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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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  • FTFA (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SighKoPath ( 956085 ) on Thursday July 19, 2007 @02:07PM (#19917617)

    Pinel is quick to point out that a multi-gigabit wireless system would present no health concerns as the transmitted power is extremely low, in the vicinity of 10 milliwatts or less and the 60 GHz frequency is stopped by human skin and cannot penetrate the body. The team admits that the fact that multi-gigabit transmission is easily stopped means that line-of-sight is essential, and this could be a stumbling block in practical settings.
    Doesn't this make it being wireless kinda pointless? It's like a wired connection where you can't step over the cable or drill a hole through the wall!
  • by MontyApollo ( 849862 ) on Thursday July 19, 2007 @02:08PM (#19917631)
    Could this kind of bandwidth run a remote display?

    I always thought it would be cool to have a pad that was nothing more than a screen and input device that you could carry around the home instead of a full-fledged laptop. You would be actually "running" your powerful desktop off basically a second screen that you could carry around with you in the house.
  • by orclevegam ( 940336 ) on Thursday July 19, 2007 @02:29PM (#19917929) Journal

    but that's not really the same as saying that we will now saturate the biosphere with radiation of our own making.

    As opposed to all that radiation saturating the biosphere not of our own making? You do realise that light is radiation right? Also, in case you're worried about all the terrible WiFi access points, your average 60 watt bulb puts off far more energy (radiation) than any WiFi AP in use. Now, admittedly, not all radiation has the same effect on everything (such as UV), but the key thing with EM radiation like light and radio waves is the total power and the distance from the source. Remember, power dissipates with the square of the distance, so if you're anything but sitting on top of the transmitter, and even then if it's relatively low power, you've got more to worry about standing outside on a sunny day. The fact that they're talking about such short distances with this tech leads me to believe this will probably be a very low power device, much the same as bluetooth and RFID are.

  • by physicsnick ( 1031656 ) on Thursday July 19, 2007 @03:42PM (#19918623)
    UHF frequencies (millimeter waves and microwaves) cannot cause cancer. The photon energy is not high enough to break chemical bonds in biological tissue.

    When a chemical bond is formed (say, in DNA), a certain amount of energy is released. To break that bond (and cause cancer), you need to put that energy back. The catch is, because of quantum mechanics, the energy can't be accumulated. You can't pile in more and more photons until it finally snaps; you have to get one big photon to come in and snap it. When you state the frequency of a photon source (e.g. 60 GHz), that indicates the energy of each individual photon (0.00024 eV). Typical bonds in DNA are on the order of hundreds of eV. It's physically impossible for this to cause cancer.

    Even if you put your cat in a microwave oven, it won't get cancer (though it will die a pretty horrible death).

    The danger with electromagnetic waves is heat and depth. UHF electromagnetic waves have far less energy per photon than visible light (~2.5 eV), but they have much greater depth penetration. They go deeper before they collide with your molecules, so they deposit heat deeper into your flesh than visible light or UV radiation. This is why putting your cat in a microwave is very bad; it essentially gets "cooked from the inside out". But the energy outputted by wireless devices is barely enough to cause even measurable changes in the temperature of human flesh. How much heat can you apply to a glass of water with a 1.5 V AA battery? Not much. Now spread that out spherically in a 100 meter radius. Almost zero.

    Even then, biological organisms are very good at regulating their temperature; humans live across a wide variety of climates all across Earth, and yet still manage to balance their internal temperature.

    Hence, UHF communications are not dangerous.
  • by BlueParrot ( 965239 ) on Thursday July 19, 2007 @04:54PM (#19919301)
    It doesn't make any sense to make a network card emit microwaves at intensities similar to microwaves because not only would you get a huge power consumption, it is also massive overkill unless you plan to search the sky for stelth bombers. The FCC ( or local equivalent ) would probably have a few things to say about it as well. The scaremongering about radiation from comunications equipment is simple unbeleivable. You are more likely to get hurt from tripping in a cat5e cable.

Life in the state of nature is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. - Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan