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Gaining high-speed wireless access

Gaining high-speed wireless access
Jeff Vance

Lets face it, the wireless Internet is too slow. If youve attempted to access the Internet from a cell phone or PDA, youve surely had that excruciating experience of waiting, waiting, and waiting some more for a page to load. While this might not matter so much for the casual user checking e-mail or stock quotes, it matters greatly to mobile workers hoping to leverage handhelds for increased productivity.

Wireless carriers and service providers promise that 3G networks will alleviate the problem, but what options do mobile workers have in the meantime? Mitsubishi Materials claims to have a solution. The company has launched its wireless communication system,

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SWIFTcomm, a high-speed Internet access solution that delivers uninterrupted data rates of up to 20 Mbps. SWIFTcomm can send and receive sound, messages, and other data with high reliability.

According to Mitsubishi Materials, previous mobile systems have forced users to employ arcane and time-consuming procedures to establish connections, and when the connections are in place, they are prone to errors while the terminals are in motion. The SWIFTcomm system utilizes what Mitsubishi Materials calls super narrow-band technology. The technology helps maintain steady connections while vehicles pass among large buildings in urban areas and even while they travel at high speeds on freeways.

Before you worry about reckless drivers flying down the road while reading e-mails, you need to understand that the service is initially intended to enable applications such as intelligent navigation systems, providing drivers with real-time traffic information and allowing fleet vehicles to transfer location information for scheduling and order tracking.

SWIFTcomms IP-based network comprises mobile terminals, fixed stations, and a server for routing signals between stations and terminals. Mitsubishi Materials contends that the entire system requires only minimal investment. According to Kai Yeung Siu, an Associate Professor at MIT who has seen an early demo of the service, SWIFTcomm is a truly innovative approach that requires less of an investment than 3G with a faster roll out schedule.

Mitsubishi Materials says that it recently completed successful field trials in Oklahoma City and New York City, and the company intends to roll out its service this calendar year, providing users with nationwide coverage.

Jeff Vance is the editor of Embedded Internet Times and E-Infrastructure Times, industry newsletters that track startup companies and emerging technologies. He also writes a monthly column about the mobile Internet for devicetop.com.


This was first published in January 2001

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