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FCC Says Go for 'Super Wi-Fi' – Wi-Fi on Steroids

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 74 comments

Mild mannered wireless at night, SUPER WI-FI by day!

Wi-Fi is awesome. Just think of the days before Wi-Fi when you had to be tethered to the wall to get on the internet. For a desktop, it wasn't a big deal, but Wi-Fi has changed the way that we compute on laptops.

Things kicked off with 802.11b, and then Wireless G hit, which remains as today's most widely used standard. Wireless N routers and devices are now the current things on store shelves and will eventually overrun G.

While the gradual evolution is good, what Wi-Fi needs is a full revolutionary upgrade – and that's what is officially called Super Wi-Fi, which the FCC just approved.

The FCC has opened up the spectrum between 50MHz and 700MHz that were previously used for television signals. With TV having gone digital, that space has now been opened up for Super Wi-Fi.

The massive benefit to the spectrum between 50MHz and 700MHz over the currently used 2.4GHz is that the lower frequencies travel better through walls and for further distances. Instead of measuring your router's range in feet, Super Wi-Fi routers will be able to reach for miles. Range is the main benefit, as initial speeds will be at 15Mbps to 20Mbps.

Don't expect to get that sort of range in your personal router just yet though (even though it'd be great to browse on your own connection from the neighbourhood café), as the technology will likely first appear in industrial, corporate, government and medical applications.

Google and Microsoft were two big champions of Super Wi-Fi. Google posted a blog, expressing how pleased it was about the FCC paving the way for "Wi-Fi on Steroids."

Microsoft was also happy. Craig Mundie, the company's chief research and strategy officer, issued this statement to TechFlash:

“With this vote, the Commission is taking a forward-looking view of how to optimize spectrum allocation by capitalizing on evolving technologies. As a result, technology companies will be able to develop new applications that tap into the potential of white spaces networks. On Microsoft’s own campus in Redmond, WA, a prototype ‘White-Fi’ system delivers more economical broadband Internet access for employees traveling between buildings on the campus. The FCC’s decision will create opportunities for American companies to remain at the forefront of technological innovation.”

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Top Comments
  • 19 Hide
    amk09 , September 25, 2010 6:15 PM
    This is amazing.

    5-10 years down the road Wi-Fi will be as easy to get as a cellphone signal.
  • 11 Hide
    RabidFace , September 25, 2010 6:16 PM
    Was only a matter of time before we could access our OWN network
  • 11 Hide
    thillntn , September 25, 2010 7:06 PM
    This should help mainly rural areas that cannot get anything but dialup :) 
Other Comments
  • 6 Hide
    aaron92 , September 25, 2010 6:00 PM
    Boo ya!
  • 19 Hide
    amk09 , September 25, 2010 6:15 PM
    This is amazing.

    5-10 years down the road Wi-Fi will be as easy to get as a cellphone signal.
  • 11 Hide
    RabidFace , September 25, 2010 6:16 PM
    Was only a matter of time before we could access our OWN network
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , September 25, 2010 6:40 PM
    otoh, what about the new problem: picking up every router for miles and having to search for yours in the list.

    It would have to be limited. With that said, someone's bound to set up a giant nationwide wifi subscription network where you can access the internet from anywhere without any special cards or devices through your normal wifi connection. As long as they get a handle on dealing with network congestion, I'm all for it.
  • 5 Hide
    Trueno07 , September 25, 2010 6:53 PM
    This would be awesome for universities. Currently they run many many extenders all linked together, but imagine one router at the center of, say, a dorm quad or academic quad of some sort.
  • -4 Hide
    eklipz330 , September 25, 2010 7:03 PM
    this would be great in the city, and in colleges

    but my college is messed up... the students take off the antennae from the back of the computers, so it can't access the internet.. smh
  • 11 Hide
    thillntn , September 25, 2010 7:06 PM
    This should help mainly rural areas that cannot get anything but dialup :) 
  • 2 Hide
    joex444 , September 25, 2010 7:11 PM
    Yeah, just think of how great it would be for a university to put every one of their Wifi clients on the same router and access point.
  • 3 Hide
    drwho1 , September 25, 2010 7:22 PM
    this are great news, in a few years every city (even small cities) will have FREE WIFI for everyone. great news indeed.
  • 0 Hide
    annymmo , September 25, 2010 7:25 PM
    Overlap danger.
  • 2 Hide
    WarraWarra , September 25, 2010 7:31 PM
    Great, nice to see they caught up with the rest of the world.

