Australia's CSIRO ties WiFi to analog TV antenna

The Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Research Organization (CSIRO) plans to introduce what it calls a breakthrough in WiFi technology that will enable multiple users to upload content concurrently while maintaining a data transfer rate of 12 Mbps over their old analog TV antenna.

Known as Ngara, the technology is designed to allow up to six users the occupy 7 megahertz of spectrum (the space of one television channel)  with spectral efficient of 20 bits per second per hertz.

"Someone who doesn't live near the fiber network could get to it using our new wireless system," CSIRO ICT center director Dr. Ian Oppermann said in a statement. "They'd be able to upload a clip to YouTube in real time and their data rate wouldn't change even if five of their neighbors also started uploading videos."

Australia's government is in the midst of turning off analog TV signals across the nation. The deadline for this to be completed is 2013. The Australian Communications and Media Authority plans to auction the analog TV spectrum, and the country's mobile operators want to use it to deploy LTE networks.

Gartner wireless research director Robin Simpson told ZDNet Australia that Ngara technology is specifically designed for rural areas but could also possibly compete with LTE in metropolitan areas.

"What I'm most interested in about it is that it is an ideal technology for remote and rural areas provided they already have TV, which a lot of them do. Wherever there's a broadcast tower, they can pop antennas for this new technology on that tower and reach the homestead through the existing tower," he said. "... The fact that they're re-using the analog TV stuff gives them a much easier market entry strategy."

The CSIRO was the first to develop WiFi technology that is widely used across the world today and currently holds the patent for the technology.

For more:
- see this ZDNet Australia article

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