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IBM Networking The Internet

Wireless Video Transfers 100X Faster Than WiFi 147

coondoggie writes "Later today IBM plans to announce microprocessor chipsets that can wirelessly transmit high-definition video at extremely high speeds. 'IBM will do this by teaming with MediaTek to launch a joint initiative to develop these ultra fast chipsets.The companies will be developing millimeter wave (mmWave) radio technology — the highest frequency portion of the radio spectrum — 60 gigahertz rather than 2.4 gigahertz — and digital chipsets that enable at least 100 times higher data rates than current Wi-Fi standards.'"
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Wireless Video Transfers 100X Faster Than WiFi

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  • Walls (Score:5, Funny)

    by PineGreen ( 446635 ) on Monday October 22, 2007 @02:21AM (#21069507) Homepage
    First post: does it go through the walls? It's going to be difficult at these frequencies!
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Tuoqui ( 1091447 )
      I'm betting its useless through walls since 802.11a uses 5GHz band and it very reliant on line of sight (you might be able to put it through a single wall). There are good reasons to use these though like if you want to limit your WiFi to the inside of a building and such it might limit the range to an acceptable level outside where someone passing by on the road wont be able to pick up a wireless signal. Likewise using these ultra high frequency ranges may make it impossible for it to pass outside the hous
      • Re:Walls (Score:5, Insightful)

        by evilviper ( 135110 ) on Monday October 22, 2007 @05:32AM (#21070175) Journal

        if you want to limit your WiFi to the inside of a building and such it might limit the range to an acceptable level outside where someone passing by on the road wont be able to pick up a wireless signal.

        A very bad idea. You're likely to install it in a room with a window, which it will go through with no trouble and provide a strong signal to anyone outside, while you'll still struggle to get a signal in the next room (through a wall, not a window).

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward
          I was going to say: "The security is out the window", but you beat me to it.
        • Re:Walls (Score:5, Funny)

          by RadioElectric ( 1060098 ) on Monday October 22, 2007 @08:05AM (#21071059)
          Then the way to go would be to put it in one room and then knock holes in the walls for the signal to go through. Even better, if you could concentrate the signal into a smaller width of broadcast you'd need a smaller hole to fit the same signal strength through. For absoulute security and extra directional power (and thus smaller holes) you could put the signal into some kind of insulated metal rope and send it along that directly into the target device. Am I on to something here?
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Red Flayer ( 890720 )

        which would effectively be good if you wanted to design a system that neighbors could not catch what you're watching on their TV.

        What I want to know is how you are watching something on your neighbor's TV. Reminds me to keep my blinds closed -- if you can watch my TV from your house, I'm scared to think of what else you've seen.

        Then again, if you'd seen anything worth worrying about, you're probably still recovering from the horror. I am my own best defense against peeping toms.

      • by Detritus ( 11846 )
        The thing is from what I understand is that in order to get data from A to B more quickly you either need A) Multiple bands/More Bandwidth or B) Higher Frequency because you can switch states faster.

        The relevant parameters are bandwidth and signal-to-noise ratio, not the frequency.

    • Re:Walls (Score:5, Funny)

      by Linker3000 ( 626634 ) on Monday October 22, 2007 @05:05AM (#21070095) Journal
      I understand you get a better, more penetrating, signal using MONSTER gold-plated mm wave antennae. Apparently they produce signal waves using gold ions so any streamed video has sharper definition and crisper sound.

      There's a picture of one of these SupaAntennas here [istockphoto.com].

