Intel coming in the air tonight

Intel has come up with a new form of ultra-high-speed wireless tech which lets small base stations handle shedloads of data.

The technology is based around Chipzilla’s modular antenna arrays.

Intel has prototyped a chip-based antenna array that can sit in a milk-carton-sized cellular base station. If it works, and Intel claims that it does, the technology could turbocharge future wireless networks by using ultrahigh frequencies.

The tech is a millimeter wave modular antenna array, and will be shown off today at the Mobile World Congress conference in Barcelona, Spain.

It takes ultrafast capabilities that Samsung and researchers at New York University demonstrated last year using benchtop-scale equipment and packs it into a box-sized gadget. Cities would be carpeted with such small stations with one every block or two—and be capable of handling huge amounts of data at short ranges.

One cell could send and receive data at speeds of more than a gigabit per second over up to few hundred metres far more at shorter distances. It knocks the socks off 4G LTE which can only manage 75 megabits per second.

Both the Intel and Samsung technologies could eventually use frequencies of 28 or 39 gigahertz or higher. These frequencies are known as millimeter wave and carry far more data than those used in mobile networks. The downside is that they are easily blocked by objects in the environment.  Even rain can stuff them up.

To get around the blockage problem, processors dynamically shape how a signal is combined among 64, 128, or even more antenna elements, controlling the direction in which a beam is sent from each antenna array, making changes in response to changing conditions.

Intel says its version is more efficient than what has been seen so far.

It can scale up the number of modular arrays as high as practical to increase transmission and reception sensitivity.

If Chipzilla is right, the only barriers to the technology are regulatory not technological.