Fast broadband via TV antenna
Australian research body CSIRO aims to turn old analog TV antennas into wireless data receivers, offering up to 12Mbps download speeds.
The government organization, one of the pioneers in Wi-Fi, today unveiled its Ngara wireless technology, which using beam-forming transmission techniques.
Any rural property capable of receiving an analog television signal today would be able to use the technology through a new set-top box.
CSIRO said Ngara would enable multiple users to transmit simultaneously without compromising individual transfer rates of 12Mbps.
The technology could be used to provide connectivity to the 7% of Australia's population that are too remote to reach via fiber during the NBN rollout. NBN Co plans to use both wireless and satellite technologies to connect these places.
Ngara achieves spectral efficiency more than ten times the industry's minimum standard, CSIRO ICT center director Ian Oppermann said. Six users can be served with 12Mbps connections in the space of one 7MHz television channel, representing an efficiency of 20 bps per Hz.
Analog television services in Australia are currently being switched off in phases, with the last signal due to go dark in late-2013.
The process will free up a contiguous block of spectrum from 694MHz and 820MHz, although regulator ACMA currently plans to follow ITU guidelines and use most of this frequency range for LTE.
CSIRO is also developing wireless backhaul using the same technology, aiming to combine isolated available channels into a single link ten times faster than current technology provides.
CSIRO drew international attention last year when it scored hundreds of millions of dollars from IT heavyweights such as Microsoft, Intel and Dell in a settlement to a patent battle over the 802.11 wireless standard.