      The normal selling price is $99.99/pair but I can do two for only $49.99.
    • Parent shouldn't be moderated "funny". This thing should work through walls if it wants to go in most houses.
  • by Whiney Mac Fanboy ( 963289 ) * <whineymacfanboy@gmail.com> on Monday October 22, 2007 @02:21AM (#21069509) Homepage Journal
    Article is shithouse - light on detail beyond belief. Check out IBM's 60GHz page. [ibm.com]

    What you want to know: Practical limitation is 10M, useless through walls.
  • by DigitAl56K ( 805623 ) on Monday October 22, 2007 @02:25AM (#21069525)
    Is this different from the previously reported military use of millimeter wave [slashdot.org] in anything other than power? If so, what are the dangers, or is it supposedly safe?
    • by jank1887 ( 815982 ) on Monday October 22, 2007 @07:59AM (#21071007)
      difference = frequency (60GHz vs 95GHz). It's a coupling efficiency issue. One couples well to your nerve endings, creating a burning feeling, the other doesn't. It may also be safe to assume that in standard implementation, these would use omni (or near omni) antennas, not a focused beam targeted at a human target. But, the Pringles can types may have their own ideas.
  • Hmmm (Score:5, Informative)

    by xrayspx ( 13127 ) on Monday October 22, 2007 @02:27AM (#21069537) Homepage
    Wireless Video Transfers 100X Faster Than WiFi

    Philo Farnsworth called the technology Image Dissection. I hear they get pretty bitchin' range with it too. AFAIK it now also handles HD content.
  • Line of sight only (Score:5, Insightful)

    by scsirob ( 246572 ) on Monday October 22, 2007 @02:27AM (#21069539)
    60GHz signals do not travel through walls or anything else. You can't set up a central transmitter in your house and watch HD movies elsewhere. This is nice technology to 'beam' signals across a street or to prevent wiring mess in an ad-hoc meeting room, but it won't be a real WiFi replacement
    • by Spad ( 470073 )
      It's simple, you just drill a small hole in each wall to let the signal through; about 5.1mm should do it.
      • by DigitAl56K ( 805623 ) on Monday October 22, 2007 @02:45AM (#21069599)
        It's simple, you just drill a small hole in each wall to let the signal through; about 5.1mm should do it.

        And at that point it's better than using a cable because... ?
        • It's simple, you just drill a small hole in each wall to let the signal through; about 5.1mm should do it.
          And at that point it's better than using a cable because... ?

          It saves you the cable of course! I mean, it's not that easy to push a cable through a 5.1 mm hole in the wall.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by Whiteox ( 919863 )

            I mean, it's not that easy to push a cable through a 5.1 mm hole in the wall.
            Unless you use a 5mm cable.
        • by Hatta ( 162192 )
          You can't trip over radio waves. They don't get tangled either.

      • It's simple, you just drill a small hole in each wall to let the signal through; about 5.1mm should do it.

        of course, you could just leave the doors open ;-)

        • Leave the doors open? You do realize that HD porn will probably be the first thing viewed with such technology? Still want to have an open door policy?
    • by femto ( 459605 ) on Monday October 22, 2007 @02:50AM (#21069629) Homepage
      I would modify that slightly by saying 60GHz will travel through a typical office partition (with attenuation), so it's slightly better than line of sight (ie. infrared). Bricks walls are out, you might get away with a plasterboard wall. You probably can put a 60GHz access point on the ceiling of an open plan office and get a useful signal to each desk through a combination of propagation through light partitions, reflection and directional antennas. It will save having to wire an open plan office with ethernet. I know this because I was involved in a 60GHz project, that included a propagation study, in 1995. Google for the paper "A HIGH-SPEED WIRELESS LAN", IEEE Micro, 1997.
      • What about with lots of power and MIMO? Office environment has lots of reflectors...
        • by femto ( 459605 ) on Monday October 22, 2007 @04:43AM (#21070011) Homepage
          Perhaps. As you have pointed out, MIMO relies on a "rich" multipath channel with lots of reflectors. Above 10GHz the channel starts to move towards ray propagation, reducing the amount of multipath in the channel. This might reduce the effectiveness of MIMO. I said "perhaps" because an open plan office might be a special case due to the sheer number of metallic reflectors in range. I gather some research groups are performing the relevant channel measurements, but I haven't seen the results.
    • by ozamosi ( 615254 )
      But if my wifi chipset would support this, as well as 802.11a/b/g, it would lead to interesting possibilities. I'm thinking ad-hoc connections - let's say I'm at my friend's, and I have this DVD iso that we want to watch on his TV/HTPC. Currently, I can either transfer the file in 27Mbps (802.11g - "54Mbps - it's full duplex and 27 in each direction!"), or I can go find a cable and transfer it in 100Mbps. I hate cables, but for transfering files, I really need one currently. In a few years, we'll be using 8
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by marcansoft ( 727665 )
        But you can always just stream the content. 27Mbps is good enough for DVD and even decently compressed HD. 100Mbps Ethernet will stream HD without any trouble.
      • A high-speed, link-local network is created, the file is transfered as fast as my hard drive (obviously a solid state one - this is the future) can read, and we can watch the movie in no time. Without cables.

