Thinking outside the box for network provision

  • Tiny Transmitter

    Picture by Alcatel-Lucont

    Proliferation of smart-phones and tablet traffic is resulting in the clogging up of wireless networks resulting in poorer service. To mitigate congestion, network providers have begun data throttling, targeting heavy users and slowing down transfer speeds, but this does not address the issue of capacity.

  • Enter the world famous Bell Labs who have created a miniature transmitter (6cm by 6cm) that can effectively handle as much traffic as an entire cell tower but in a compact area, such as a train station.
  • With mobile traffic expected to grow by a factor of 18-25 by 2016 expanding capacity is paramount and the miniature transmitter can achieve this while also reducing power loss by 50% and overall costs by 40%. From an implementation perspective the integration of transmitters with current networks avoids construction of additional towers, which require real estate and adds to overall radio interference.
This technology highlights the need for planners and regulators to re-think current systems. As technology advances old systems will need to adapt to changing conditions. Troubles plaguing the wireless network are not unlike those facing the energy network. Advancement requires novel thinking and innovative solutions, which most often derive from government investment into research and development.

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One Response to Thinking outside the box for network provision

  1. Dr M C Smith says:

    Of course the one thing we do know about communication is that extra capacity just creates more demand, meaning we just get congested again! The problem for government and industry has always been that technology changes so fast that it is difficult to plan for the future as it is too uncertain. Not sure whether we need novel thinking on this, or just greater contextual intelligence on the application of research.

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