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Wednesday, 08 February 2006 21:53

The Holy Grail of wireless

It sounds like the holy grail of radio communications: a technology that can carry very high bandwidth data signals at very low power over many kilometres using spectrum already occupied by conventional transmission technologies, but this is exactly what one US company claims to have achieved.

xG Technology says is revolutionary broadband wireless technology, xMax, has passed FCC tests and will be available in commercial products by mid 2006.

The technology is claimed to achieve its throughput by transmitting across a very wide range of frequencies (which could be licensed to other users) but at power levels so low that it causes no interference. It is able to use these transmissions for data by means of a 'co-coordinating' signal transmitted in a conventional narrowband channel.

xG Technologies says that xMax will deliver 40 Mbps over 25kms using less than one watt of power. Last November it staged its first public demonstration, transmitting a 3.67Mbps signal more than 40kms using only 35milliwatts of RF output power.

Last week the company announced that the equipment used in that demonstration had been tested by an FCC authorised laboratory and found to be compliant with the bandwidth requirements for operation within the unlicensed 900MHz instrumentation scientific and medical (ISM) band. In the US this band is 908-928MHz, in Australia it is only 918-926MHz.

In a separate announcement the company said that an xMax unit had been used to transmit full motion video over a distance of 30 metres using only 300 nanowatts of transmitted power (0.0000003 watts). "By comparison, typical 802.11 WLAN technology transmits up to 3 million times more power," said Joe Bobier, principal inventor of the xMax technology.

Rick Mooers, chief executive officer of xG said that xMax products would be ready for market by the end of the second quarter 2006. Mooers also announced that the London office of Credit Suisse has been selected as xG Technology's strategic advisor. "Recognizing that this opportunity is not US-centric, we chose Credit Suisse because they exercise global reach for their clients," he said.

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