I got an email today from Manfred Steiner about a technology from Mitsubishi called Moteran that's currently in trials. He gave me a link to this article in German (Googled Translation). A quick look on Google also came up with an article about it from last year in English:
Mitsubishi says that it has completed development of a prototype system consisting of an innovative relay-type mobile communications technology by outsourcing to Detecon, the engineering and consulting affiliate of Deutsche Telecom. Mitsubishi is to establish a joint venture company with Detecon in order to commercialize this technology.
Future mobile communications networks are expected to be based on self-organizing and de-centralized software, known as relay-type networks and are attracting the attention of communications network operators because they will reduce costs relating to the establishment of base stations and the enhancement of services.
What Mitsubishi has developed, is the prototype of a relay-type mobile communications technology, called Mobile Telecommunications Radio and Relay Network (MOTERAN). The basic patent has been already granted in Europe and Japan and has been applied for in major countries around the world. Unlike conventional mobile communications, MOTERAN allows each terminal to act as a relay point communicating with other terminals without the requirement for infrastructure, such as base stations or switches. This could be known as peer to peer networking.
Mitsubishi plans to establish a joint venture company with Detecon in Germany and the company's first activity will be to market the WLAN based software in autumn this year. With the WLAN version of MOTERAN, security and mobility functions not included in conventional WLANs will be implemented. However, it is not necessary to establish access points or access servers, which will enable significant reductions in introduction and maintenance costs for LANs. A prototype based on IEEE802.11b enabled transmission rates of about 2Mbps, although the transmission rates depend on RF part and MOTERAN itself can realize faster transmission rates and broadband communication.
MOTERAN software can be installed in end-user devices, such as laptops, PDAs and cellular phones. These devices themselves can then form self-organizing, de- centralized voice and data communications networks. Networks using MOTERAN do not need wired infrastructure, such as base stations or switches, or proprietary components. In addition, MOTERAN can economically supplement and expand not only MOTERAN networks, but also existing fixed and mobile communications networks.
So, this isn't cutting edge news that I can see from the translated article, however, I didn't know this existed so it's news to me! It's interesting since I was just reading how mesh networks are inherently more reliable and scalable, this adds quite the twist. I was thinking of Locust style meshboxes attached to the tops of poles or tall buildings... it never dawned on me that you can use the same system and attach the attenas on top of cars as well.
Very interesting, thanks Manfred!