Rice University graduate student extends WiFi for a mile using empty TV stations

Apr 28, 2011
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Rice University graduate student extends WiFi for a mile using empty TV stations

I would bet most of us are cable users, so we don't think much about the airwaves around our homes that local stations use to broadcast to people that still use antennas. In many smaller local markets there will only be one or two networks using those airwaves leaving much of the bandwidth unused and wasted. A graduate student named Ryan Guerra at Rice University has devised a really cool way to extend WiFi signals for over a mile using the vacant TV broadcast airwaves.

Guerra calls the project super WiFi and the system takes the normal WiFi signals and shifts them over to the TV station frequency. The student has already tested the system in a home where the cities free WiFi signals didn’t reach thanks to lots of tall trees surrounding the property. Super WiFi could get the single to the home even though it was a mile from the All Wi-Fi transmission tower that sent the free broadband service.

The system that Guerra designed uses components like an off the shelf 2.4GHz WiFi card on a Linux computer and the card's frequency was connected to a frequency translator developed by Alcatel Lucent. This is the key bit of magic that downshifts the WiFi signals to the empty channels in the 563MHz frequency. The output from the translator was connected to a TV antenna set up outside the home.

[via Gizmowatch]


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