On the way to work this morning I listened to Gee Rittenhouse, Lucent Technologies: The Future of Wireless Networking via the incredible IT Conversations (Douglas you *rule*, keep up the great work). Obviously since I'm a nut about mobile tech, this was an insanely interesting podcast to me. I was fascinated with everything Gee had to say and only disagreed once in that he downplayed the importance of mobile phones at one point. But since for most of the talk he used essentially nothing but examples of cellular connectivity, I thought it was pretty great and he was just being technologically agnostic.
One thing that I hadn't heard about before was the rise of MIMO, which stands for Multiple In, Multiple Out. What it means is that devices can now use multiple antennas on both the handset and base station to grow the data rates linearly. It was thought that adding antennas would need exponentially more power to get linearly higher data rates, but they've worked around those problems and now MIMO is being pushed in all upcoming wireless standards.
Gee talked about how Lucent has been driving around a New Jersey suburb where Bell Labs is located, testing the connections and are getting reliable 35-44 bits per second per hertz, as opposed to the half to 1 bit per second per hertz on current cellular networks. Where we can see 1 megabit per second in 1.25Mhz of spectrum (like a CDMA2000 channel), we can soon expect to see 30 megabits per second in that same type of spectrum. I can imagine that WCDMA which uses a broad 5Mhz wide band would see massive gains as well.
That's mind-blowingly cool.
I wonder if this has anything to do with the Super 3G stuff we heard about the other day? I'll have to look into it, but regardless, it's just great to know we're no where near the high-end of speed in wireless networks. It's just like finding out that Intel or AMD figured out yet another way to trump Moore's law, but this type of increase in speed could be much farther reaching. (No pun intended).
I'm not sure how I missed MIMO before! But as soon as I heard that phrase this morning, I was reading the web today and saw the news that NetGear is adding MIMO on Glenn's WiFi Networking news. Very cool. Not only did I learn a new term, what it was and why it was important, I immediately was able to grok a new announcement within minutes of learning about the technology.
Seriously... beat that NPR!
Update: More MIMO news over at DailyWireless.org.