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Sunday, 14 March 2010 10:33

Singapore researchers promise "zero cost" ultra-high-speed mobile broadband

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As bandwidths on wireless broadband networks continue to increase claims that wireless technology will seriously undermine the viability of FTTH broadband networks get louder. Now a Singapore University has announced a research project that aims to take wireless networks to a new level of throughput.

Researchers at Singapore's Nanyang Technological University have embarked on a research project that that they say aims to "bring the speed and quality of wireless network communications up to par with that of wired communications'¦[and] to develop wireless devices that offer ultra-high-speed mobile broadband services at virtually zero cost to the user!"

NTU has teamed up with US company, National Instruments (NI) "to develop the next-generation wireless communication technologies which are cheaper, faster, more reliable and more pervasive."

They have signed an MoU for the NTU-NI Wireless Research Programme under which National Instruments will provide $S2.07m ($A1.61m) worth of equipment that will be installed at the Positioning and Wireless Technology Centre (PWTC) in NTU's School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering (EEE).

The next development of cellular technology, LTE-Advanced has been demonstrated delivering 1Gps downstream. However this required 60MHz of spectrum, and was to a single user.

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The FTTH camp counters such examples by pointing out the finite nature of spectrum and the fact that supporting more and more users with every greater bandwidth means limiting the number of users on the spectrum by having small cells - which need to backhauled, most likely over fibre.

The NTU has given almost no information has been given on how it proposes to overcome these limitations, except that "a key goal of the research programme is to develop future wireless communication protocols."

However, PWTC's programme director for wireless network research, assistant professor Ting See Ho, said his team aimed to develop "the next generation of wireless communication technologies that are able to relay radio signals and scan for available 'holes' in airwaves without interfering with the incumbent users."

He boasted that: "This project will not only bring about a technology breakthrough; it will also have a profound impact on current business models and inspire new designs for various wireless applications for the benefit of both mass-market and military users."

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