        This is a rather ignorant and VERY Microsoft-centric world-view... Use any other operating system, and you can start playing the video while it's being transferred.

        If your link can't transfer the video file faster than real-time, you might have to wait until some percentage of the file has been downloa

        • This is a rather ignorant and VERY Microsoft-centric world-view... Use any other operating system, and you can start playing the video while it's being transferred.

          Huh? Windows Media player starts playing most media file types as they download. It's been like that for years, at least as far back as I can remember Windows Media Player existing (Win 98?). I just verified it with an mpeg demo file at this link [bell-labs.com].

      • Currently, I can either transfer the file in 27Mbps (802.11g - "54Mbps - it's full duplex and 27 in each direction!")

        Most 54Mbps wireless networks do max out at about 30Mbps, but not for that reason. You miss out on the max speeds because of overhead from the 802.11 protocols and interference, not so much because it's flipping directions. If you've got 802.11b clients in the area, it can get even worse, dropping an 802.11g connection down to a practical throughput of about 15Mbps.

        Anyone who claims wireles
    • As it is line of sight: how about people walking around the room while watching? There must be a certain line in between the transmitter and the receiver - if someone walks or worse, sits in between those two points: no signal anymore! That doesn't sound very convenient to me. Wifi at least goes through a person. No need to turn around to get a better signal because the access point is behind you.

      Sounds like quite a concern to me. Especially as the aerials will be really small, so it will be really just a

    • by suv4x4 ( 956391 ) on Monday October 22, 2007 @03:57AM (#21069881)
      60GHz signals do not travel through walls or anything else. You can't set up a central transmitter in your house and watch HD movies elsewhere. This is nice technology to 'beam' signals across a street or to prevent wiring mess in an ad-hoc meeting room, but it won't be a real WiFi replacement

      Checkout my idea:

      We know power lines can carry data. So, you buy little transformer-like devices that take this wireless video signal, transform it and beam the data in the power network.

      Then you take another such transformer, and plug it in any socket at all in your house, or house around you even, which beams the data back to 60 GB wireless signal which hits your laptop, tv, console etc.

      Achieved benefits:

      1. no wires
      2. works through walls
      3. gigabits of bandwidth for your video and net
      4. potentially getting brain cancer and dying young, but that's not important.

      Well, what do you think? Can we file a patent here or what?
      • Sounds like a nice strategy to me, but last time I checked this PowerLine stuff was slower and less reliable than WiFi. No multi-gigabit connectivity there, unfortunately.
    • Also, I have to wonder what the power requirements of these chips will be. My cell phone currently drains itself exteremely quickly, when you're actually talking on it. Most cell phones get a maximum of 4 hours talk time. Same with my Laptop. Start doing heavy internet downloading, and the battery usage really drops. It seems to me that for watching video, it's much more efficient to just have it stored locally. Just download it from home, and put it on an SD card or the Harddrive.
  • by bpjk ( 305635 )
    At that frequency, the signal wouldn't penetrate walls very well, would it?
    • Re:Why? (Score:4, Informative)

      by jon287 ( 977520 ) on Monday October 22, 2007 @02:34AM (#21069557)

      At that frequency, the signal wouldn't penetrate walls very well, would it?


