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Mesh radio

There has been a lot of interest recently in ways to get broadband Internet connections into homes that avoid having to dig up miles of road. Attempts to provide wireless broadband connections have not been successful, at least in Britain, because of the cost and difficulty of setting up yet another network of transmission masts. A scheme invented by a Cambridge firm, Radiant, gives hope for a cheaper and neater solution. Instead of connecting each subscriber individually to a central provider, each is linked to several other subscribers nearby by low-power radio transmitters; these in turn are connected to others, forming a network, or mesh, of radio interconnections that at some point links back to the central transmitter. As each subscriber’s station is short-range and can be directional, the amount of power needed for the connection is small — less than one watt. A pilot scheme has been organised in Cardiff for sometime early this year.

Mesh radio achieves nearly 100 per cent cover by turning each home into a mini base station. A stubby unit on the roof hides four directional antennas with motors that automatically align them with other antennas on other houses.

New Scientist, Nov. 2001

Mesh radio is one of those technologies that is so obviously an excellent idea that the market should be huge.

IT Week, Nov. 2001

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Page created 27 Apr 2002