pCell demonstration (must watch)
Live demo can be found here.
pCell ("personal cell") is a new cellular technology that tried to exploit radio interference rather than avoid it. As a result, mobile phones don't have to slice up the tower's limit radio spectrum, but can all use it all, as if they were the only phone in the cell. "Simple, discrete" p-wave radios can be used instead of large cell towers.
We've hit physics upper limits in capacity in major markets of New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Dallas, and will soon in other markets as people use more streaming video from their mobile phones.
"The Internet Of Things" wil make things worse as every device in the world is added to the net.
Smaller cells only help so much; at a certain point the handoff system itself becomes an impediment. The balancing act with cells trying to avoid intereference yet have coverage creates inevitable dead zones.
With pCell, the constructive interference makes "the cell move with the user" and eliminates the dead zones.
He does a demo with HD video to 8 phones simultaneously with 5 Mhz of bandwidth, enough to normally do one.
The computation for the constructive interference is all done in software. The hardware is just two dual 8-core Intel motherboards running Linux. Each phone think it's in its own cell and there are no other phones in its cell.
He puts the phones with the antennae only a few millimeters from each other and it still works.
Then they demo two HD (1080p) and two 4K TVs each driven by T-Mobile LT dongles, and that worked just fine. They think 4K TV will take off through mobile before landlines.
Most phones today have 2 or 3 RF chains. pCell requires only one.
A lot of work went into optimizing the software so it could work in real time. That software must do some serious black magic. Even at that point, they had an incompatible technology, so set to work on getting their technology to work with every existing Long Term Evolution (LTE) standard phone. They had to make it so the computational complexity scales linearly, purely in parallel, as you add phones, so you could simply add servers to handle them.
They can work with both licensed and unlicensed spectrum, because they can overcome interference.
It can hand off from pCell to regular cell towers without dropping the call.
The pWave radios are designed to look nice, unlike "unsightly" cell towers, so municipal boards will be willing to have them installed. You do line of sight radio to the data center, and the data center is nothing but Linux servers. This'll be the world's first "software defined radio" deployment.
The demo was done with 1 milliwatt of power. For comparison, Wi-fi runs at 250 milliwatts.
First deployment will be in San Francisco or New York in Q4 2014. Rolling out to all major markets in 2015. "In a year, nobody will need cable or DSL."