Mild mannered wireless at night, SUPER WI-FI by day!
Wi-Fi is awesome. Just think of the days before Wi-Fi when you had to be tethered to the wall to get on the internet. For a desktop, it wasn't a big deal, but Wi-Fi has changed the way that we compute on laptops.
Things kicked off with 802.11b, and then Wireless G hit, which remains as today's most widely used standard. Wireless N routers and devices are now the current things on store shelves and will eventually overrun G.
While the gradual evolution is good, what Wi-Fi needs is a full revolutionary upgrade – and that's what is officially called Super Wi-Fi, which the FCC just approved.
The FCC has opened up the spectrum between 50MHz and 700MHz that were previously used for television signals. With TV having gone digital, that space has now been opened up for Super Wi-Fi.
The massive benefit to the spectrum between 50MHz and 700MHz over the currently used 2.4GHz is that the lower frequencies travel better through walls and for further distances. Instead of measuring your router's range in feet, Super Wi-Fi routers will be able to reach for miles. Range is the main benefit, as initial speeds will be at 15Mbps to 20Mbps.
Don't expect to get that sort of range in your personal router just yet though (even though it'd be great to browse on your own connection from the neighbourhood café), as the technology will likely first appear in industrial, corporate, government and medical applications.
Google and Microsoft were two big champions of Super Wi-Fi. Google posted a blog, expressing how pleased it was about the FCC paving the way for "Wi-Fi on Steroids."
Microsoft was also happy. Craig Mundie, the company's chief research and strategy officer, issued this statement to TechFlash:
“With this vote, the Commission is taking a forward-looking view of how to optimize spectrum allocation by capitalizing on evolving technologies. As a result, technology companies will be able to develop new applications that tap into the potential of white spaces networks. On Microsoft’s own campus in Redmond, WA, a prototype ‘White-Fi’ system delivers more economical broadband Internet access for employees traveling between buildings on the campus. The FCC’s decision will create opportunities for American companies to remain at the forefront of technological innovation.”