DIDO pCell radio re-invents wireless — brings ‘mobile fiber’ to users
Currently all mobile networks are centered on cell towers that transmit signals that carefully avoid interfering with each other, thus creating cells of coverage. In such cells all devices share the available spectrum, and as the number of devices increases the data rate available to each device drops. Cellular radio has come of age and matured. LTE and LTE-A, along with small cells all try and make these cells as small as possible to increase spectrum efficiency. We can also layer cells over each other at different frequencies, but the principle of non-interference remains.
What if this could all be turned on its head, and cell sizes could shrink to around 1cm instead of 50m to kilometers in size.
Technology pioneer Steve Perlman, Founder and CEO of Artemis Networks, has unveiled pCell™ technology, a differnet approach to wireless that consistently delivers full-speed mobile data to every mobile device concurrently, regardless of how many users are sharing the same spectrum at once. This technology potentially promises ubiquitous fiber-class broadband experience that will be delivered at all times to standard LTE devices.
Small devices that can be arranged in any way and placed anywhere indoors or outdoors, pWave radios (discreet pCell base stations) transmit signals that deliberately interfere with each other, combining to synthesize tiny pCells, each just one cm in size. In other words, pCell technology exploits interference by combining transmitted radio signals from multiple pCell base stations to synthesize tiny “personal cells”—pCells—of wireless energy around each mobile device. So, rather than hundreds of users taking turns sharing the capacity of one large cell, each user gets an unshared pCell, giving the full wireless capacity to each user at once.
To make life simple, pCell is compatible with standard, unmodified out-of-the box LTE devices, such as iPhone 5S and 5C, Samsung Galaxy S4, LTE dongles and MiFi devices. It enables a standard LTE device to run at full LTE speed throughout pCell coverage areas, and wherever pCell is not yet deployed, the device can hand off to conventional cellular, providing seamless coverage.
Concurrently with LTE devices, pCell supports "pCell-native" devices, at far lower cost and power, each with its own pCell in the same spectrum. Such pCell-native devices can be faster than LTE with fiber-class latency.
For example, an iPod®-class device could be made pCell-native with minimal additional cost at the same size and power, and would provide better than LTE mobile performance in pCell coverage areas.
Steve Perlman, Founder and CEO of Artemis Networks states, “pCell delivers on the long-sought dream of ubiquitous, fast Internet, with the reliability and consistency previously only achievable through a wired connection. pCell is effectively mobile fiber.”
John Sculley, former Apple CEO comments, “pCell is an authentic ‘moon shot’ disruptive invention, one of those rare but extraordinary moments when what previously seemed improbable in science becomes possible”.
“The first time I saw a ‘moon shot’ was in 1982 when Steve Jobs showed me a prototype of the original consumer media computer—the Mac.”
Small pCell radios can be placed literally anywhere. Source: Artemis Networks.
A pure software-defined radio C-RAN, pCell uses Linux-based servers that can scale linearly with capacity. Fronthaul is conventional IP and pWave radios self-synchronize. Seamless handoff to cell networks is also possible.
The theory behind all this is complex, but in essence pCell is based on Distributed-Input-Distributed-Output (DIDO) technology. DIDO is a cloud wireless system. All of the intelligence of the DIDO system is in a DIDO Data Center, which communicates to all of the users at once through all of the APs (Access Points) at once.
Typically when two different radio signals collide with each other, the result is one stronger signal overpowering the other or just indecipherable noise from the two signals interfering with each other. However with DIDO, the sum of the radio signals at each device location results in a clean modulated waveform carrying the data intended for that particular device. DIDO creates the effect of a dedicated channel for each device, which is why Shannon’s Law is not relevant here (there is only one user for the channel). Shannon’s Law is not about spectrum data rate limits, it is about channel data rate limits.
In contrast, MIMO and beamforming can increase the data rate by 3x to 4x using the same spectrum as such techniques are able to create a few (perhaps 3 or 4) independent channels in a densely-shared area.
DIDO has been in development for about a decade. While the theory behind DIDO is immensely complex by itself, the practical implementation of a DIDO network has been a matter of overcoming one challenge after another. To read further a white paper that explains DIDO in more detail is available here
Wireless carriers and independent ISPs can deploy pCell far faster and at lower cost than conventional cellular. Rather than cell towers, pCell uses simple, discreet pCell base stations ( or pWave™ radios) that, rather than having their placement restricted to a cell plan, can be placed anywhere convenient, whether outdoor, indoor, visible or hidden. For example, locations can be chosen where there is free or low-cost rent and backhaul. Further, pCell works in all mobile bands, as well as in unlicensed spectrum, such as 900 MHz in the Americas, sharing spectrum with other unlicensed devices, enabling deployment by both major carriers with licensed spectrum as well as local entrepreneurs using unlicensed spectrum.
Wireless carriers and independent ISPs will be able to license pCell for deployment worldwide. Currently, pCell is in trials with partners in San Francisco and will be ready for first commercial deployment in one market at the end of 2014, expanding to major markets in the US, Asia and Europe starting in 2015. The exact deployment schedule in each market will be determined by the carrier and ISP partners.
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