Another try at broadband wireless

Another try at broadband wireless

Carrier-based RadioRouters won't require the cell infrastructure build-out that bankrupted the first broadband wireless pioneers, officials of Flarion Technologies Inc. predicted last week in a demonstration at the Federal Communications Commission. Flarion calls its shared-media RadioRouter technology 'an extension of existing IP networks.'

So-called third-generation wireless, with applications such as streaming video on handheld devices, has been slow to arrive largely because of cost. Flarion's router and antenna would go onto communications carriers' existing voice cell towers and blanket a four- to five-mile radius, said Raymond P. Dolan, president of the Bedminster, N.J., start-up.

A trial of the packet-switched radio technology is under way with an FCC license in the 700-MHz band, but the router works at frequencies from 400 MHz up to 4 GHz. The bandwidth drops to a minimum 384 Kbps at cell edges, officials said.

Users of the wireless service would switch their portable devices from wired to wireless IP networks by inserting an othogonal-frequency-division-multiplexing PC Card modem, known as flash-OFDM. They would stay connected even in moving vehicles, without changing their network protocols or applications, Dolan said.

According to a recent forecast by Technology Futures Inc. of Austin, Texas, wireless data service will largely displace wireline service by 2015.

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