Australia’s CSIRO has announced that it had succeeded in prototyping the transmission of wireless broadband Internet over spectrum reserved for television broadcasts. This breakthrough in wireless technology that will allow multiple users to upload content at the same time while maintaining a data transfer rate of 12 megabits per second (Mbps), all over their old analog TV aerial, a good time to use it when you are actually moving away from analog TV.
The technology is named Ngara, and it allows up to 6 users to occupy the equivalent spectrum space of one television channel (7 megahertz) and has a spectral efficiency of 20 bits per second per hertz. If these numbers confuse you, here’s something more simplistic — Ngara can handle up to 3 times that of similar technology and maintains a data rate more than 10 times the industry minimum standard.
Ngara is capable of delivering wireless data services to houses within a 20 kilometer radius of a broadcast tower.
What makes this recent development interesting is how the technology coincides with the phasing out of analog TV by the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.
However, there are tradeoffs. The trouble with Broadband-over-analog is that many of today’s existing analog terrestrial broadcast towers are not being maintained in the conversion to digital. The question is whether those broadcast towers will continue to transmit signals for wireless broadband, if not this technology would fail before even it impresses us.
Another point to consider is cost and practical bandwidth. If its not better than satellite, then it’s unlikely to take the home market by big margins.
Ngara can achieve “ symmetrical 12Mbps per 1000 homes”, which is of course nothing but a dialup connection. If Ngara can be made to scale like commercial GSM and WiMax systems, we can hope to see its usage to start in Australia, and spreading to the world.