      At that frequency, the signal wouldn't penetrate PAPER very well. You can think of it (nearly correctly) as a very weak flashlight beam, much like a regular old TV remote. Only lots more picky about everything being just right.
  • Not *that* fast (Score:5, Informative)

    by egarland ( 120202 ) on Monday October 22, 2007 @02:37AM (#21069573)
    Since Wi-Fi is generally 11-54 mbit they're only talking 1-5 gbit. The mentioned use is for video so it sounds like they are trying to connect displays to devices that generate output, i.e. replacing a monitor cable. For comparison DVI is 3.7 gbit, DVI-D 7.4. Most likely they are talking about the 1-2 gbit range since if it was in the 5gbit range they'd probably have said so instead of 100x wifi. That data rate would only be useful for low-resolution displays like HDTVs, not for general purpose computer monitor use. The devices would likely need to be close to each other due to the high frequencies. It sounds like they may be targeting removing the cable requirements home theater systems or something similar.

    Personally.. I like cables for hooking up video. Wireless is buggy, snoopable, power hungry, and hard to set up (with 4 transmitters and 4 receivers, how to you configure what displays where?) Cables, while bulky and sometimes annoying have an incredibly easy UI. Plug one end here, the other end there, the things are connected. Want to change it? plug the wire in somewhere else.
    • Personally.. I like cables for hooking up video. Wireless is buggy, snoopable, power hungry, and hard to set up (with 4 transmitters and 4 receivers, how to you configure what displays where?) Cables, while bulky and sometimes annoying have an incredibly easy UI. Plug one end here, the other end there, the things are connected. Want to change it? plug the wire in somewhere else.
      And until they can beam the power, it's doesn't get rid of the need for wires anyway.
      • by tepples ( 727027 )

        And until they can beam the power, it's doesn't get rid of the need for wires anyway.
        The difference is that landlords are slightly more likely to permit pulling AC power wiring through the walls than to allow the same with Cat6 UTP wiring.
        • The difference is that landlords are slightly more likely to permit pulling AC power wiring through the walls than to allow the same with Cat6 UTP wiring.

          You've got some pretty odd landlords in your neck of the woods. Anybody who allows $RandomLuser to pull power cables through walls is asking for a nice, long visit with the local Fire Marshall or Insurance adjuster. Data cables are so much safer.

          • by tepples ( 727027 )

            You've got some pretty odd landlords in your neck of the woods. Anybody who allows $RandomLuser to pull power cables through walls is asking for a nice, long visit with the local Fire Marshall or Insurance adjuster.
            I might have been unclear. In the situation I imagine, the landlord allows an electrician to pull power cables. The same landlord allows nobody to pull data cables.
        • I'm talking about removing my flatscreen from the box, hanging it on the wall, pushing a button to turn it on, and then select a video source.

          Someday...
    • Personally.. I like cables for hooking up video. Wireless is buggy, snoopable, power hungry, and hard to set up (with 4 transmitters and 4 receivers, how to you configure what displays where?) Cables, while bulky and sometimes annoying have an incredibly easy UI. Plug one end here, the other end there, the things are connected. Want to change it? plug the wire in somewhere else.

      You have a point in that, as with any new technology, the first few iterations of wireless video will probably not work very smoot

      • Yep, this new fangled wireless technology is bound to take off soon. If only it was invented, say 100 years back so we could have some time to accommodate it into our technology.
      • I wouldn't know about that. WiFi has been around for some time now and I still really don't like it that much, I don't consider it mature yet.

        I think wireless video has been around for some time too.

        It's hard to say if this video link is worth it yet. A person wanting the appearance of no wires should weigh the cost of installing an in-wall wiring system and this. The in-wall system can be easily set up to handle power through a second cable without hurting people too, without much additional cost.
    • by aonaran ( 15651 )
      Low resolution like HDTV? I wish my PC could do 1920x1080 I'm stuck at 1280x1024 on my general purpose computer monitor.
      I really need an upgrade, but almost all the general purpose computer monitors out there are lower res than the HDTVs, and those that are better I think will be niche for a while as most folks seem happy with 1024x768 or less.

  • Errrrr (Score:4, Funny)

    by Zouden ( 232738 ) on Monday October 22, 2007 @02:40AM (#21069579)
    Isn't millimeter wave the technology in the pain-inducing raygun?

