Artemis Networks has announced their new pCell technology, which they say can provide full 4K video to every TV in New York city using just 10MHz of spectrum. Compatible with current LTE and 3G devices, small pWave radios would be distributed throughout an area that create a “Personal Cell”(or pCell) of connectivity for each user, providing full data speeds to everyone.
The founder of the defunct game streaming service OnLive, Steve Perlman, is the owner and man behind Artemis. In an unveiling at Columbia University, Perlman explains that the current US cellular infrastructure is already overloaded, pointing out that the average data rate for users actually dropping in 2013. He goes on to point out other flaws in the current mobile spectrum, including deadzones, latency, interference between towers and problems with handoffs between towers when on the move.
One of the key methods that pCell technology offers improvement over current cell towers is in deployment geography. Current cell towers actually conflict with each other in locations of overlapping radio signals. It is difficult to optimally position towers for best coverage with the least amount of signal overlap. This is not so for pCell, as it is specifically designed to improve connectivity as signals overlap, so the more devices the better with no need for deadzones.
The best part of pCell’s overlapping signal benefits is that the network expands linearly, meaning the more pWave radio towers the better. This is great news for areas with dense user population, like a crowded apartment complex, schools and sports arenas.
In the unveiling, and in the video below, Perlman demos the technology by showing off 8 phones streaming 1080p video simultaneously. In a second demo, two pc’s stream 1080p video while two 4K video streams are put to separate 4K TVs. All are impressive achievements coming out of the one pWave radio in the demonstrations.
The project used to be called DIDO – Distributed Input, Distributed Output, which they say is a basic description of how pCell actually works. pCell is a synthetic cell, representative of a single miniature cell data area, as opposed to the existing larger cell data areas of current cell towers. Operation is dependent on connecting to a Linux driven data center, which computationally handles the data distribution.
Compatibility with LTE and 3G ensures that all current devices can connect when in range of a pWave radio, and fall back to LTE or 3G when leaving the pCell area. Further, a specific pCell radio built into a mobile device could run using as little as 1/25th the amount of power consumption needed for a WiFi radio. Lower power usage equals longer battery life, and that is a good thing.
Artemis has been in testing and expects to deploy commercially in San Francisco by as early as the end of the year, and further talks have begun in New York city.
Let me leave off with their promo video.
Do you find the need for improved cellular connectivity in your area?