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Wireless Networking

New 'pCell' Technology Could Bring Next Generation Speeds To 4G Networks 120

An anonymous reader writes in about a possible game changer in wireless technology that embraces interference with great results: "It's one of those elegant inventions that only surface maybe once a decade. If it works at scale, according to IEEE Spectrum, it could 'radically change the way wireless networks operate, essentially replacing today's congested cellular systems with an entirely new architecture that combines signals from multiple distributed antennas to create a tiny pocket of reception around every wireless device.' This scheme could allow each device to use the full bandwidth of spectrum available to the network, which would 'eliminate network congestion and provide faster, more reliable data connections.' And the best part? It's compatible with 4G LTE phones, which means it could be deployed today." The idea is that an array of dumb antennas are deployed and a very powerful cluster computes signals that are sent from all of them which then appear to be a single coherent signal to only a single device. There's a short paper on the Distributed In Distributed Out technique, but it is a bit light on the mathematical details.
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New 'pCell' Technology Could Bring Next Generation Speeds To 4G Networks

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  • Explanation from TFA (Score:5, Informative)

    by tech.kyle ( 2800087 ) on Wednesday February 19, 2014 @02:31PM (#46288291)
    Should have been included in summary, imo.

    That’s where things get interesting. Say, for example, you play a YouTube video. The pCell data center would request the video from Google’s servers, and then stream it to your phone through those 10 antennas. But here’s the key innovation: No one antenna would send the complete stream or even part of the stream. Instead, the data center would use the positions of the antennas and the channel characteristics of the system, such as multipath and fading, to calculate 10 unique waveforms, each transmitted by a different antenna. Although illegible when they leave the antennas, these waveforms would add up to the desired signal at your phone, exploiting interference rather than trying to avoid it.

  • Re:Phased array. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 19, 2014 @02:33PM (#46288305)

    And, even if it only appears as a proper signal at one point, it's going to raise the noise floor for everyone.

  • Re:Phased array. (Score:5, Informative)

    by harrkev ( 623093 ) <kfmsd AT harrelsonfamily DOT org> on Wednesday February 19, 2014 @02:55PM (#46288563) Homepage

    True about the noise floor.. However, if this works as advertised, the net gain in one spot should overcome the generalized increase in the noise. For example, a 10 dB gain in local signal would be well worth even a 6 dB gain in overall noise.

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