pCell: The Mobile Internet of the Future?

pWave boxes

pWave boxes

Internet connection speeds have shot up in the past decade and many people now take for granted the almost instantaneous page loads that they enjoy. Add to this 3G and now 4G and we’re rapidly becoming a truly connected world.

However, not all of us in the UK can yet get 4G and the government’s plans to bring superfast broadband to every corner of the country has been beleaguered with one issue after another. As of last September, around 800,000 people still used dial up in the more remote areas of Britain and whilst BT removed its dial up service at that time, it’s thought that those without access to broadband could still connect through PlusNet, a subsidiary owned by BT.

All is not lost though, as a new technology has emerged in the States which promises to outdo 4G and superfast broadband speeds. Before you get too excited, it’s worth pointing out that it’s unlikely we’re going to see the technology on this side of the pond anytime soon.

That doesn’t make the technology any less exciting though, especially since in tests, it has reached speeds that allowed instantaneous streaming to 8 devices at once using a fraction of the spectrum that it intends to – the 2,000-2,020MHz and 2180-2,200MHz blocks. That essentially means that the technology could produce wireless internet speeds of up to 1000 times faster than 4G.

Getting Things into Perspective

The technology has come about due to startup Artemis working on a new wireless standard known as pCell. The company intends to use a new type of radio technology which exists in a higher spectrum than the current LTE 4G services use.

Recently, Artemis announced that it had found a partner in the wireless space, which according to reports is Dish Network. It’s thought that the latter will help Artemis to deploy the technology in a trial in San Francisco at the end of this year. Yes, 2014.

What’s interesting about Dish Network is that it owns large blocks of the necessary spectrum to deploy the technology and has reportedly spent “billions of dollars over the last few years” doing so. Dish Network now apparently owns enough of the rights to be able to launch a service all over the US.

4K Wireless Video, No Problem

Artemis has carried out a number of demonstrations to show off pCell which have shown that the technology is capable of delivering 4K quality video. This is something that many existing US DSL and cable companies can’t handle, so you would imagine that many of the big players might be getting a tad worried.

If all of that wasn’t enough to get the cable and comms companies worried then the fact that the technology is also cheaper to roll out should be. According to Artemis, necessary ‘pWave’ installations are substantially lower than those of a cellular tower as there is no need to install fibre cable. Basically, pWave uses ‘line of sight’ which can beam data from one pWave box to another when they are installed near each other.

Want to find out more? Check out the video below of the Columbia University demonstration.