Peter Cochrane writes about pice-cells being the future of mobile communications:

With conventional mobile telephone networks the cells generally span 3 to 25km, which turns out to be adequate for the density of handsets in most city, town and rural locations. But as the number of mobile devices proliferates we will need individual radio cells for the human body, inside the car, room, home, office, building, hotel, campus, street, village, town and so on.

A multitude of small digital radio units costing $50 screwed to the side of every house and office building connected to a PC, hundreds of cars and trucks carrying a similar capability, and every laptop, PC and PDA, all wireless-enabled, will see the emergence of a new form of mobile network. And in a curious, and counterintuitive, twist such networks will also demand more fixed optical fibre to cope with the clustering of people and devices.

What is required to achieve all of this? Only the allocation of spare frequency space, power limiting specifications to keep radio operation safe and interference free, and some really smart self-organising software.

Most of this technology is either available to buy today or currently under trial. Data rates in excess of 11Mbps look increasingly likely and the overall throughput surprisingly increases with the addition of more and more moving elements. As one community after another powers up, such networks will grow across complete geographic regions and an internet without the need for any formal network authority will be with us. Every few hours each element can check to see if it is still optimised relative to the overall net growth and in the event of an individual unit failing, traffic will automatically re-route and the net reconfigure to take account of the missing node.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.