Writes Forbes: “It is the bitter irony of America’s skies: Open airwaves are everywhere, yet the people desperate to use them cannot….Radio spectrum may be the most valuable natural resource of the information age, carrying every form of wireless communication, from FM radio to television to cell phone calls to Wi-Fi to military radar.”
Some of the new wireless technologies:
COGNITIVE RADIO: Today’s wireless devices jam up when they come across other signals. Cognitive radios can sense interference and jump to an empty frequency.
SOFTWARE-DEFINED RADIO: Most radios can receive and transmit one type of signal at one range of frequency. New gadgets can build basic functions out of software-a cell phone could regear to tap an incompatible network, and then turn itself into a garage-door opener or TV remote.
ULTRAWIDEBAND: By transmitting very low power radio signals across a huge range of frequencies, new gear can do an array of cool tricks, such as peering through solid objects (without the X ray’s radiation issues). Earlier this year the FCC passed new rules allowing limited use of ultrawideband devices.
MESH NETWORKS: This approach relies on cognitive radios to intelligently adapt networks, depending on how many people are onboard. As more users join in one area, their gear would cooperatively pass along signals to cut congestion.
RADIO-ON-A-CHIP: Intel just unveiled the ability to make full radios-from antennas to amplifiers-out of the same silicon wafers used for microchips. Intel hopes to have a radio in every chip it makes in five years.