Quantum Tunneling Creates Fast Lane For Wireless

Star Wars on your iPod in 2.5 seconds

4 min read

Until recently, a truly wireless existence was beyond what silicon circuits could offer. The bands of the radio spectrum, such as Wi-Fi, that they could reach were too narrow to connect a high-definition TV to a high-definition DVD player. The chips that could do the job, made with exotic semiconductors, were too expensive for consumer electronics. But in the last two years, silicon circuits finally broke into the 60-gigahertz band, which has been shown to allow data-transfer rates of 5 gigabits per second over a distance of 5 meters.

Sixty-GHz radios, based on silicon or silicon-germanium chips, are expected to be integrated into TVs, set-top boxes, and other media-linked devices starting in 2009. But a new dark-horse candidate has emerged that claims to be able to make cheap 60-GHz technology without using any semiconductor materials at all--silicon or otherwise.

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The Cellular Industry’s Clash Over the Movement to Remake Networks

The wireless industry is divided on Open RAN’s goal to make network components interoperable

13 min read
Photo: George Frey/AFP/Getty Images

We've all been told that 5G wireless is going to deliver amazing capabilities and services. But it won't come cheap. When all is said and done, 5G will cost almost US $1 trillion to deploy over the next half decade. That enormous expense will be borne mostly by network operators, companies like AT&T, China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone, and dozens more around the world that provide cellular service to their customers. Facing such an immense cost, these operators asked a very reasonable question: How can we make this cheaper and more flexible?

Their answer: Make it possible to mix and match network components from different companies, with the goal of fostering more competition and driving down prices. At the same time, they sparked a schism within the industry over how wireless networks should be built. Their opponents—and sometimes begrudging partners—are the handful of telecom-equipment vendors capable of providing the hardware the network operators have been buying and deploying for years.

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