Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Internet options coming to rural areas

The IEEE has recently announced a new standard called IEEE 802.22. Now that might be a lot of crazy letters and numbers for many out there, so let's break down what it means to the typical consumer.

802.22 will allow for the creation of Wireless Regional Area Networks (WRANs) using UHF and VHF analog TV signals (remember when we made the switch from analog TV to digital TV a few years back? This would take advantage of these abandoned signals. Using a transmitter, areas in the ballpark of 100km (a hair over 62 miles) from the transmitter could get broadband internet coverage.

The benefit of this technology is that people who live in areas with lower populations might be able to get broadband internet options beyond satellite. Having heard from a number of satellite customers, it seems like this could be a welcomed option.

Real world performance remains to be seen, but the IEEE is suggesting that this standard will allow for up to 22Mbps per channel.

While this news is probably most appealing to those in rural areas, there's also the chance that this technology could flow over to urban and suburban areas, giving them choices beyond the usual cable or DSL (hooray competition!)

We'll keep an eye on this as it rolls out. Once it starts showing up around the country, you might want to be on the lookout for it showing up in your neighborhood.

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