Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Faster WiFi Coming To A House Near You

Just as 3G cellular service evolved to become 4G and will, no doubt, one day become 5G or greater, WiFi speeds are also about to undergo a dramatic change. Quantenna, a start up company, designed and built a new chip that will soon push gigabits of data through the air.

While cellular has increased, WiFi is still an order of magnitude greater with up to 54mb of speed or faster if you are willing to use non-standard equipment. In home use, this is already much greater than the bandwidth available from carriers, leading one to question the value of even higher speeds. If I am only getting 20mb of internet service from Verizon FIOS, for example, why do I need more than the current 54mb speed of my 802.11wireless access point?

The answer is in the increased number of IP enabled devices and the information exchange and control going on inside the modern home.

There are currently a myriad of wired and wireless means of communication among various environmental, comminication and entertainment systems. Your satellite or cable television box is connected to the home entertainment main unit by fiber optic cable for sound, by HDMI cable to a projector or large screen unit for video, and by coaxial cable to a data interface for your home computers. Speakers my be physically connected to the base unit or use wireless technology. Remote controls use infrared or radio. There are some phone wires mixed in there somewhere, too.

Motorola and others sell home control systems that interface to heating, cooling and lighting systems as well as security systems and monitors. Many home builders offer the option to pre-wire homes with all of the cabling and connectors needed by these systems.

The components of all these major systems are increasingly IP enabled. This means they will be capable of communicating over any internet channel and this is where the extremely high bandwidth devices will come into play. With gigabit rates, household devices will be able to share one big data network and exchange all types of data quickly and efficiently over the air.

With limitations of speed lifted, there are hundreds of applications that could be developed to simplify the daily operation of our homes, enhance efficiency and entertainment, and increase our enjoyment. Imagine never having to find the right type, style or length of cable to install something new.

You may even be able to "dock" your car when it pulls into the garage to synchronize your music collection or update the latest maintenance records with your home computer. Your cell phone, house phone and wireless earpiece would all seamlessly connect. Everything would have unfettered access to the internet for updates, maintenance and the ability to communicate when necessary.

Now, when we can eliminate the need for all the power cables, we will be done.

Captain Joe

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