Full speed mobile data and no deadzones with pCell technology (Video)

by: Jonathan FeistFebruary 21, 2014

Artemis pWave official press shots

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.

Artimas pCell pWave
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.

Artimas pCell pWave

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?

  • Shark Bait

    So does this use a completely new communications protocol ?? If so that would require devices to be fitted with a new type of radio , changing the whole industry, something carriers will never let happen.

    But let’s assume they do…… What does this solve that LTE advanced with dual MIMO antenna’s doesn’t, or whitespace WiFi.

    It all seems like magical marketing speak to me, that demo could have been pulled off on a good wifi connection! And how does making 1000’s of little cells speed up hand off, it must be awefull when moving.

    Anyway that’s my doubts, they’ll do well to shift the direction the industries already going !

    • Evan Lam

      In the article, it says that it is compatible with current LTE and 3G devices, but I do agree that it will be hard to change the mobile industry in this way at the current time.

    • joser116

      Did you NOT read the article? O.O

    • JC

      Small cells will generate a lot of handovers unless the pcell moves with you…
      don’t get me wrong. I am also very skeptical about this.

  • Xavier

    Didn’t they say the same with WiMAX and clear wire?

  • WestIndiesKING

    just seems too good to be true. The fact that the carriers havent jumped on this is skeptical to me. I will believe it when i see it

  • Dark_Laser

    If this is anything like beamforming, which is what this sounds like to me, won’t this do absolutely nothing for upload speeds?

  • Lawrence Johnson

    As I understand it, it is a “back-end” technology that will make unshared bandwidth available to current LTE and 3G phones (the phones that we have now). It’s a “bandwidth distribution” technology, not endpoint hardware.

    The real question is whether major carriers who have invested billions of dollars in the status quo will be willing (flexible enough) to embrace this very disruptive technology. Make no mistake… if this technology is viable in the large scale, the wireless company that bets wrong today will be tomorrow’s AOL.

  • Timmy

    How does it do in remote areas?

  • KB

    How is the latency handled? How do they expect to get a solid backend connection to 1000 pcells in what will be an already overcrowded area?