New Wireless Technology is Cheaper, Faster

Loraine Lawson

Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, ultra-wideband: Is there room for one more short-range wireless technology?

Scientists at the Georgia Electornic Design Center think so -- particularly since two of those three are ill-suited to send large amounts of data, say high-definition video or large audio libraries.

And to that end, they've developed a way to send huge amounts of data very quickly over high frequencies, the 60 gigahertz band.

Why, oh why, would you need another way to send information wirelessly? According to this AP article, published on, there are four reasons:

  1. Unlike Wi-Fi, the 60 gigahertz band is unregulated, so you don't need the government's permission to use it.
  2. The range is short, less then 33 feet, so interference is unlikely. There's also a bit of security that comes with short-distance transmission; if you can secure your building, you can secure the transmission.
  3. Ultra-wideband has many of the same pros, but it's maximum speed is limited to 480 megabits thus far. That's about the same as a high-speed computer cable. The 60 GHz band offers higher speeds and is already clocked at transferring data at a rate of 15 gigabits per second from one meter.
  4. The best part: It's cheap. The Georgia center thinks it can convert these devices into chips that could easily be slipped into existing phones and computers. It's goal is to make these chips for $5, way below the tens of thousands of dollars you'd pay now for a specialized radio that sends and receives high-frequency signals.

Of course, the new technology wouldn't necessarily replace the old, but it could complement it -- and nicely.


So, how soon could this handy technology be ready? If the chip challenge can be overcome, the team hopes to offer the chip by 2009.

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