    Perhaps this is helps reduce the interference... no pesky animals between the transmitter and receiver!
    • by deander2 ( 26173 ) *
      Isn't millimeter wave the technology in the pain-inducing raygun?

      yep. all part of sony's "painful as possible" drm strategy. =P
    • Isn't millimeter wave the technology in the pain-inducing raygun?

      Don't all the bad movies lately cause enough pain without the transmition medium causing even more?

  • ...will it fry your brains this time? We already know WiFi and RFID are harmful to some extent, how bad will it be with even shorter wavelengths?
  • Nifty.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by scoot80 ( 1017822 )
    This is not going to replace WiFi, nor it is probably supposed to. However for applications such as wireless monitors/sound systems and anything else which is going to be in close vicinity to the transmitter, but requires high bandwidth, it might be useful. Do we see a super resolution wireless gaming mouse coming out soon??

  • by Bigjeff5 ( 1143585 ) on Monday October 22, 2007 @03:12AM (#21069705)
    They both seem to give the impression that the 60ghz wireless is a step up from WiFi, which it is not. It's more like a step up from your USB cable to a wireless equivalent. It will never be used for networking computers for the same reason USB cables will never be used for networking. They have a few severe limitations that prevent this from ever happening. The biggest problem is the fact that ANYTHING in the way blocks the signal. It can't even penetrate skin more than a millimeter or so as far as I know.

    The real deal is this is going to make things like video cables and other short connections to computers and devices pretty much obsolete. I personally can't wait till you can stack a few stereo, video, and game devices on top of each other, plug them into the wall, turn them on and they all connect together. Combine this with the wireless power that's going to be coming out in a few years, and things are gonna be pretty pimpin.
  • I'm under the impression that the higher the frequency, the greater the risk of cancer because the transmissions pack more energy.

    Is that true? Or do only certain frequencies cause cancer?
    • incorrect. the frequency and the amount of energy the beam contains are 2 different things.

      It's all about dosage and wave length. the stronger the transmitter the more exposure you get to the radio frequency it's putting out and that means more danger of one of it's wave lengths causing a cell to mutate. the wave length itself is what mostly dictates how dangerous a transmitter is, because the wave length needs to be small enough knock an electron off it's parent nucleus and cause it to spin off and join a

      • Re:Cancer risk? (Score:5, Informative)

        by fnj ( 64210 ) on Monday October 22, 2007 @05:28AM (#21070155)
        You're right that frequency and power are different. Mutations require ionizing radiation; basically alpha/beta/gamma rays, neutrons, cosmic rays, etc. Well into the ultraviolet is about the lowest frequency that can be mutationally dangerous - somewhere around 10E-8 m, or thousands of times higher frequency than millimeter wave RF.

        All millimeter wave RF can do is heat objects. It can do this promptly and well below the surface. With enough power, it can kill you pretty quickly by simple heating, but that's all. With a well focused beam, your brain could be literally cooked basically before you notice it. But practically speaking there is no intensity or duration of microwaves that causes mutations.
      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        there by damaging a cells DNA and possibly causing cancer.

        DNA damage isn't the only way of causing cancer.
    • by m2943 ( 1140797 )
      There are two kinds of radiation: ionizing and non-ionizing. For ionizing, it's dosage and energy that matter, but not narrow frequency ranges. For non-ionizing radiation, nobody really knows yet.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Eivind ( 15695 )
      Sort of. Higher frequencies mean more energy in each photon. True. At some point the energy in a photon is sufficient to break up complex molecules, true. Molecules being destroyed in your body include the risk of DNA or other important molecules in your cells suffering damage, which leads to increased cancer-risk. True.

      BUT, and this is a large BUT, the frequency of where this happens is a long way away from mm-wave, and fairly well-known.

