 @02:13PM (#19917707)
    I can't see any real application for this in a data center. They'll always use wires, switches, and routers. One simple reason is that one bad wireless transmitter could jam a whole bunch of nearby servers, which probably wouldn't be good. Wires have their uses. Sometimes it's good to keep your data flow contained and controlled.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 19, 2007 @02:15PM (#19917737)
    Yeah! Cause the biosphere wasn't already inundated with electromagnetic radiation. Its a good thing the rest of the universe doesn't spew loads of it towards the Earth. Oh wait...
  • by drakaan ( 688386 ) on Thursday July 19, 2007 @02:16PM (#19917747) Homepage Journal

    while data centers could install racks of servers without the customary jumble of wires

    Somehow I don't see "whole data centers" using a data transmission method where any device can potentially intercept the data going to and coming from any other device. Might make your hosting clients a bit nervous.

  • Re:FTFA (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Moby Cock ( 771358 ) on Thursday July 19, 2007 @02:19PM (#19917807) Homepage
    Useless? No. But very application specific. However, there is a great appeal in making Personal Area Networks.

    That and being able to connect a DVD player to a TV without a cable would be, in a purely geek way, quite elegant.
  • by walt-sjc ( 145127 ) on Thursday July 19, 2007 @02:25PM (#19917881)
    My little cage at the colo doesn't have 5 servers. It has hundreds. I'm also sharing that datacenter with many many other companies that have cages with hundreds of servers. We deal with SAN / iSCSI, NAS, backups over networks, etc. With the noise and limited bandwidth available in a shared frequency space, I seriously doubt any type of wireless will be very useful in a datacenter - especially since everything is already connected via hard-wired connections.

    It also won't be very useful in my home, where wires are already easy to run for the short-distance devices, and noise / distance prohibits the use in cases where I could really use and WANT high-speed wireless.

    So it does sound like a neat trick, but what is a valid, viable use case for it?

    I could REALLY use something much different. I want to get rid of the 20 or so wall-wart power supplies under my desk. I want one larger power supply that I can run small cables to all the devices. Why can't devices negotiate for how much voltage / current they need?
  • by retro128 ( 318602 ) on Thursday July 19, 2007 @02:26PM (#19917891)
    This technology could be used in applications besides just strict data transfer. 15Gbs should be fast enough to drive a display, as well. The proverbial rats' nest behind your computer could completely disappear with this technology. Keyboards, mice, displays, network - Just about cable plugged into the back of your computer could be replaced with wireless this fast.

    But if only it were so simple. Of course now the problem we have is with security. Never mind TEMPEST []. If you had a big enough antenna and you could decrypt (it IS encrypted...heavily...right?) the datastream emanating from this technology from a distance - you could see the display, keystrokes, data transfers, everything. Obviously, strong encryption is very important - But the overhead from strong encryption will reduce the theoretical bandwidth because of the extra baggage on the packets, and increase costs significantly because of the very specialized ASICs that will likely be required to encrypt a stream at that speed. And they'd have to be standard across all devices. AND an exploit had better not be discovered in the algorithm. Then there's the issue of the 60GHz band. A frequency that high is very unforgiving of obstructions, even at the short ranges we're talking about. If you have a metal desk, forget it. And what about jamming from computers in close proximity? What about from a "l33t hax0r" with some time on his hands and an inclination to make trouble?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 19, 2007 @02:47PM (#19918035)

    My concern is that we lack the science to even understand the implications of all of this radiation we're creating upon our environment. Sure, you can put a frog in a box next to a wireless system and say, "oh, the frog lived", or jack up the energy by 100 times as some sort of a proxy for exposure over time, and say "the frog did not get cancer", but that's not really the same as saying that we will now saturate the biosphere with radiation of our own making.
    we understand electromagnetic radiation in great detail, it isn't magical or anything, just because it is a type of radiation doesn't mean it's going to give you cancer. the main reason some types of radiation make it more likely for an organism to get cancer is that the radiation is high enough in energy to damage or shatter DNA and proteins in the cell. this is the case with UV, X-ray and gamma radiation but not generally the case with lower energy electromagnetic radiation. the second thing is that microwaves/radio used in these wireless connections are nearly a million times less energetic per photon than UV is, this means it is essentually incapable of breaking DNA to even raise the chances of cancer. it is interesting to note that you have such a fear over wireless connections but have no problem using everything else, some of which do emit low levels of the same electromagnetic radiation the wireless connections do. it is also interesting that we live in a time where people live longer than ever recorded in human history yet somehow the fear mongerers want you to believe that we dont know wtf we are doing. just goes to show that constant irrational fear sells better than the truth.
  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Thursday July 19, 2007 @02:57PM (#19918111) Homepage
    ...when it said wireless in the data center. Yes, I've heard the theoretical figures for wi-fi. Try dropping a bunch of access points and various clients in tight proximity and see what it's really like. In a datacenter you can run 10x 10Gbps wires right next to eachother without problems. Can you do that with wireless? Hell no. I imagine the speeds quoted are ideal with free line-of-sight and no interference, good luck trying to achieve that in that bunch of wires. Personally I was fed up with wireless when I realized one AP couldn't even cover the ground floor of my parent's house. It'd take probably three to cover the whole house. Great... not.
  • 99% of all the CO2 in the atmosphere is natural, and we chalk up a change in climate to our 1% fluctuation, as if, that vast lion of 99% doesn't fluctuate on its own. So, why not worry about radiowaves in a radioactive universe.

We gave you an atomic bomb, what do you want, mermaids? -- I. I. Rabi to the Atomic Energy Commission