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Beaming the Internet through traditional television signals

 

Rice University engineers have demonstrated the first system that allows wireless data transmissions over UHF channels during active TV broadcasts. If the technology were incorporated into next-generation TVs or smart remotes, it could significantly expand the reach of so-called “super WiFi” networks in urban areas.

“Due to the popularity of cable, satellite and Internet TV platforms, the UHF spectrum is one of the most underutilised portions of the wireless spectrum,” said lead researcher Edward Knightly. “That’s a bitter irony because the demand for mobile data services is expected to grow tenfold in the next five years, and the UHF band is perfectly suited for wireless data.”

Knightly said the UHF spectrum, which ranges from 400 to 700 megahertz, is often called the “beachfront property” of the wireless spectrum. Unlike the higher frequency signals used for existing WiFi, UHF signals carry for miles and are not blocked by walls or trees. Because of these advantages, wireless hotspots that use UHF are often referred to as “super WiFi.”

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