New 4G Uses Garage Door Opener Airwaves
Customers in rural Florida are getting the world's first commercial test of an alternative 4G network, designed to use wireless frequencies more efficiently.
CREDIT: xelena | Shutterstock.com
One Florida telecom company will now send 4G wireless signals over the same wavelengths that carry garage door opener and baby monitor signals. The baby-monitor 4G will test a technology that may become necessary in the future, if the demand for mobile data outstrips available airwaves, MIT's Technology Review reported. The new network also tests a way to bring 3G and 4G wireless to rural areas in the U.S., which aren't well covered by major wireless carriers such as AT&T and Verizon.
With Americans' increasing use of smartphones, tablets and other devices, experts are worried about running out of airspace to carry those signals. U.S. Federal Communications Commission chairman Julius Genachowski has talked about it, as has a recent White House report. By sharing airwaves and by tapping frequencies not usually used by cellphone companies, Northeast Florida Telephone hopes to make more efficient use of the electromagnetic waves available to wireless devices.
The $2.4 million Florida project is the first commercial test of tech that is able to switch between wireless frequencies, searching for some free space, Technology Review reported. Before now, such "cognitive radio" tech was available only to the military.
The new 4G will serve 8,000 customers in rural Baker County. It shouldn't interfere with Baker County residents' garage doors, cordless landline phones and other appliances. The network, developed by a Florida startup called XG Technology, is able to switch away from a frequency within 20 milliseconds if it senses another device needs the frequency.
Northeast Florida Telephone and XG Technology aren't the only companies searching for wireless solutions. Technology Review reported on several other efforts and ideas, all aimed at making sure Americans have plenty of access to high-speed wireless data connections in the coming years.
Source: Technology Review