    Okay so why not just use one of these for 200miles / 320km upto 108 Mbps connections ?

    LOL been there done that. Normal in Africa now arrived in USA via FCC finally.

    http://www.netkrom.com/prod_multi-band_backhaul_dual_radio.html
    Quote:
    * Multiple unlicensed and licensed bands from 180MHz to 6.1GHz (Choose the Frequency You Need!)
    * Data transfer rate up to 108 Mbps
    * Work as Base Station, HotSpot AP, Mesh AP, Wireless Client, Backhaul and Repeater
    * High power modules up to 1 Watt for long distance links up to 200 miles or 320 Km.
    * Long distance parameters and output power regulation
    * High CPU power for high-speed connection
    * Perfect design and characteristics for industrial outdoor use (waterproof)
    * Complete compatibility with any IEEE network and WiMAX
    * Advanced network functions (IP Routing, Firewall, DHCP, NAT, Bandwidth Management, QoS, etc)
    * Advanced security features WEP (64,128 bit), WPA1 & WPA2, AES.
    * Free NETKROM NMS - Network Management System
    * Carrier class radio for extreme environment -60 to 230C
    * Robust and Efficient MAC Layer
    * High packets per Second Performance
    * High TX Power and RX Sensitivity
  • -2 Hide
    WarraWarra , September 25, 2010 7:34 PM
    amk09This is amazing. 5-10 years down the road Wi-Fi will be as easy to get as a cellphone signal.


    Yup but GSM towers was last limited to effective 8km to 16km max in open areas so have to have lots of ugly towers closer to each other when in the mountains.
  • 0 Hide
    toastninja17 , September 25, 2010 7:36 PM
    Awwwhhh yeah man sweet! Thank you TV for going digital!! Kick ass too how it can better travel through walls and surfaces. And I can live with 15-20mbps. I don't usually get the peak in my area anyway. I just can't wait when this technology becomes commercially available to consumers, this is gonna rock!
  • -4 Hide
    Trueno07 , September 25, 2010 8:18 PM
    HaserathNow the Google cars don't have to drive down our street to get our info, thanks for helping our Google overlords take over faster.


    As long as apple, Microsoft, Google and Adobe join together I'm sure we'll be fine. (Adobe would ask everyone if they wanted to update)
  • 1 Hide
    theoutbound , September 25, 2010 8:34 PM
    Does this mean I will finally be able to upgrade from 56k to broadband? Super Wi-Fi to the rescue.
  • -3 Hide
    back_by_demand , September 25, 2010 8:46 PM
    In the UK there have been rumblings that when the old analogue TV signals are switched off to be replaced entirely with DVB, the old analogue transmitters could be used for internet. This seems like a step towards that idea.

    There is a problem however, you get you signal from a huge transmitter on a hill about 20 miles away - how the hell are you going to get a signal back to acknowledge packets or to upload? I sure down fancy having a 200ft pylon on top the house. You would either need a dedicated hard line as well, just for uploading, or upload via cellphone towers.

    Good idea so far, but it hasn't answered any questions yet, just presented new ones.
  • 0 Hide
    Mathos , September 25, 2010 9:18 PM
    back_by_demandIn the UK there have been rumblings that when the old analogue TV signals are switched off to be replaced entirely with DVB, the old analogue transmitters could be used for internet. This seems like a step towards that idea.There is a problem however, you get you signal from a huge transmitter on a hill about 20 miles away - how the hell are you going to get a signal back to acknowledge packets or to upload? I sure down fancy having a 200ft pylon on top the house. You would either need a dedicated hard line as well, just for uploading, or upload via cellphone towers.Good idea so far, but it hasn't answered any questions yet, just presented new ones.


    Actually It wouldn't be that bad... Have you ever used CB Radios? Those usually work well with a 3 foot whip antenna and have a range of close to 20 or 30 miles while in a moving vehicle. Plus obviously they don't require huge amounts of power output to work. Not to mention on a cloudy day with a lot of "skip" (bouncing signal off clouds) the range can go up to 200 miles. Note though that the freq's involved there are in the kHz range though.
  • -1 Hide
    the_krasno , September 25, 2010 9:40 PM
    City scale wi-fi, here we go!
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