      We bathe in this thing called visible light every day. Visible light
    • by Hatta ( 162192 )
      Yes, higher wavelengths cause cancer. We're still talking radio here. Visible light is even higher frequency than this, and no one freaks out about it. You have to get to the UV range before there's any real risk.
  • http://capitalpress.com/Main.asp?SectionID=94&ArticleID=35165 [capitalpress.com] http://crunchgear.com/2007/05/21/dangers-of-wi-fi-should-be-reevaluated-possibly-more-harmful-than-previosuly-indicated/ [crunchgear.com] And about a zillion other articles debating the harmfulness of all the various wireless technologies. Of course you will always find a study that counters the previous one. Still, things like cellphones heating up body tissue are undebatable, long time studies aren't available for modern technologies, for obvious reasons.
    • by hrvatska ( 790627 ) on Monday October 22, 2007 @05:02AM (#21070085)
      Neither one of those links could be considered source material for the harmful effects of this sort of tecnology. The first one [capitalpress.com] reports on increased cancers at the site where RFID chips are implanted. It's not about exposure to radio energy so much as it is about having a radio receiver implanted in the body. The second one [crunchgear.com] doesn't offer up any facts related to the harmfulness of wireless technology. It's purely a specultative 'what if fluff' piece. Got anything better?
      • Well, whether the radiowave is harmful or not obviously depends on its intensity. Cancer developing from RFID chips inside the body may not be directly linked to WiFi, but it does show that higher dosages seem to be more harmful. Knowing that the shorter the wavelength, the more energy is needed to reach a certain distance, we can conclude that shorter wavelength technologies do at least bear the risk of being more harmful. I'm not a physician, but there's a plethora of information about WiFi/cellphones bei
        • Considering that having an RFID chip implanted in the body does not increase exposure, I'm not sure how the RFID article demonstrates anything about increased exposure. The issue of the medical dangers from implanted RFID was covered in a previous /.article [slashdot.org].You don't need to be a physiscian to post relevant links. I was questioning the relevancy of you're links.
          • I don't think Slashdot articles are any more relevant than any other site posting brief articles about some scientific study. The study itself might be more relevant, but they're often hard to get to publicly. However, I do think that having a chip inside you actually does increase exposure. Normally, high frequency radio might be absorbed very early in the outer skin. For the RFID chip in order to make sense, the radio must penetrate at least as deep as the chip itself, thus has to be more powerful, theref
            • The /. article linked to a Washington Post article that was easily accessed by clicking on a link. The /. article was followed by a ton of posts that had relevant information and links on the health risks of RFID. The tags being implanted in animals are passive tags that operate in the low frequency range. Whether or not the tag is implanted exposure still occurs, so again, I don't see how RFID tags increase exposure. It's not as if the chips some how concentrate radio waves, with the implant area receiv
  • Let's just hope that this wireless solution is cheaper than the ridiculous pricing of the HDMI cable out there, because the only purpose of this solution is to replace the HDMI cable.
    • by JLennox ( 942693 )

      Let's just hope that this wireless solution is cheaper than the ridiculous pricing of the HDMI cable out there, because the only purpose of this solution is to replace the HDMI cable.

      Stop buying from Best Buy [bestbuy.com] and start buying from Newegg. [newegg.com] You'll see a bit of a difference.

      24K gold-plated connectors enhance conductivity, resist corrosion and provide high-quality signal transfer

      It's digital. The signal gets through, or it does not.

  • Chipsets emitting wireless signals?

    I'll bet that not too long after they start putting these chipsets in laptops, some idiot will sue IBM saying that the chip signal radiation made him impotent.

    Hey, it's AMERICA..... People actually do stuff like that.

    However, for those that want protection from the signal radiation, I *do* carry lead underwear. If you are worried about overheating/exploding batteries, check out my line of asestos/kevlar-blend undergarments.
  • Excuse my ignorance, but how is this different from / better than TV?

  • Man, I totally blew it, setting up the house networking equipment in house we're building (ordered Apple WAP and Netgear Gig switch; ran Cat6 cable to main rooms). I might end up losing a geek ranking if this gets out on the web.
  • There's no need to go to 60 GHz for this. Amimon [amimon.com] already has a chipset that transmits low latency HD video on the 5GHz unlicensed band. It uses a combination of MIMO [wikipedia.org] and Joint Source-Channel Coding [utdallas.edu].
  • Isn't this the same frequency range [wikipedia.org] that let's you see through clothes? And it's specifically for transmitting hd video?

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