pCell wireless broadband with cubic centimeter sized cells around antennas for massively shareable wireless spectrum

Steve Perlman, the serial Silicon Valley entrepreneur who brought us OnLive and WebTV, has announced a new wireless broadband technology called pCell.

The technology will enable full-speed wireless broadband to every mobile device, regardless of how many users are using the same wireless spectrum at once, Perlman promises.

Artemis Networks, has been working on the technology for a long time. Perlman first disclosed the technology, formerly known only as DIDO, a few years ago and is now launching it.

The new pCell technology will enable mobile data users to enjoy fast internet with no congestion, no dead zones, and no weak signals, according to Artemis. With pCell, mobile networking will feel like you’re on a fiber optic network, the company says.

The technology is compatible with standard LTE (Long-Term Evolution) devices such as the iPhone and Android mobile phones.

Under Perlman’s pCell system, interference from the cells is not an issue. Instead of blasting out a dumb signal across a given area, Perlman and his team of researchers have developed a smart transmission system. Their networking equipment locates a device like a smartphone and uses complex mathematical operations to create a unique signal—hence the personal cell idea—just for that device. The upshot of this is that you can place the pCell transmitters anywhere and not worry about their signals bleeding into each other. And instead of sharing a signal, each person gets to tap into close to the full capacity of the transmitter. “We believe this is the largest increase in capacity in the history of wireless technology,” says Perlman. “It’s like the wireless equivalent of fiber-optic cables.”

Artemis Networks is the company Perlman has formed to sell this technology. It’s in the process of putting pCell transmitters on about 350 rooftops in San Francisco, and Perlman is looking to work with a telco or technology company like Google (GOOG) or Microsoft (MSFT) to get a commercial service running in the fourth quarter. “We’ll do San Francisco first and then do New York, Chicago, Dallas, and other congested cities,” says Perlman.

To work properly, a company backing the pCell technology would need to build out a large data center in addition to deploying the transmitters. It’s in the data center where servers constantly crunch away on the algorithms that form the unique wireless stream aimed at each device. As people move about, the servers must keep recalculating and processing a new stream. Perlman expects that a single data center could satisfy the needs of a city like San Francisco.

SOURCES – Venture Beat, Business Week

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